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When you search for your medical practice, what’s the first thing that comes up? If it’s not something that you control, you might need to engage in reputation management for doctors.
Reputation management for doctors is the ability to control what people see when they look you up online — whether it’s blog posts, social media, news posts, or press releases.
The Importance of Reputation Management for Doctors
It’s an unfortunate reality that people tend to give bad reviews when they have negative outcomes. As a medical professional, you know it’s not always possible to control the outcome.
Likewise, you may not be able to control your reviews.
When someone becomes frustrated at their prognosis or progress, they may give out negative reviews. Similarly, you may be the target of an unwarranted lawsuit, or you may have an unfavorable news article posted about a lawsuit.
But with reputation management, you can control all this.
Reputation management for doctors ensures that you control what people see when they look you up online.
And most people are going to look you up online first. That doesn’t just include patients, but also colleagues, prospective partners, journalists, and more.
If you’re thinking about expanding your career, you need reputation management. If you want to ensure the success of your clinic, you need reputation management.
But reputation management is a complete discipline; there’s a lot that goes into it.
Like it or not, the more successful you are, the more likely you are to need reputation management. The more you do every day, the more likely you are to need to engage in reputation management.
As you treat more patients and expand into more areas, opening additional clinics or working with other professionals, it’s more likely that your reputation could experience something negative.
Reputation Management for Doctors: Ways to Improve Your Online Image
How do doctors manage their reputation?
First, they need to understand how and when people will be looking them up.
People look up doctors under specific scenarios. They’re trying to find treatment, they’re interested in someone they’re working with, or (in rare cases) they’re digging into a story. Usually, someone will be looked up online under “[doctor’s name/clinic’s name] reviews” or on a specific review site.
Countering these reputation issues is simple on the face of it, more complex in practice. A few important techniques include:
Dealing with negative reviews.
Negative reviews are a fact of life. When a doctor’s clinic is involved, it may be due to quality of care, customer service, or a variety of issues that aren’t necessarily your fault.
The best way to deal with negative reviews is to address them professionally, without taking on any type of legal responsibility.
When people can see that you’ve addressed negative reviews politely and professionally, they’re more likely to think favorably of you than the other person — especially if the other person seems emotional.
But not everyone can dispassionately respond to negative reviews. This is why a professional can help.
Countering negative press.
Let’s say that the hospital that you work for had a scandal.
This could come up when other hospitals are looking you up and could potentially damage your career. But there’s an easy way to deal with that; it’s to generate positive press.
By ensuring that your clinic does good works, such as community fundraisers, you can boost your clinic’s name far above any of the negative press.
It never works to try to get things deleted, but it can work to drown negative information out with positive information.
Owning your online presence.
Your online presence is your website, social media accounts, and anything else you do online such as email newsletters.
By owning your online presence and regularly publishing information, you will be able to outpace anything negative that could be posted about your clinic.
Most people aren’t going to read more than one or two pages of information about someone, so if you have high-ranked material that is positive and professional, that’s what they most likely will find.
People understand that not everyone can please everyone.
Providing value to your customers
What do your customers want to know? What information are they interested in?
If you can provide valuable information to your patients, they will have a greater understanding of your capabilities and will be more likely to think of you as an authority.
This is important because your reputation is essentially what people think of you.
People will think more highly of you if they see you as an authority and well-versed within your realm. The more information you can put out there, the more your information will start to precede you.
Heading off the negative press
Better customer service is the easiest way to head off negative press.
By asking patients, before they leave, what they thought of your service, you can address any complaints they might have. Perhaps they thought you were rushed, when really you just wanted to ensure that they were dealt with as quickly as possible.
Perhaps they thought you weren’t considering such factors, when you had already run those tests and they simply misunderstood.
Largely, the more communication you have with your customers, the less likely they are to be unhappy or think that you didn’t really “hear” them.
Strong communication is the foundation for a good bedside manner. Even if you understand what you’re doing, the patient might not.
But ultimately it’s about making sure that there’s more positive press than negative press. That means that people are saying things good about you and that those things are considered to be high authority.
The Consequences of a Negative Reputation for Doctors
Ultimately, it’s not just about negative reviews. It’s about the consequence of those reviews.
It’s obvious that individuals may not feel comfortable seeing you if they see negative reviews or negative press.
But, additionally, your existing patients may start to question the care that they were given. Those who were unhappy with their outcomes but accepted those outcomes in the past may latch onto any negative press and believe that they were also at a disadvantage due to your medical care.
This can spiral.
Once your reputation is damaged, it may be harder to avoid lawsuits. You may find yourself embroiled in more lawsuits or more serious ones.
You may also find it more difficult to get insurance or see your insurance rates go up. This is especially true if you’ve suffered lawsuits, as the cost of defending you from those lawsuits is going to be calculated into your premiums.
A negative reputation can cascade and spiral, because once you are perceived as a “bad physician,” people will assume that you are.
It can be difficult to recover from this type of spiral. The best thing to do is avoid it altogether.
A professional reputation management company may be able to help you either head this type of issue off or help you recondition your reputation over time.
Need reputation management for doctors?
We’re here to help.
Reputation management for doctors is absolutely essential. If you want to get patients (and keep them), you need to make sure that your online presence is pristine.
Today, almost everyone will look up their doctors and their medical professionals online. This is especially true for boutique clinics.
Without the ability to control your digital presence, you can’t control what prospective patients see — and it’s possible that your reputation could become irrevocably damaged.
It’s time to learn more about reputation management for doctors. Contact NetReputation today to find out more.