Susan just moved to your town. She knows no one, but accepted an amazing job, with terrific benefits. This will surely launch her career in the way she wants it to go. Once Susan’s healthcare benefits kick in, it’s time to find a new doctor who she must choose from a list her insurance company provides her. Susan quickly gets to work on Google, searching each name in geographical order: “Dr. A_______ reviews.” Would your online reputation convince Susan to make an appointment at your practice?
If you aren’t monitoring what people are saying online about your practice, you should. As society becomes more comfortable with crowd-sourcing information, they want an abundance of opinions about every possible service they seek. Here’s how you can protect your online reputation, and even grow your practice in the process.
Encourage your patients to write positive reviews of your practice.
This is as simple as posting as sign at the receptionist window: “How was your visit? Tell us in a review.” Typically, people are more motivated to write bad reviews than good reviews, so it’s important to remind your patients to review your practice. Do not solicit positive reviews from employees or family members. All reviews should be genuine, and readers can tell. If you have eight simple, happy reviews all giving you highest marks, it can come off as suspect to a prospective patient.
Negative reviews are opportunities.
It’s easy to feel defensive when a patient writes a negative review of your practice, but that patient just gave you a huge gift. Now that a negative review is posted, sensitively and positively respond in a public way, which will speak volumes to other on-lookers. Furthermore, contact that patient, and talk it out. Make it right. People are much more likely to remember how you handled a sticky situation than a pleasant day-to-day interaction.
Train your staff in customer service.
No matter what happens in the doctor’s office, the appointment begins and ends at the reception desk. The first and last impressions of a business will color anyone’s experience. Is the patient nervous to see you? A pleasant greeting can calm their jitters. Did the patient receive bad news during his examination? A kind face can soften the blow. It’s what makes your private practice different from an impersonal hospital.
If you keep your website up to date and are active on social media, you can give your potential patients a more personal look into your practice. Lead the conversation regarding your practice, so crowd-sourced reviews are cut off at the pass.
Has your practice been affected by your online reputation for better or worse? Tell us about it in the comments!