A good barometer of how well your healthcare practice is measuring up versus competitors can often be the extent to which “your phones are ringing and your doors are swinging.” In other words, what kind of job are you doing to market your practice and consistently bring new patients through your door?
Today, your ability to acquire new patients is directly tied into your practice’s online reputation and what patients are saying about you in online reviews. Getting a sufficient quantity of patient reviews with 4- and 5-star ratings can help you boost your online reputation which translates into more new patients booking appointments.
On Sept. 22, Solutionreach presented the webinar “Back to the Basics: Best Practices in Online Reputation Management” to help practice managers review the finer points of “reputation management 101.” We’ll share some of the key takeaways from the presentation so you can start leveraging your online reviews and business listings with add-on tools like Solutionreach’s Reputation Engine to get more new patients.
What is my practice’s online reputation?
Your practice’s online reputation consists of two elements—review management and search engine optimization (SEO). Review management entails collecting, monitoring, and responding to reviews patients leave of your practice on popular review sites like:
As well as healthcare specific sites that include:
Essentially, the greater the quantity and quality of reviews you receive, the higher your practice ranks on Google and other search engines, which is search engine optimization. Another factor in SEO is claiming and keeping your practice’s online business listings, like Google My Business, accurate and up to date. The higher your practice appears in prospective patients’ search results, the more likely they’ll be to book an appointment with your practice.
Consider these stats:
- 150% – The increase in mobile searches for “healthcare near me” in the last two years.
- 79% of consumers searching for healthcare-related businesses turn to review sites.
- 80% of U.S. internet users have searched health information online.
Why does my online reputation matter?
Simply put, you can attract many more patients by actively managing your online reputation.
- 94% of patients visit online reviews to evaluate and make healthcare choices.
- 43% of patients said they’d go outside their insurance network for a provider with better reviews.
- 77% of health information queries start with a search engine.
- 66% of patients confirm that it is “very” or “moderately” important that providers respond to negative reviews.
Healthcare has changed massively in the last few years, and patients have higher expectations when it comes to their care. They want to have a more digitally connected experience so they can quickly access information, find a practice, and interact with a practice based on their preferred communication channels. Patients are looking for on-demand, self-service features that they can access from their smartphone like text message reminders, online scheduling, telehealth appointments and many others.
Practices that have the right tools and abilities to meet their needs and expectations will be better positioned to retain returning patients and attract more new ones..
Where should I focus my efforts—5 Best Practices
1. Generate Your Reviews
Make it a practice to have a conversation and ask your patients to leave you a review on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. For a more effective approach, send them automatic review invitations or surveys for a public review website. Talking with them briefly will help increase the chances they’ll leave you a review.
Things to avoid: Make sure your practice doesn’t incentivize patients with rewards or giveaways in exchange for reviews. Never put fake reviews online or ask family, friends or colleagues to share a review. Don’t practice review gating. This is where you only ask happy patients to leave you an online review while directly those with negative experiences to leave feedback on a form that’s never made public.
2. Respond to Reviews
By responding to reviews you can build stronger relationships with patients while improving your local search rankings. Responses help increase trust, authority, and SEO relevance.
- 67% of customers who receive a response to a negative review with an update or remove their original review.
- 78% of consumers feel if a business responds to reviews it shows they care.
- 15% of customer churn is from not responding to their reviews.
By using templates, you can quickly respond to both positive and negative reviews in a matter of minutes per month rather than hours per month. Let’s say you respond to 700 reviews in a single month. It would take you about 58 hours to respond to them manually, while it would only take 11 hours with Solutionreach’s Review Invitations tool and templates.
Other best practices for responding to reviews include to have a dedicated review responder (the business owner or practice head), set up alerts for new reviews, have a rotation of different templates for both positive and negative reviews, and prioritize review response based on urgency. IMPORTANT: For negative reviews, always be brief, apologize, and invite the conversation offline to try to resolve the patient’s concern.
3. Optimize Your Online Listings
Make sure you claim your practice listings online and ensure you have a procedure to review and edit them regularly so that your information is always accurate and up-to-date. Seventy-five percent of healthcare listings receive a suggested edit each month.
- Claim or create your listings: Start with Tier 1 directories
- Clean your listings: Remove inaccurate information or photos
- Update your listings: Add missing or new info like business hours, website, and photos using the mnemonic device NAPWCHD (name, address, phone number, website, categories, hours, description).
4. Implement Local Search Best Practices
Local search, also known as “near me” search, has become the most frequent choice for patients making in-the-moment decisions. Mobile “near me” searches have grown 250% year-over-year in the last two years. Seventy percent of consumers will visit a healthcare practice because of a local “near me” search.
Local SEO helps your practice reach a larger audience of decision-ready patients. Local pages SEO primarily consists of patient reviews, interlinking pages to help improve page and domain authority, and images that leverage keywords in your alt tags. Your local content can also be in the form of social media posts, blog posts, videos, or anything else you feel is relevant.
5. Leverage Actionable Insights
By actively managing your practice’s online reputation, you can see trends, understand your competitors, and know how your patients really feel. You can use Reputation Engine’s sentiment analysis data to pinpoint specific text and words that patients feel most describe your practice, both positive and negative.
How Do I Elevate My Practice’s Online Reputation?
Reputation Engine is Solutionreach’s all-in-one reputation management solution that enables you to collect reviews, maximize your star rating, outgrow your competitors, and much more. Our add-on tool delivers:With our Reputation Engine tool you get:
- More 5-star reviews. Collect, monitor, and respond to reviews.
- Never miss a review. Get notifications of new reviews so you can respond quickly.
- Analyze review sentiment. Track your reputation trends and gain valuable insights.
- Outperform the competition. Review reports and track competitors.
Ensure your practice shows up near the top of the page when prospective patients search for a doctor with Reputation Engine. Boost your acquisition revenue and reduce staff workload with a solution that will help you rise above local competitors.