Online reviews continue to take a front seat when it comes to patients deciding between multiple practices.
With over 80% of patients using online reviews to evaluate physicians, it’s important to understand how you are portrayed overall online, and not just through your primary website.
Monitor Your Online Presence
Are you aware of everything being said about your practice? Chances are you’re focusing on the big three; your site, your Google listing, and your Facebook page. But, are you aware of the hundreds of other listings that could have been created using your name?
The easiest and most sure-fire way to keep you online presence clean is to continuously monitor it, or have someone do it for you. Over time, a number of products have been developed that allow for a quick scan of all of the “minor” directories–even beyond Yelp, HealthGrades, and Vitals– for your practice name or specific physicians. You can certainly do this yourself, but checking each and every page of Google tends to get tiring, and there’s a big chance you’ll miss things. The best bet, have the professionals do it for you!
Respond In a Timely Manner
So you’ve found all of your reviews, now what? The correct answer is to respond, but make sure you are doing it consistently, and not all at once. Responding to a review from three years ago will make it look as though you’ve been neglecting it, and just now decided it was the right time. Instead, develop a consistent method of responding to your reviews
Create Responses Ahead of Time
Patients understand that you’re not going to respond to each and every review personally, but you also don’t want to make it seem like it’s robotic. Create a handful (5-7) templates that you can alternate on reviews. However, if you get one that you feel like needs a personalized response, take a little time to write it out.
Stay HIPAA Compliant
Never discuss anything related to a patient’s personal treatment or describe anything that may be confidential. If it’s an anonymous response, do not make an assumption and address the patient in your response. Again, having a template can keep you from making this mistake.
Keep Your Cool and Think Ahead
Take your time to really read the review and determine your best course of action. If the review is wildly negative and you feel that it isn’t true, take the conversation off line. Oftentimes patients will leave reviews with the hope of some sort of resolution, and they know this resolution will not come through comments on Google. Give them a call directly and have the conversation. Once you resolve everything, you can respond to the review stating that you addressed it, or just ask the patient to leave a follow up.
Take Charge and Ask for More Reviews
A recent study showed that over 50% of millienials rely on the Internet to find a doctor. As crazy as it seems, this is just an upgraded version of word-of-mouth. Don’t spend most of your time worrying about negative reviews, but instead focus on gaining new, positive reviews. If you had a great experience with a patient, don’t be afraid to ask them for a quick review on any online resource. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that you’ll gain reviews quicker than anticipated–and potentially some new patients along with it!
As you think ahead to next year, don’t forget your complete online presence and the importance of reviews. While you cannot delete any reviews that are currently out there, you can certainly work to create a consistent, professional online presence that will drive patients to you.