How to Manage Your Physician Reputation Through Effective Customer Care
It’s been said that a happy customer will tell one person about their experience but an unhappy customer will tell ten. Add the web to the mix, and we are talking about orders of magnitude more people who will get an earful of the either positive or negative information.
Reputation management for physicians is more important than ever. With patients seeking recommendations and information from, friends, family and particularly from the web and social media, doctors cannot afford to ignore their reputations.
While most reputation management specialists will advocate for both online and offline information management, there is another approach that may prove effective in managing your physician reputation.
It begins with how you operate your medical practice.
Keep It in the Family
When a patient comes to your practice, they will have either a positive or negative experience. Sometimes a bad experience happens because of something you’ve done, or it just may be a cocktail of outside factors that you had no control over. If that customer has no way to express their disgruntlement directly to you, they may head online to vent their frustrations and displeasure.
Developing an effective and easily accessible customer feedback channel for your practice has been show to dramatically reduce the number of negative comments that end up “in the wild” online.
When customers are encouraged to give feedback and they can do so easily, they will be more inclined to let you know their sentiments before going to write their reviews online. This also gives you a chance to fix a situation right away, perhaps turning a patient’s potentially negative experience into a positive one.
Automate your processes
Negative experiences happen when things don’t work as they should. If you want to reduce the number of lapses in your practice workflow, try to automate as many processes as possible.
If it’s setting up appointments, don’t leave the process to a person with a paper calendar who could accidentally double-book patients. Instead, use a software application for scheduling. Rather than having your staff call patients to remind them of their medications or bills, set up automatic electronic reminders.
Your EHR software provider can advise you on processes that can be automated. By replacing human reliance in aspects of your office workflow, mistakes can be reduced, leading to fewer unhappy patients who take to venting their disgruntlement online and offline.
Respond to all customer feedback, whether positive or negative
When researching and monitoring what people are saying about you and your practice online, sometimes you will find negative comments about your services. These comments represent an excellent opportunity to provide customer care to the affected party.
In many cases, the commenter will be voicing their issue because they had no other means of addressing it with you. Respond positively to online comments. In the case of negative reviews, inviting the patient to have a chat with you, you may be able to win back over the disgruntled customer and perhaps convert them into an advocate for your practice going forward.
If patients feel like you care enough to respond to their issues, they may be more inclined to forgive lapses and keep coming back. When potential patients read reviews and see your replies, they will know that you are a doctor that cares enough to respond to criticism.
With the amplification of the web to project anyone’s positive or negative experience, handling customer care is critical in managing your professional reputation both online and offline