Navigating a ‘Click' Happy World

posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019

Google. Facebook. Yelp. Healthgrades. Amazon. Trip Advisor. These are just a handful of the many online platforms where consumers are sharing their opinions – good and bad.  Every business, including healthcare, is one click away from a negative review.

Online reputation management has become a hot topic among healthcare practices around the country. Patient acquisition and the ultra-competitive healthcare landscape has practices looking to strengthen their brand and online presence. Online listings and reviews help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) -- accounting for nearly 25% of local ranking factors.

The patient experience needs to be at the heart and center of any practice. It starts at the top with the Administrator and trickles down to every single employee. Providing a good customer experience needs to be intentional and supported with marketing resources.

According to the MGMA (Medical Group Management Association), 70% of patients search for providers and services online and 80% look at online reviews to inform their decision. If your reviews are lacking or skew more negative than positive, you may need to focus on your brand and how your patients perceive you.

The MGMA says, “In the age of healthcare consumerism, reputation management can help your practice increase new patient volume, enhance your brand and build a better patient experience in a competitive healthcare market.”

Google is the most popular platform for online reviews. But it’s not enough to just claim your listing with a group like Google and hope people will find it. You have to be intentional and proactive with patients.

Most online reputation management tools have similar functionality.

  • The practice sends a text or email to your patients asking for a review. (Tip: A variety of research shows that nearly 98% of text messages are read immediately.)
  • The patient clicks a star rating in the email or texts back a 1 to 5.
  • A 1 to 3 star rating prompts the patient to answer a few questions privately before being asked to leave a review. This allows the patient to vent and calm down – and maybe avoid that negative online review. But a word of caution. Google does not allow gatekeeping, meaning you need to take the good and the bad. That is why you want to drive volume and offer the best experience possible.
  • A 4 to 5 star directs them to leave a review on your sites.

To summarize, a solid online reputation management tool gives you the ability to drive positive reviews, and provides a place for patients to vent privately. It makes it easy for the practice to respond, and allows the practice to track reviews and create reports to measure success.

Many practices and businesses fall short in not taking the time to respond to reviews, especially the negative. Part of the patient experience is engaging with the consumer and making the experience better. Make sure you are responding accordingly. Thank people for the positive. Address the negative.

Remember it’s about the patient (consumer) experience.