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Healthcare practices must practice effective medical online reputation management to succeed in today’s climate.
We live in a world where millions turn to patient reviews when making decisions about local medical practices. Because of this, managing your medical reputation should be one of your top priorities.
But how do you begin the process for your medical practice?
Medical Online Reputation Management: Rules to Remember
Before you start on the “How” of managing your practice’s online reputation, it’s essential to understand why your virtual reputation is as important as your “offline” image.
These are a few rules to remember to help you stay motivated, on task, and focused on managing your online reputation.
What you don’t know CAN hurt you
Not knowing what’s online about your practice doesn’t mean that information can’t hurt you. In fact, if you don’t know about those negative reviews and how to respond, patients may assume you don’t care about delivering a quality experience.
Building positive relationships with patients can help prevent negative reviews
Most people who leave negative reviews are disgruntled in some way. Working hard to provide each patient has a positive experience can help reduce the negative reviews you’re getting online.
Negative reviews can be positive experiences for your practice
While no one likes to be disparaged in public, negative reviews can be a great opportunity to learn about patient expectations and experiences. What’s more: you can use this information to make things right with patients and avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Prospective patients are researching you online
Recent studies indicate that more than 75 percent of people requiring medical services research physicians online before choosing a provider. This makes getting your medical online reputation management right is incredibly important for the future of your practice.
People place value in what they read in these reviews
According to Search Engine Journal, 91 percent of younger (aged 18-34) consumers place a great deal of trust in online reviews. While it may seem like negative reviews are all doom and gloom, there are things you can do to reduce their impact while improving your standing with potential patients.
Not all negative online reviews are legitimate
Sometimes, unscrupulous competitors seek to discredit your practice in order to siphon off more patients. In such cases, a solid plan for managing your medical online reputation can help overcome the negativity these reviews generate.
Now that you understand the importance of managing your online reputation, it is time to learn more about the medical reputation management process.
Promoting the Positive and Creating a Positive Online Reputation for Your Practice
It is much easier to make a good impression than to negate a bad one. After all, it takes work to overcome bad reviews and improve those first impressions. But when patients enjoy a positive first experience with your practice, they are far more likely to take negative reviews with a grain of salt.
Ultimately, this means they may grant you some leeway when making decisions about your practice. It doesn’t mean patients will completely ignore bad reviews about your clinic. It simply means they’re likely to seek out additional information to confirm those reviews.
How can you foster a positive online reputation for your practice?
There are several steps you can take to help in this effort. You may have taken some of them already:
1. Create a website for your practice
This is the first step to improve online credibility. Make sure your website is professional, provides accurate information, and is properly maintained. Additionally, introduce your team (with smiling photos), provide testimonials from satisfied patients and fill your website with the helpful information your patients are looking for.
2. Start a blog
Launch a blog. Once live, give patients the opportunity to sign up for updates and access the latest information on your services. Also, update your blog regularly. This brings in new patients and keeps your existing patients informed about what matters most.
3. Engage your patients on social media
For medical practices, COVID-19 news provides a steady stream of information to share with your patients online. Use social media to reach out and connect with existing patients, and to attract new patients. Social media can be a powerful tool for medical online reputation management.
4. Respond to online reviews (whether good or bad)
This is likely the single most important thing you can do to help mitigate negative views. It also serves to reinforce any positive reviews you have online.
Once you’ve begun to foster a positive reputation online, it is time to mitigate negative information about your practice wherever exists on the web.
Managing Negative Online Reviews of Your Medical Practice
While many physicians now operate virtually, there are still quite a few who don’t. You don’t have to operate your medical clinic online to practice medical online reputation management. In fact, it may be even MORE important to engage in proactive reputation management actions.
Convince Reviewers to Remove Bad Reviews (It can Happen!)
One of the easiest solutions for addressing negative online reviews is to respond to the reviewer directly on the review site. Do not simply request removal of the review. Rather, apologize to the reviewer for their bad experience and ask how you can make it right.
Whatever comes of this, know that those who read the review and your response will understand you tried to make things right. Ignoring it allows it to fester, and can make others think you don’t care enough about the patient experience. Both are bad for your practice.
In some cases, initiating a dialog is all it takes to turn the table for your clinic. In many cases, negative reviews are left by people who are frustrated and want to be heard. Reaching out helps them feel heard and can help soften hard feelings toward your practice.
Once you’ve appeased the reviewer, you can decide whether you’re comfortable asking them to remove the negative review.
Contact the Publisher About Removing Negative Reviews
If the first step doesn’t work or the reviewer doesn’t respond, consider contacting the site about removing the review.
Many understand that there are sometimes ulterior motives for leaving bad reviews. This is why many have a process for uncovering those motives and processing the removal of unscrupulous removals. Sites usually investigate requests and notify you of their decision.
Follow their process and give the system an opportunity to work. It’s a long shot. There’s no doubt. However, there are instances where reviews are removed following this method.
Medical Online Reputation Management that Works for Busy Health Practices
The one downside of effective online reputation management for medical practices is the commitment of time and energy involved. Your best move is to have someone else do the heavy lifting, the back and forth negotiations, and the legwork on your behalf. Not only will that save you time, but it can help you save the reputation of your medical practice.
NetReputation is your first stop for managing the online reputation of your medical practice. We help with everything from the positive content creation to the removal of negative reviews necessary to foster the solid reputation your medical practice deserves.
Contact Net Reputation today to learn more about medical online reputation management and how we can help you manage your online reputation today.