Why You Shouldn’t Neglect Your Online Reputation in 2020?

The relationship between online reputation and overall brand health is undeniable.

Nowadays, what other people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself, so having social proof and posting positive stories about your business is crucial.

The majority of consumers heavily rely on search engines and review sites to steer their decisions about where to go for medical care.

That’s why maintaining and enhancing your reputation is vital, especially now and in the coming months.

Start revisiting how you are using your case studies, recommendations, and reviews at every touchpoint in your marketing and take the time to put this content to good use on your website and share it on social media.

I know that reading all this can be overwhelming, but hopefully, with the help of this guide, you can start utilizing your reviews, and when things get back to normal, you’ll begin to see it’s benefits.

Why you shouldn’t neglect your online reputation?

  • Healthcare consumers find the providers online, and they rely on information in online reviews and social media to inform their decisions.
  • Don’t think that you can neglect your online reviews because you’re a small practice: people are talking about you, rating you on Facebook and Google, and mentioning you in their blogs, regardless of the size of your business.
  • By proactively managing your online reputation, you will consistently show up higher in search rankings with more positive reviews.
  • Your Google page is like your business card: Google is dominating the search landscape in healthcare, so your google reviews will be the first impression your potential patients get.
  • Based on reputation.com’s 2019 Healthcare reputation report, practices with high reputation experience higher levels of patient loyalty.
  • Think of the online reviews as insights that can help you improve your quality of care.

The best way to get more reviews

  • The first and most important thing is being transparent: when asking for reviews, be ready to face them, and don’t hide the results you get.
  • Ask them directly: When customers tell you how pleased they are with the service you provide, take action, and ask them to submit an online review. Ask anyway you like, but the more detailed reviews you get, the better.
  • Or ask them online: Send a personalized email. Thank the patient for coming to your practice, ask if everything went well, and be sure to include a link to your online review site.
  • You can also automate this process by sending follow-up emails to patients with ORM tools, but we will get into that later.
  • Consider putting tablets or kiosks in your reception area to collect new reviews.
  • Either way, you should always let your customers know that you value their honest feedback.
  • Only request reviews from patients who have agreed to receive communications from you in email.

Monitoring and reacting

  • Analyze the reviews you got: take a critical eye, listen to your patients, and look for recurring troubles so that you could improve your practice and your online reputation. Utilize both positive and negative ones.
  • Positive reviews: Add them to your website and social media pages and post reviews on wall posters or table cards in your waiting rooms.
  • Negative reviews: Do not ignore or remove them! Removing it can also make things worse and lead to more negative comments. Your best defense is a good response. Handling these situations well can be appealing to potential patients. You could also offer to handle the issue offline.
  • Another important thing is that you should never ask disgruntled customers to review until you’ve resolved their issues. Afterward, you should ask the patient to write a review about how you addressed their problem. 
  • Responding well is not an easy job. Quick and polite reactions seem crucial, but sometimes it is not even necessary. That’s why you should take a proactive approach and start monitoring your public reputation regularly.
  • Social media monitoring allows you to gather information (from online reviews to Facebook posts) and see all the negative and positive things mentioned about your practice.
  • You could either try using Google Alert for monitoring, which is free of charge, or a professional ORM tool; we will get into those later on.

 Referral programs

  • New patients are key to growing your practice, and the best way to get them is referral programs. It’s not easy asking someone to send a new patient to you, it takes practice, and it needs to be systematic.
  • The outcome you should expect: If you impress a patient, you are guaranteed to see new patients come in as a result of this. The patient goes home and recommend you to someone in need of care.
  • You should try offering discounts for the referred patient, or even for both parties. Either way, you need to make patients aware of the program, and you shouldn’t let people assume that your practice doesn’t need new patients.
  •  Get creative, get personal, and engage your staff. You can hand out cards, brochures, or both; you can send follow-up emails to patients about the referral. It’s all up to you; the most important thing is to make it fit your style and your practice, and the way you want to engage patients. Think about how your office would request referrals, how would you or your staff approach the patients about it. 
  • Keep things tracked: examine how many referrals you’ve requested and begin to keep track of how many end up reaching out for appointments. And remember, it might be uncomfortable to approach your patients like this, but when done right, referral programs are one of the most effective tools you got.

ORM Tools

Online Reputation Management tools are useful for seeing and measuring all online mentions of your business. 

They can do web and social media monitoring, and some can even send automated follow-up emails to potential patients, so utilizing one can be quite helpful for your practice.

Here are my recommendations; some of them might seem hard to learn, but you should give them a try:

  • Brand24: Great features, it’s quite pricey, but there’s a free 14-day trial. They also got a great blog article about ORM, with more details: https://brand24.com/blog/what-is-online-reputation-management-and-how-to-do-it-yourself/
  • Google Alert: a free alternative, it’s not fancy, but it might be just enough for your practice.
  • Grade.us: it’s not free, but you can do a live demo, it’s excellent for monitoring and can be used to generate reviews by sending automated follow-up emails.
  • Mention.com: free and great for monitoring
  • Hootsuite: professional monitoring tool with 30-day free trial
  • SimilarWeb: another professional monitoring tool that comes with a free plan.

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