As a doctor, you went through four years of rigorous study in med school and sweated it out through more than three years of residency.
You may have needed specialized diplomas in your category of medicine and spent in all a decade of more learning before settling down into your own practice.
You work hard, try to be as rational as possible and help your patients get back on feet quickly most of the time. In spite of being a knowledgeable and caring individual, you have to care about online reviews.
Every time you Google your name you are scared that a review from a new website would rank you just at 2.5. The reason is most likely not your ability as a doctor.
It might be that the patient did not think that you explained every aspect of his/her ailment in layman’s terms or it may be that you had to try out three different antibiotics before one of them worked.
It is normal and usual for you to do all of these. But how do you not break into a cold sweat every time you feel that the patient is feeling irritated? How do you combat a one-star rating on Google or Yelp or a similar site?
This is where your online reputation management comes into play.
Why Bother With Online Reputation Management?
It is possible for most doctors to manage their reputation through hard work and great bedside manner. In some ways what is known as Customer Relationship Management is already a part of what a doctor learns at the medical school and during residency. Well, every doctor accept House though he did the impossible so he could get away with poor behavior.
But with the spread of social media and similar sites broadcasting instant reviews, the centuries-old approach is no longer sufficient. Previously when patients did not like the way a dermatologist approached his work they had no way to air their grievances except maybe tell their neighbor or friends in the congregation.
But everybody has a mike now and most are hollering through it.
Humans often suffer from a negative bias. How many times has someone rushed to tell you what a wonderful time they had at Joey’s backyard BBQ party?
But if the party went south and he had burned the burgers and the ice cream was not very yummy, you can be sure they would call you within an hour. Such are the devious ways of the human mind.
You need reviews because:
- You were not paying attention for the past couple of years and you have low ranking on Google since you had no idea how to get patients to write Google reviews.
- There were some incidents at your medical practice that you are not too proud of. Maybe you are an orthopedist and a hip transplant on an otherwise healthy 64-year old was not really successful and required multiple surgeries.
- There has been a reason for you to receive negative media coverage due to complaints about your standard of work.
- Probably as a plastic surgeon you were involved in a malpractice suit and you did not emerge as the winner.
In all these situations you have to seize the initiative back and learn how to encourage patients to leave reviews.
Basically, take a leaf out of the playbook that auto companies use. How do they recover after being defeated in lawsuits since their cars are unsafe?
They have stricter quality checks implemented internally and a PR blitz to accompany it. That is why, Camry is the best selling sedan in the USA in spite of multiple recalls of Toyota cars over the past decade due to one issue or another.
As a doctor, you have to find various ways to cajole patients into leaving a good impression of you on the web and for that you need ORM.
How to Get Five Star Doctor Reviews
Cultivate your online image – As the provider of a service in the digital age you are a brand. Manage your brand by being proactive instead of defensive. Have a website where you introduce yourself to the wider world and explain why you are different as a doctor. It is not advertising but rather patient education.
At the same time have an account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and elsewhere. Make sure you have your say before others have their say about you.
The point that you have to understand is that if you do not have an online profile one will be created for you by those who leave reviews.
Turning a blind eye to technological changes will not make them go away but instead can cripple your practice. It takes time and a little bit of effort to cultivate your digital brand, hence you cannot react after the event has occurred.
Interact with reviews – Do not ignore any negative words about your practice. Respond to it politely, courteously, and quickly. Explain about your actions or lack thereof. Encourage the complainant to seek another appointment and try to redress their grievances.
Removal of a bad review should only happen if it is fake. Your strategy should be to bury bad reviews with good ones.
This way you have not done anything unethical or silenced a voice.
At all times be willing to start a discussion with the aggrieved person. All too often the mere act of reaching out will give them a sense of vindication and the need to abuse you any further will drop.
Delete negative reviews – In case there are fake, false, misleading reviews then request the site owner (say Google) to delete the negative review. Deleting fake negative reviews is hard, so bolster your documentation and evidence management practices. Begin your reputation management from inside your office. Be friendlier with patents and ask them to point out any shortcomings.
If you are unsure how to invite a patient to write Google reviews the answer is through ORM software such as MyReviewEngine.
Encourage reviews – A problem with online reviews is those who are happy may not praise you but those who are unhappy surely will criticize. If 80% of your patients are happy but submit only 10 reviews and 5% who are unhappy submit 8 reviews then you would probably rate at 2.3.
The way out is to ethically encourage patients who are pleased with you to leave positive reviews. Needless to say, this is delicate and has to be handled without seeming like self-promotion.
There are many ways to get patients to leave reviews, without crossing any boundaries. Of course, as a trusted medical professional you need to be much more careful than the owner of a food truck and it must never seem like soliciting a decent response but as part of the usual doctor-patient process.
Use automation – Several types of software allow you to automate the process. There are Healthcare Relationship Management systems that encourage a patient to rate a practice and write comments. Those who provide negative reviews can be sent an automated email with an apology and offer of another visit at a discounted price.
Doubtless, as a medical practitioner, you may be thinking that on top of all the work that you have to do daily this is an added burden. It probably is, but look at the brighter side – if there was no review you would not have known what percent of patients disliked your services and why.
It is a problem, but it is also an opportunity. Maybe with a few simple measures, you can convert a 2.3 to a 4.8 in a few months.
Enough doom and gloom. Imagine the upsides now. Anyone who does a Google search would find that you are the topmost cardiologist in your area and patients would flock to your chamber. More patients, mean more positive reviews and a virtuous cycle would begin.
The crucial thing to remember is to not stop after achieving a 4+ score. PR and customer relations management is a relentless process and does not stop when you reach a milestone. Far worse times may await you down the line and you need to gather all the goodwill that you can, right now.
Use a Tool To Get More 5 Star Reviews For Your Practice
It is not difficult at all to get plenty of five-star reviews for your practice. You just need to utilize the right tools, one such example is MyReviewEngine.
It’s a user friendly and intuitive tool, remarkably simple to use. The patient’s name, email address and phone number are entered into an online form. Immediately after the visit, the patient receives a request (via email or text) as they leave your facility. They can then rate you with a single-tap. Any positive review is pushed to Google , Yelp and other similar platforms. If the patient does not rate you then repeat requests can be sent at periodic intervals. Studies show, most customers leave reviews when reminded with a prompt reminder.
The tool also does some cool things. If the patient rates you 3 stars or less, the tool will offer the customer an option to submit a form which is emailed to you rather than bash you on review sites. This is called Customer Intent Detection.
Of course, there is a lot more functionality such as Review Monitoring, streaming of the best reviews automatically to your site, auto-publish positive reviews to your social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, detailed reports, and so much more.
MyReviewEngine makes it easy and simple to manage your reviews for your practice.
MyReviewEngine allows you to score more five-star reviews for your business, monitor your online reputation, keep tabs on your negative reviews and much more! This review management software simplifies the process of getting positive Google, Yelp reviews and on over 100 review sites for your business.
Know Your Review Score? Scan Your Online Reviews and Find Out Your Review Score Now!
Wondering what your online reputation looks like? Run a scan of your reviews and get a free online reputation report