It used to be a practice’s ability to retain and attract patients largely depended almost entirely on the “bedside manner” of its medical professionals. A friendly and attentive doctor might earn life-long loyalty from patients who would pass their praise by word of mouth on to family and friends, leading to referrals.
Though terrific bedside manner is still critical to a positive patient experience, it’s no longer the only touchpoint that factors into patients’ overall feelings about your practice. Today’s healthcare consumers expect to receive great service and communication at every point in the patient journey along with positive health outcomes. An Accenture survey found that 1 in 2 people say a single bad communication experience can ruin their patient experience. What’s more, 60% of patients say they had a decidedly bad experience in the past three months.
Let’s look at some of the factors that help shape patients’ sentiments about their appointment, how patients share those good and bad experiences, and what you can do to increase the likelihood that patients get an optimal end-to-end experience.
What factors contribute to a practice’s reputation?
You’ve probably heard the cliché that a patient’s appointment doesn’t end after the actual office visit. It’s a great sound bite that rings true in many ways. In today’s market, the takeaway may be more apt than ever.
Patients expect a convenient and trouble-free journey with your practice before, during, and after their appointment. Every patient communication they receive after they’ve seen the doctor impacts their overall assessment of your practice. This includes things like:
- Post-appointment care instruction messages
- Patient education & marketing newsletters
- Follow-up appointment booking reminders
- Payment reminders
- Patient satisfaction surveys
- Online review invitations
The easier and more digestible you make it for patients to proceed through the appointment workflow, the more likely you’ll get positive feedback in patient experience surveys and online reviews. The greater the quantity and quality of reviews you get from online reviews, the better your chances are to increase patient loyalty and encourage people searching for a doctor to visit your website and book a visit.
How much does my practice’s online reputation impact our business?
When prospective patients look for a doctor, they visit online review sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp to find practices with impressive reviews and ratings. Ninety-four percent of American adults search for reviews as their first step in finding a practice.
While positive online reviews and star ratings can boost patient acquisition and help you retain more patients, negative reviews can be devastating. Thirty-three percent of patients who had a bad experience said they’d switch healthcare providers. And 53% of patients who were dissatisfied with their practice said they’d share those opinions with others, including in cyberspace.
How much damage can one negative online review inflict? One study shows it can cost your practice $750–$3,000 annually. Even worse, it’s estimated that a loss of a single patient due to an unhappy encounter can impact a practice by $200,000 of income over the provider’s lifetime.
Those sobering statistics underscore the importance of prioritizing your post-visit communications with patients and investing time in managing your practice’s online reputation.
What are the benefits of actively managing my practice’s online reputation?
Ready for some good news? Tracking your online reviews and interacting with patients’ comments can go a long way in helping you get more 4- and 5-star reviews. It also reassures returning patients that your practice is mindful of and responsive to patient feedback, whether good or bad. In short, you’ll be able to better respond to patient concerns while increasing your retention rate.
For instance, 33% of patients will go back and change a negative review to a positive one when you respond to and attempt to resolve their complaint. A study from Harvard Business School revealed that a 1-star rating improvement to your overall rating average increased revenue from 5% to 9%.
How can the right software help me communicate more effectively with patients while optimizing my practice’s online reputation?
When post-visit patient communication is consistent and thorough, you’ll earn more positive feedback from patients. That’s because they’re enjoying an easier, more convenient, and excellent patient experience. Automated tools that can help you achieve these goals while minimizing manual tasks for your staff include:
- Patient messaging for post-care instructions and to book follow-up care
- Missed appointment reminders
- Patient education & marketing newsletters
- Text-to-pay billing reminders
- Patient surveys
Similarly, a customizable reputation management solution can help you easily collect, monitor, respond to, and analyze patient reviews. You’ll be able to see how you stack up against the competition, amass more glowing reviews, and course-correct based on patient feedback. Use its AI feature to auto-generate thoughtful and unique responses to both positive and negative reviews.
Offer patients ridiculously awesome “bedside manner” at every step in the patient-centered care journey with automated patient communications technology. You’ll not only deliver a better patient experience but you’ll be able to build stronger patient-provider relationships and grow an online reputation that brings in more new patient foot traffic through your front door.
Learn how to optimize your practice’s online reputation to more easily and efficiently attract more new patients. Download the guide, “Online Reputation Management: Why It’s Essential for Your Practice.”
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