Running successful healthcare practice is challenging enough—but there are plenty of further complexities that doctors and dentists need to deal with. One example is online reputation management. But, if you are any kind of healthcare professional, then what people are saying about you on the Internet matters a great deal.
Why is online reputation management so important for medical professionals? For the same reason that it is essential for small business owners, financial planners, car salesmen, insurance agents, and on down the line: These days, more and more consumers (and patients) are using the Internet to do all their research. If your online profile reveals complaints and negative reviews from previous patients, it will cause your practice to lose business very quickly—period.
So, what can a doctor or dentist do outside of obtaining the online reputation management services of a company like ORMbooster.com? There are four basic reputational MUSTS that every medical professional should implement as soon as possible:
- 1: Control What You Can
It is important to understand that you are never going to have full control over what people say about you on the Web—that is, you cannot force people to say positive things about you, any more than you can absolutely guarantee that nobody says anything negative—but there are some things you can control. In particular, you can control the information that patients and potential patients find about your practice, such as the contact information, information about you, doctors and your staff, and so forth. The first thing you should do, then, is to make sure to provide complete, accurate, and up-to-date information on Google+ Local, as well as physician rating sites like Vitals and HealthGrades.
- 2: Google Yourself
Yes, reputation management is impossible without reputation monitoring. One of the best things you can do for your practice is simply to Google it—the name of the practice itself, and of each doctor within it—regularly. What are people saying? Are your practice website, blog, and social media pages showing up in a Google search? Are there out-of-date websites that you need to get updated? Consider each of these critical points.
- 3: Ask Your Patients for Reviews
There is nothing wrong with mentioning to satisfied, loyal patients that their positive feedback goes a long way. Some practices give out cards, showing patients which sites they can use to provide assessments—an excellent online reputation management strategy!
- 4: Provide Questionnaires
A final online reputation management strategy: Provide surveys and questionnaires to your patients regularly. These “off the record” informal surveys can help you spot any areas of your practice that may be a little lacking—for example; Maybe there are a front desk staff members who are irritable, or perhaps your bedside manner is not as positive as you think it is! Spotting any potential problems—and taking steps to rectify them—is a great way to minimize the risk of bad online reviews in the future.