One of the latest trends in healthcare is to use facility upgrades, like flatscreen TVs and complimentary Wi-Fi, to lure patients. But the problem is that, for the most part, customers do not know about these perks until they book appointments. Even worse, such efforts may be missing the point: people go to the doctor’s office to see the doctor, not play on their phones. Finally, if customers have negative experiences, like extended waiting times or doctor-canceled appointments, all the oak paneling in the world won’t get them to come back. An effective healthcare Online Reputation Management strategy addresses all these concerns. Last year, doctor review websites garnered over six million visitors, and this figure does not include the number who look on social media sites. “As physicians, you need to be aware of what’s on these sites and use that feedback to improve your services,” the study author warned. A positive online reputation creates positive expectations for the office visit, which in turn, more often than not, creates positive customer contact.
There is also a cautionary note buried in the statistics. Most doctors have fewer than three online reviews on pages like healthgrades.com and vitals.com, so one negative review drives away new and repeat business. The good news is that most patients give doctors favorable ratings; in the study mentioned above, doctors had an average of 3.6 stars out of five. So, there is much positive material to work with in terms of ORM.
In addition to RateMDs.com and other specialty sites, keep local information updated on Bing, Google, Yahoo! and other larger search engines, especially if you change phone numbers or office locations. The same thing applies to Citysearch, Foursquare, and other similar sites. Consistent listings on multiple sites make you appear engaged with customers, improves Google page ranking, and decreases frustration over incorrect directions or contact information.
This area is particularly vital for small hospitals and emergency care clinics that sell something other than the doctor, like convenient hours, low waiting times, multiple locations, multiple insurance plans accepted, and so on.
Although the effect may be less pronounced with medical providers, studies indicate that there is almost a one-to-one relationship between online review scores and total revenue. As mentioned earlier, even so-so doctors usually get good reviews, so it is what you do with the bad ones that count.
Not all negative reviews are the same, because there is a difference between a patient who has an issue with the quality of care and a patient who argued with the receptionist, and an effective healthcare online reputation management approach recognizes the difference.
In terms of responding to negative reviews, ORM has two speeds: fast and hyperspace. It is essential to recognize the difference. Reviews with negative keywords, like “rude” or “wait,” usually require remedial action within a few hours. More nuanced negative comments can have a more thoughtful response, although these tasks should not stay on the back-burner for very long.
Tell Your Own Story
Another way to counter negative information is to post relevant and engaging content on your website and social media accounts. In addition to broadcasting your message and driving local search traffic, this strategy helps improve local SEO rankings and user retention, mainly if it focuses on weaker keywords.
Total Social Marketing
In addition to the content, like blogs and resource pages, promote your business with unique offers on social media sites to generate more leads. Then, to retain the current patients, focus on customer service. Maintaining an active social media management profile keeps your finger on the pulse of your potential patients, so you can fine-tune your approach to what they are looking for when they want it.
Watch the Competition
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and so your competitors’ effective strategies will probably work for you. In a similar vein, failed bits elsewhere tell you what to avoid. After all, healthy competition in the industry benefits everyone. Healthcare online reputation management requires a delicate touch because after all, you are selling professional services. To many people, a checkup at the doctor’s office is not much different than their vehicle oil changes: they want the job done quickly and correctly. Through effective ORM, you can meet that need.
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