Are you monitoring what patients are saying about your medical practice online?
Most medical providers understand the importance of remaining competitive. In today’s tech-focused society, a major factor influencing your competitiveness is knowing what’s being said about you and your practice online. If online reviews are negative, your reputation and practice could suffer.
If you’re skeptical about the impact online reviews can have on your practice, consider these figures from the Local Consumer Review Survey of 2017:
· The number of consumers viewing online reviews has increased dramatically. Now, approximately 97% check online reviews regularly.
· For 85% of consumers, online reviews are just as important as recommendations from friends and family.
· Positive online reviews increase trust in a business for 73% of consumers.
· Nearly half (49%) of consumers prefer to see at least a 4-star review before choosing a particular business.
Based on these statistics, the verdict is in: Just as they aim to diagnose and treat their patients, medical providers should closely assess their online reputations and strive to improve them.
Why You Should Monitor Online Reviews
“Failing to plan is planning to fail,” as the old saying goes. As a healthcare provider, you must keep track of what patients are saying about you on online review sites like Yelp or Healthgrades. By doing so, you can more quickly and effectively take action when negative or inflammatory feedback hits the web.
Consider three important reasons for why medical practices should closely monitor online reviews.
1. Help attract new patients. One survey showed that 72% of patients use online reviews as a “first impression” when seeking a provider. If your reviews are mostly positive, you’re more likely to appeal to new patients.
2. Improve search rankings. Google strives to give local searchers the most pertinent information possible, which is why user-generated content from review sites gets higher rankings. In a nutshell, online reviews will likely be the first result patients see when they type your name or practice into Google.
3. Address concerns and boost patient satisfaction. In addition to being a great marketing tool, online feedback also offers an opportunity for providers to make much-needed improvements to their services. A great deal of negative reviews (about 75%) relate to minor issues like long wait times or poor parking – problems you and your staff can easily address to improve the patient experience.
So, how do you monitor your online reviews? One way to conduct a reputation check-up is by utilizing tools that track or organize reviews, such as Google Alerts, Twilert or Social Mention. Type your name or practice into these tools to get regular updates on any online mentions (positive or negative) that may impact your reputation. Then, work to address any negative reviews as soon as possible.
Hiring a reputation management service is another method many healthcare practices use to manage and improve their image online. Such firms implement a variety of tools to highlight positive feedback and correct biased or inaccurate information to improve providers’ online reputations.
Asking for Feedback
Without a doubt, your patients are using online reviews to form judgments about you and your practice. Even if you don’t claim your practice on review sites. The best way to handle this is by claiming your profile page on popular review sites, ensuring that the listed information is accurate and up-to-date and monitoring it closely.
Another smart approach is to proactively solicit positive reviews to enhance your online reputation. Consider the patients with whom you have great rapport who have visited your practice for an extended time without complaint. Seek them out during their next office visit and graciously ask if they would write a review. This would involve their experience and be put on a preferred physician review site.
Dealing with Negative Feedback
If a patient has negative feedback about their experience at your practice, try to address the matter before it gets submitted to a review site. You might even ask the patient if they would grant you the opportunity to make amends for the problem.
When you do receive negative feedback, ask the reviewer to contact you personally. This way you can address their complaints according to HIPAA regulations. Offer only general responses to negative or positive reviews online.