Traditionally, healthcare providers typically get new patients through word of mouth. Clients share their experience with the practitioners to family and friends, which the latter consider when making their decision if they will get their service or not. The popularity of the Internet changed the game in getting the word out there about healthcare professionals.
It’s now easier for patients to tell the world what they think about your service. There are various platforms where they can post their thoughts online, including social media, review sites, forums, and business listing sites. It also makes it more convenient for other people to find these posts, which can influence their decision if they will use your service or not. Healthcare reputation management will help ensure that what people see when they search your name or service is positive.
Importance of managing online reputation for healthcare professionals
- Acquire new patients. Survey says that 80% of those looking for healthcare services trust what their read on the reviews they find online. Out of the platforms used in searching for online information, Google is on top of the list. Also, a whopping 75% of healthcare clients tend to go for providers who have 4 out of 5 or higher ratings. If you do not manage your online reputation, the negative reviews could push away potential clients, so you lose the opportunity of winning them over. If they see positive feedback and news about you, they are more likely to choose your healthcare service. Expect to receive more inquiries about your service, get more online consultations, and schedule face-to-face appointments.
- Keep the loyalty of existing clients. Having a good online reputation will not only help you acquire new clients, but it will also help keep the existing ones. The competition in the healthcare industry is cutthroat. You must keep your credibility, trustworthiness, and reliability to ensure that your existing patients will stay with you. Anything that hurts your reputation could also cause them to think twice about going back to you, especially since other providers might have better feedback. Do not risk losing the clients you already won by keeping your online reputation in check.
- Improve ranking in the search result. More mentions on your name, clinic, or healthcare facility will help in improving your ranking in the search result. As mentioned, most patients use Google to search for a healthcare provider online and know more about them. The sites and platforms where you had the mentions will be shown, and if the search result has more negative posts than positive ones, these people would not choose you. However, if the search result is filled with positive comments and information about you, they might consider getting your service.
How to manage healthcare online reputation
Now that you know the importance of healthcare reputation management, it’s time to start monitoring and doing something with your online reputation if you haven’t done so. Below are some of the proven effective tips on how to do that.
- See what they say about you online. You must have a better understanding of the current state of your online reputation to know the best action to take. Search the web for your name, clinic, or the healthcare institution you belong to. You will see what they say about you, and from there, create an action plan on how to improve your reputation.
- Request negative posts, comments, or reviews to be taken down. Some of the negative words that they say about you may not be true. One of the challenges of online comments and feedback is that they are difficult to filter. Many sites also allow anonymous users to submit their reviews, so there might be those who are deliberately doing this to hurt your reputation. You may request for these kinds of comments to be removed from the sites they were posted. Each site has its guidelines in removing posts, but it’s still worth it to try, especially if you have proof that the derogatory remarks are not true. But note that not all these requests of removal may be granted, which is why it’s also vital that you gain more positive reviews so that there will be more of these than negative ones.
- Respond to customer complaints. You might be tempted to ignore the complaints that you get from patients, but promptly responding to them attests that you take responsibility and that you want to make it right. Show humility and accountability with your response. After posting a response it’s best to make a follow-up or continue the conversation privately by sending them an email or message. You would not know where these things could lead you, because no matter what you do, it is sometimes not enough for others. If things get sour, you will avoid the fiasco you may face if you made everything public.
- Collect more customer reviews. The only way to bury those negative posts that you can’t get rid of is to generate more positive customer reviews. If excellent words about you dominate the search result, then this will be the information that clients will see. Even if they see a few negative comments, they would think that these are isolated cases since the majority of what they read about you is positive. If you know that the patients were satisfied with your service, ask them to write a review to gain more raving comments.
- Claim your profile on various platforms. There are various review sites where healthcare providers may create their profiles, such as Yelp, RateMDs, RealPatientRatings, Wellness.com, Caredash, and Healthgrades. Claim business listings on sites like Yelp and Business My Google. Create your social media accounts too. Make sure that you update your details for new clients to know more about you. Patients who availed of your healthcare service will also be able to leave their reviews or feedback on these sites.
- Strengthen your authority and credibility. There are various ways how you can show people that you have authority and credibility as a healthcare provider. Create helpful and informative content in your field that your target audience will find interesting and engaging. Take part in good causes and programs, and partner with other authorities in your field.
Improving your online reputation is not an overnight task. Healthcare reputation management is a continuous process. You must keep monitoring your reputation online and perform the right practices to ensure that your name remains to be trusted.