Strategies to Boost Your Practice’s Online Reputation

Patients looking for new doctors frequently use online reviews as a way to seek out medical professionals who really know what they’re doing. Yes, people are still getting referrals from family and friends, but the wealth of online review and ratings sites, in addition to social media, has given patients some major tools that can have a big impact on your practice very quickly. You’ve got to have control of your online reputation to ensure negative comments don’t overshadow your actual abilities.

Get Satisfied Patients to Leave Reviews

You won’t be surprised to hear that patients who have had negative experiences are more likely to leave reviews online than patients who have had positive experiences. This is what you’ll find across almost all fields that have reviews, from apartment complexes to supermarkets to plumbers. So, one strategy you need to use is to counter the negative reviews you might get with even more positive reviews.

The best way to do that is to get your happy patients to start leaving reviews. They may think that because everything went well, there’s no reason to comment at all. But their good words can help you look a lot better. Let them know which sites have a page for you and that it would be wonderful if they could leave a note about their experience in your office or clinic. Don’t pressure them, of course, but keep an eye on how many positive reviews build up over time.

Set Up Alerts

You can’t keep track of every site that has a review for you, especially when some of those sites might be social media groups or private blogs. What you can do is set up an online alert through services like Google. Set it up to alert you any time there is a new post with your name, your clinic’s name, staff names, and so on. Don’t use general terms like “family medicine” as that will inundate you with emails.

As you get the alerts, check out what was said. If the person had a complaint, pay attention to why that service or treatment led them to leave a negative comment so you can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Fix Your Website

Make sure your website is easy to use, even for those who are using older browsers and operating systems. Your contact information must be clear and easy to find, and don’t make people scroll too much to find things, though it is okay to have them click through to another page. You may want to include positive reviews from other sites if their terms and conditions allow reproduction on other web pages.

Here’s Why You Should Take Reviews (Mostly) Seriously

It can be frustrating to find reviews giving you one star for a service that was clearly done in another doctor’s clinic, or reviews that blame you for having a particular policy. It is tempting to ignore these reviews, but don’t do it. In general, you need to take all reviews seriously, and in those cases, you need to respond and address the problem.

In the first instance above, you could simply point out that the person is complaining about bad dermatology treatments but you are a cardiologist, for example. In response to the complaint about how you run your business, it is a good practice to briefly explain why you have that policy and how to work with it. Anyone reading the complaint will then understand and be less likely to form a negative opinion in response.

If a review is negative but accurate, even if it’s an angry review, address that too. Apologize and, without violating privacy laws, note whether something can be done to address the problem. You’ll often see comments that invite the reviewer to call the office to further address the issue.

Don’t neglect to say thank you for positive reviews! You can respond to those as well, and doing so increases the likelihood of your being seen as a friendly, conscientious healthcare provider.

Hire Online Reputation Management Services

You have a medical practice to run, so there’s only so much you can do to monitor your online presence and image. To save time while still improving your online reputation, you can hire an online reputation management service.

These services can help craft a better online image for you by promoting positive reviews and articles. They aim to counter the negative images and reviews online, and depending on their services, they may be able to manage negative events for you (for example, countering negative information that turns out to be false but is populating the top search results).

Pay Attention to Your Staff

One thing to note is that sometimes it’s not you, but your staff. You can be a great doctor, but if you have rude, pushy staff who snap at patients or who ignore urgent calls, all your skills will mean nothing because patients don’t want to deal with difficult office staff or unpleasant medical assistants.

Your patients don’t necessarily expect to be treated like royalty, but they also do not expect to be scolded by a nurse for moving slowly, for example. Be sure you only employ competent staff who treat patients respectfully and who know that staying calm and polite gets more cooperation from patients—especially on the days when everything is off schedule or just not working right.

If you haven’t received any negative comments about the staff, that’s great news. Keep on treating them well, so that their work environment fosters good relationships and pleasant interactions. After all, sometimes it’s the staff who leave reviews, not just patients.

In summary, reputation management for medical practices is more complicated now that negative information and reviews can replicate online very quickly. You need to have a good grasp of how to deal with reviews, comments, and other online information that could affect your medical practice. You always have the option of hiring an online reputation management company to ensure your online presence and image will help you get more patients and keep your existing patients comfortable with their choice.

Medcare MSO offers all aspects of medical billing and revenue cycle management (RCM) services. Efficient billing not only improves your revenue from insurers, but it also helps patients understand what they owe, which in turn makes them more willing to pay it. We never want your patients to be unhappy due to billing errors. Give us a call today at 800-640-6409 to discuss how we can work together to streamline your billing and boost your revenue.

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