6 Tips to Improving Yours
Your online footprint is becoming more and more significant. Nothing disappears, so it’s critical to be cautious about how you present yourself in the digital world. There are a number of things to pay attention to when it comes to managing your online reputation. With a bit of time and focus, you can ensure that your patients and prospective patients see you and your practice in the best possible light.
Take a look at some of these key areas to help you manage your reputation and ensure that patients are getting the full story.
Online Ratings and Reviews: It seems like every day, a new review site pops up with the goal of rating services including healthcare providers. While monitoring these sites can seem like an overwhelming task, it could mean a lot of lost patients or damaged goodwill if it’s not attended to. Do a search for your practice name and identify sites where patients have left comments. Step one of your reputation management is to take control. Be sure you claim your business on each site (you may have a page on the review site that you’ve had nothing to do with setting up). Correct the information, add pictures and details that will show off your clinic, and respond to any reviews that are present.
Respond to ALL Reviews: Good or bad, every review deserves a thoughtful response - especially the bad ones. Your online reputation will be strongly supported by how you handle negative comments. Never argue online with a patient. If there is a dispute, move the discussion offline. You can ask the patient to contact you or reach out to the patient if you have their contact information. Regardless of the review, make sure your reply is honest and sincere. Nothing will hurt you more than having someone come back to the review and call you out again.
Ask Your Patients for Reviews: To help build your online reputation, take advantage of your most important resource: your existing patients. When patients are preparing to leave your practice, ask if they would kindly write a review of their experience. It’s helpful to direct them to the sites you’d most like to have friendly reviews - you can even have a list of sites pre-printed on your appointment cards to hand to them before they go. Most patients are more than happy to write a review when they are asked, so don’t be afraid to encourage them to add their words to your preferred review sites.
Monitor Your Reviews Regularly: It’s not good to let reviews sit for too long. Working with your online reputation means monitoring and responding regularly. It’s best if you can stay on top of it daily, or at least every few days, but never let those sites go unchecked for more than a week. Regularly monitoring and responding to reviews shows patients and prospective patients that your online reputation is important to you and is a serious part of your integrity.
HIPAA and Patient Privacy: It’s important to remember that reviews and social media sites are a public forum. It would do your online reputation no good to be found in violation of HIPAA regulations for revealing private patient information. Even if the patient discloses personal information, it’s best to steer clear of any risk of violation by moving the conversation offline.
Focus on Patient Experience: Remember, your online reputation is only one piece of the puzzle. Your real world reputation is equally, if not more, important. Your interaction with patients in your practice is what will be translated to the Internet and the various review sites. The best way to secure a good review is to provide a good experience.
For more information about online reputation management, click here!