More than 77 percent of those looking for a new doctor check out his or her online reviews before scheduling an appointment. With the popularity of sites such as RateMDs, Healthgrades and Vitals, consumers are carefully examining the online reputation of physicians before deciding whether or not to schedule an appointment.
Perception often equals reality, and if potential patients have a perception of you –no matter how misguided it may be—then that perception becomes their reality. That’s why we believe no comprehensive medical practice marketing plan is complete without extensive reputation management. We’ve outlined ten reasons why.
10 Reasons Why No Medical Practice Marketing Plan is Complete Without Reputation Management
10. Patients are using reviews to judge you.
As mentioned earlier, online reviews carry more weight than you may realize. A recent study showed that patients place more value on online reviews than actual government ratings, according to information from Brookings, a nonprofit public policy organization.
Because these reviews carry so much influence, you should be proactive in dealing with any negative reviews and strive to drive positive reviews to your website.
9. Your star rating appears in your Google search.
When you Google your name or your practice, the search engine results page often shows an informational graph on the right side of your screen. This includes your name and a Google star ranking. In addition, if you’re a physician and you Google your name, chances are that the first view search results will be from review sites such as Heathgrades or RateMDs.
If someone is searching for a more general term, such as “podiatrists in Raleigh,” then the user will see an informational graph that lists you beside your competitors…complete with star ratings. This means that your patients don’t have to go to these rating sites to see your reviews. If they are merely searching for your name, practice or specialty, your ranking will be front and center.
8. You could find erroneous—or even libelous—information.
If there are erroneous or libelous comments, you can petition the site to have them removed. To do so, you must first claim your profile in order to prove that you are who you say you are. However, it’s important to remember that the review cannot be removed simply because it is a negative review.
In other cases, there may be simple mistakes where someone thought they were leaving a review for a psychologist and actually left one for a psychiatrist or another similar-sounding specialty. Again, most of these can be resolved if you claim your online profile and flag the review.
However, you should be aware that changing online reviews often requires extensive follow-up to ensure your request is not overlooked.
7. You have a chance to proactively address concerns.
Honest, negative reviews give you a chance to see where your practice can improve and address those concerns. For example, if the only complaints you receive are about the employees who work at your front desk, then maybe it’s time to provide customer service training. Not only will this simple step improve your patients’ experiences, but it will also help you avoid negative reviews in the future.
This insight is a vital part of any strategic medical practice marketing you do.
6. Monitoring your reputation enables you to diffuse negative reviews.
A negative review is an opportunity for you to reach out to that patient and try to address his or her concerns. By working closely with our clients and guiding them through this process, we’ve actually seen one-star reviews convert to five-star reviews! Often, these disgruntled patients want to know that their concerns are heard and will be addressed if they decide to continue coming to your practice.
5. Reputation management is about more than avoiding bad reviews.
It’s just as important to solicit positive reviews, especially since several five-star reviews buffer the effect of a one-star ranking. It’s important to come up with creative and effective ways to encourage your satisfied patients to leave a review.
4. Feedback enables you to engage with your patients.
While privacy laws prohibit you from posting information publicly, reviews are a good opportunity for you to reach out privately to your patients. This can take several forms. Perhaps you send a handwritten thank-you note to a patient who has left you a positive review, or you privately contact a disgruntled patient to see how you can resolve the issue.
When patients feel you are directly engaged with them, this fosters loyalty and makes it more likely that this patient will stay with your practice for the rest of his or her life.
3. Reputation management draws your attention to reviews that affect your bottom line.
While there are several things that influence how a patient chooses a doctor, social media and online review sites have had a tremendous effect on that decision. According to information from Family Practice Magazine, social media influences almost half of consumers’ decisions on selecting a doctor. In addition, 59 percent consider physician rating websites important when selecting a doctor.
This means if your online presence is shabby, you’re not just losing potential patients, you’re losing revenue.
Often, practices underestimate the lifetime value of a patient, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars over the course of a few years, especially if the patient has a chronic health issue like diabetes or high cholesterol.
2. Monitoring your reputation gives ideas that can give you a competitive edge.
Are patients complaining about your competitor? You can use this knowledge to help you determine areas where you can exceed expectations. For example, suppose your competitor has some negative reviews that relate to the rude way that the receptionist answers the phone. By ensuring that your front desk staff has adequate customer service training, you’ll offer patients a better experience than your competitor. While this may seem like a small issue, several of these “small issues” can add up to make a tremendous impact on the patient experience.
1. You can’t afford not to.
We can promise you one thing: If you’re not paying attention to your online reputation, someone is. According to Medical Economics magazine, nine in 10 patients say they would change providers if they were not satisfied, and a staggering 74 percent say that they would delay needed care if not satisfied with their provider.
The bottom line: a poor reputation gives your competitors and advantage and reduces your chances of acquiring new patients.
The advantages of working with Proclaim Interactive to manage all your medical practice marketing
Your online reputation didn’t develop overnight, and changes take careful strategy, constant diligence and time. We’ve helped several medical practices manage and improve their online reputation. Some of the advantages of working with us include:
- We are able to monitor your reviews and instantly know when you’ve received a new one. This means you’ll spend less time watching your screen and more time practicing medicine.
- Depending upon the review site, claiming your online profile can be an involved process. We’ll guide you through it and take the headache out of the whole process.
- Our reputation management is just one facet of our award-winning social media strategy.
- We provide detailed reports that enable you to easily see your progress as we track your online reputation over time.
- We’ll help you secure positive reviews to enhance your online reputation.
It’s difficult to rise above the noise of the marketplace, and consumers are turning to online reviews to determine their purchases, their activities and their health care. Don’t let a few negative reviews damage your online reputation. We work with your practice to take a comprehensive approach to managing your online reputation to demonstrate tangible results.
Contact us for information on our reputation management packages.
Since its inception in 2000, Proclaim Interactive has combined excellence in design and think-out-of- the-box digital marketing to become one of the most award-winning firms in the region .Proclaim Interactive provides website design, social media management, SEO and general marketing services designed to amplify clients’ messages. For more information call 910.795.4143.