How Your Online Reputation Can Make or Break Your Practice
Remember when you were young and your mother and father fussed over you before your first job interview or first ever date, impressing upon you the importance of making a good first impression? Well, times may have changed, but first impressions are just as important, especially for physicians and their practices.
Why Online Reputation Matters
Your online reputation and reviews are the first impression you make on many prospective patients. Smartphones, Google and popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Yelp have dramatically altered how customers interact with businesses of all types. In many ways, the power and transparency offered by these social channels have also leveled the playing field — or democratized — the buyer-seller relationship. Buyers, or patients in this case, use these digital platforms to make more informed decisions. They relying heavily on “near me” searches and online reviews before selecting a doctor.
In addition to general consumer social channels, there are some prevalent and growing healthcare-specific rating sites, including Healthgrades, Vitals, RateMDs and ZocDoc, to name a few. While it may seem that other areas of a practice — including clinical care and revenue cycle management, for example — are more important to focus on than your digital reputation, data reveals that online reviews strongly influence nearly all patient’s selection of physicians and their practices.
Not surprisingly, patients that have an unfavorable experience are much more inclined to post a review than those who are highly satisfied. And, as we know, bad news — and bad reviews — travel fast, especially digitally. Bad reviews can cost a practice time, money and loss of potential patients.
Proactively Manage Your Digital Reputation guide walks you through the dos and don’ts of reputation management and how to manage the process, whether you decide to do it in house or outsource it to a third party. Technology companies and digital marketing specialists can be hired to take over your reputation management. Some systems and modules can link even directly into your EHR.
If you think reputation management is not an important part of a physician’s practice, consider this. It only takes one to six online reviews for a majority of potential patients to form an opinion about your practice. If that doesn’t reinforce the importance of managing your digital reputation then few things will.
Don’t Take Negative Reviews Laying Down
Negative reviews can often bring attention to a deficient area of a practice that needs improvement. This guide will help you master your social listening skills and offers simple ways to boost positive reviews to counter those mostly rare, but extremely damaging, negative ones.