The Impact of Your Online Reputation
You are running your medical practice and things are going well, however, you notice that business seems to be slowing down and are not sure why. Advertisement has not changed, but the phone is not ringing like it used to and the website is not delivering leads like it had. What is happening? Do you just chalk it up to a slow period? Should you raise your marketing efforts? Spend more money on ads?
While those may be good solutions in the short term, they may not address the reason for the slowdown. What if you Googled your business name only to find that your Yelp or Healthgrades reviews are terrible? Seeing that your average review score is way below average, you look deeper and notice that out of your three reviews, one gave you five stars whereas the other two are one-star reviews. Strangely enough, the one star reviews don’t even seem to be patients of yours. Could this be a reason the phones stopped ringing and leads stopped coming in through your website?
Your online reputation is essential for the success of your practice. Somewhere between 50-60 percent of patients use online reviews to help them make medical care decisions. That is a lot of people and that number is growing at an alarming rate. Having a poor score can have an immensely negative impact on the success of your business. On the contrary, when your practice has a great review score, it is similar to having a free marketing campaign that sings the praises of your practice. Luckily, there’s things you can do to maintain a positive online reputation.
Tips for Managing Your Online Reputation:
Don’t Ignore Reviews
When patients leave reviews on directory sites you should be proactive, read the comments and see what patients are saying. Comments can provide great feedback and by listening to feedback you may get more patients. Reviews do not always tell the whole story, but they can give you a glimpse of someone’s experience. Reading each review posted does take some time but keep in mind, hundreds of thousands of dollars are lost each day because of false, erroneous or misleading search engine results. Whether the negative listings are from a competitor, a disgruntled former employee or a former client, the impact can be devastating to your online reputation, costing you potential new clients and referrals.
Listen to your patients
After reading a review, see if you can get something out of it. Can you change your behavior for the better based on the comment? Listening to constructive criticism can help the practice and benefit your reputation. Not taking the full review as only truth but listening to what the patient is saying can help your practice in the future.
Encourage Positive Reviews
Once you meet with a patient, give them a flyer or review card asking to leave a review. Asking for a review shows you value their opinions making them feel like their voices are being heard and are valued. When you encourage positive reviews from your patients, you will get more results, thus moving any negative reviews further down the page. Also, if you have three negative reviews and 110 positive reviews, the negative reviews become a non-factor.
Make Your Website Personal
When patients leave the practice, there needs to be a way for them to connect and feel like they have a connection to their care providers. Create a blog featuring patient successes, add pictures to your site, and find ways to make patients feel like the office is a friendly environment that they have a connection to. This will generate positive feelings, and therefore, more positive reviews. You should also make sure that patients are aware your social media presence in order to make it easier for your them to brag about you.
Never Go Negative
No matter how negative a review may be, avoid making comments that may create an argument since starting an argument on the internet will only do harm to your reputation. Respond politely to the review and see what you can do to please the patient. Addressing negative reviews immediately may also help with improving your practice’s relationship with the disgruntled patient.
At Omni Premier Marketing, we specialize in helping medical and dental practices improve and maintain their online reputations. Through our Medical Reputation Management and Social Media Marketing packages, based on your individual situation, we can tailor a course of action specific to your needs. Whether that involves repairing your reputation, removing erroneous reviews from the search results, or simply providing ongoing monitoring.
Using a combination of social media, micro-sites, blogs, review sites and press releases, we are not only able to move negative information to the third or fourth page of the major search engines, we are also able to help you increase the overall positive exposure for you and your practice as well.