You know reputation management benefits doctors by helping them get seen by potential patients who are searching for a doctor. But did you know that managing your reputation will also benefit your patients?
Today’s patients are proactive: asking questions, doing their own research, and expecting results. With information at their fingertips, they’ve taken a more active role in their patient journey. Each path is unique to the circumstances of the patient, but each patient’s journey includes finding the right doctor for them. Sometimes it means finding multiple doctors.
Doctor reputation management benefits patients in many ways, but it starts with finding the best doctor to fit their circumstances. Read on to learn five ways your reputation management benefits your patients.
Patients receive full access to the information they need.
Patients looking for medical care most often begin the process of finding a new doctor by turning to online reviews, according to a Software Advice survey. And 94% of patients reported turning to online reviews at some point in their search. Another survey found that 76% of patients trust online reviews more than personal recommendations.
For you as a doctor, this means that in order to be seen and chosen by prospective patients, you need to manage your reputation, ask for reviews, and improve the visibility of your online presence.
For patients, it means they need to have access to your information so they can make a fully informed decision on which doctor to schedule an appointment with. If you actively manage your reputation, it increases your online visibility, which in turn allows patients to find the information they desperately need.
How can they choose the best doctor for their situation if they can’t find you online? It would be like tying your shoes with one hand behind your back. Consumers need full and accurate information to make important decisions.
Access to information goes beyond just reviews, however. A well-optimized Google My Business (GMB) listing contains additional information patients need to know, and optimizing your GMB listing is an important (and oft overlooked) piece of managing your reputation. When you fill your listing with information patients are looking for—such as the hours you’re open, the services you provide, a scheduling link, and your Covid-19 response, to name a few—they will stop and take a look.
Managing your reputation benefits patients by providing them with better access to information.
Reviews and knowledge are the building blocks of a trusting relationship.
Have you ever visited a website only to find a discouraging lack of information you were looking for? When you search for knowledge online, you expect to find it. And if you don’t find the information you’re looking for right away, you move on.
A first step in building trust is meeting expectations on that first encounter—in this case the first virtual encounter. To a patient looking for a care provider, your online presence may well be their first contact with you. And if you give off a vibe of being unorganized, or if they can’t trust the information they find, that reflects poorly on you. Whether it’s fair or not.
As they read through your reviews—and they will look through your reviews—they want to know what others say about you. When they read experiences from your majority of happy patients, that will go a long way toward building their trust in you enough to choose you to provide their—or their loved one’s—care.
Finding additionional helpful information about the insurance you carry, safety measures you have in place, or how to schedule a virtual appointment shows them that you provide easy access to the information they need.
Managing your reputation ensures that your potential patients can learn more about who you are by reading patient reviews and finding the information they are searching for.
The feedback patients provide can drive needed change.
Nurturing your reputation means gathering reviews, and it can also include asking for surveys. As your staff reads through your patient feedback from these two avenues, you may discover some ways to improve the care you provide.
One review that mentions negative interactions with your front desk staff could mean that the patient was simply having a bad day. But repeated comments from reviews and/or surveys would indicate an issue that needs to be addressed by more training or other changes.
You may also find frequently asked questions in the Questions and Answers section of your GMB listing. Those questions could prompt you to create some answers to address general topics, include a virtual appointment scheduler, or add more information elsewhere in your listing.
The key is to pay attention to what your patients are saying and decide whether or not changes need to be made to improve patient experience.
Your reputation management benefits patients as you discover and implement changes that will improve the care you provide.
Patients can receive answers to their questions that reinforce the caring nature of your doctor-patient relationship.
When patients turn to online reviews to vet a doctor, they don’t just read the reviews. They also read the responses. A recent survey found that among those who read reviews to learn about a business, 97% also read the responses to those reviews.
Responding to reviews does not have anywhere near the same impact as having a great bedside manner—the way you treat your patients is becoming increasingly important as they evolve in the way they choose a doctor—but your review responses do provide an added dimension. Your staff can do the actual answering, and a timely, polite response can do wonders for building trust in you and your staff. It shows you care.
Managing your reputation allows you to give your potential patients a first look into how you interact with your patients as you respond to reviews in a caring way.
Addressing bad reviews can turn a negative experience into a positive one and solidify a long-term relationship.
Negative reviews happen to even the best doctors. So if you haven’t received one yet, just wait a while. It’s not a question of if but when. And when you do get a bad review, please don’t ignore it. (It’s okay to ignore it until you can answer reasonably. An angry, defensive, or snarky answer won’t do you any favors, as tempting as that is.)
If you can respond to negative reviews quickly and appropriately, you can hopefully turn a bad experience into a positive one. For some tips on how to respond to negative reviews, read How to Respond to Negative Reviews.
Managing your reputation includes responding to negative reviews. This allows you to mitigate negative experiences and show potential patients you care.
It’s clear that reputation management benefits both doctors and patients. Give us a call to get started managing your reputation today for you and your patients.