Did you know that 77% of patients read online reviews to help them begin the physician search?
Many of us are patients of the doctors that have been serving different relatives of our families for years. We have grown up with these physicians and trust them to heal us as they have our loved ones. What happens when it comes time to move across state? Or, perhaps, when the family physician that you know and love decides to retire? Most turn to the internet – we ask our friends and we look towards online reviews. We complete diligent research to inform us of how the practice will treat us.
This is why it is imperative for practices, like yours, to manage their online reputation. There are more than three ways to do this, however, we are going to delve into a few to get you started.
Understand Your Current Online Reputation
Before you can begin to manage your online reputation or repair damage, you must first understand where your practice stands. A great way to get started is by searching for your practice’s name or the practicing physician’s name online. From there, read the reviews, peruse the comments, and infer what your patients think of your practice.
If you aren’t sure where to start, some popular sites include Healthgrades, Yelp!, Google, and Vitals. On these sites you may find reviews that range from good, to bad, to potentially ugly. Within them, you may be able to find ways to improve your practice easily. You may also find ways to improve the way your patients perceive your organization.
Correct All Data Fields
As you go through each review site, make sure that the data that is accurate for your practice or the physician it represents. Incorrect information will not only confuse your patients, it will also deter them from coming if they can’t find the appropriate contact information.
Google My Business is a great resource to utilize for keeping contact and location information current on Google. You can easily correct the phone number, address, update hours for the holidays, and even post a photo or update to display on Google when individual’s search your practice’s name.
Ask Satisfied Patients to Write Reviews
We strive to create better health outcomes for our patients. Coupled with this, we also want to have more satisfied patients. Satisfied patients are more likely to write positive reviews about your practice or the physician. Inevitably, this entices other prospects to choose your practice in the future. It is not enough to just assume that happy patients will write positive reviews. You need to encourage them to do so.
It may be beneficial for you to direct them to specific sites to post a review about their experience with you. If you are trying to grow your social media profile, encourage them to find you on Facebook and provide a rating. When you feel as if a specific visit has went particularly well, perhaps end the visit with, “it was an honor to treat you, and we are looking forward to helping you improve your health in the future, too. We would appreciate you taking a few moments of your time to write an online review on <insert website of your choice>.” If a physician feels uncomfortable doing this, another staff member may be able to help.
If you don’t think that you or other members of your practice have the time to manage your organization’s online reputation, companies like Demandforce can help. Either way you swing it… online reputation management is vital to the longevity of your practice and it’s ability to obtain new patients.