7 ways to attract more patients through review and reputation management
Reputation is everything, especially for consumers seeking medical providers. The 2020 Master Patient Experience Survey revealed that 90% of all potential patients use online reviews to evaluate providers. So how do you make sure your healthcare facility can compete?
One of the most effective ways to attract new patients to your office is to have a solid healthcare reputation management strategy in place. Whether you’re a specialty clinic, private practice, large medical complex, mental health facility, or outpatient surgical center, there are many benefits related to proactive online reputation management.
These simple tips will help you effectively manage your online reputation, optimize your visibility in search engine and voice search results, and attract new patients to your healthcare facility:
1. Capture In-Office Feedback
Do you currently have mechanisms in place to capture face-to-face feedback—or even anonymous feedback—in your physical office? Facilities that take the time to incorporate on-site feedback can use their learnings as a ‘first line of defense.’ Taking this step helps you troubleshoot issues before they become systemic—and before they start to tarnish your online reputation.
Try something as simple as handing patients a two-question rating card as they check out and prompting them to drop it in a secure container before they leave. You could also send an automatic post-appointment survey through your patient portal. Whatever you choose, make sure you also have a process in place to quickly follow up on any less than stellar ratings so you can work together to set things straight.
2. Monitor Online Reviews
Already getting online reviews? Keep a close eye on your online reputation by consistently checking any online business review sites your facility has a presence on for new content. Where should you look? Google, of course, is the place to start. But don’t forget about platforms like Apple Maps and Bing as well as healthcare-specific review sites like Vitals, HealthGrades, and RateMDs, which get millions of visits each day.
On each platform, ‘claim’ your business to get full access to its admin tools. Only people verified to own or work for the business can claim a listing, which adds an exclusive level of authority and trustworthiness to your online listings.
The process of claiming your business online varies by platform. Here are links to getting started on Google Business Profile and Apple Maps. Typically, you’ll be prompted to participate in a secure verification process that ensures that only the rightful owner can act on behalf of the business. Once claimed, you can use admin tools to do things like edit your business profile or respond to reviews on behalf of your office.
Making monitoring a habit helps you identify and address what’s happening in your office on a day-to-day basis. Give equal weight to positive and negative feedback by recognizing employees who are doing a great job and addressing any issues that present opportunities for improvement.
3. Verify Office Information is Accurate on All Listings
There’s a lot to cover when it comes to implementing a broad search engine optimization strategy for your medical office. As a starting point, spend time verifying that all business profile information is up-to-date and complete. Ensure all local business listings and review website profiles have an accurate and consistent name, address, phone number, website, category, hours of operation, and description.
This is a crucial step because Google’s ranking criteria puts 25% of its weight on Google Business Profile optimization. Why is this so vital? Consumers rely on search result data to be relevant and valid, which is especially important when someone is facing an urgent medical need.
4. Encourage Patients to Leave Online Reviews
The 2021 Healthcare Reputation Report contains data compiled from an in-depth analysis of 113,000 healthcare facilities and providers. The report states that 50% of facilities and 65% of physicians had zero reviews in 2020. It also found that 50.8% of consumer survey respondents reported choosing one doctor or facility over another based on—you guessed it, reviews.
With those stats in mind, it’s clear why making an effort to capture patient feedback is so important. There are lots of simple ways to accomplish this. For example, you can put up signs in your office to encourage reviews, send follow-up emails or texts after an appointment prompting reviews, or add prominent public profile links to your website to help prompt a steady stream of reviews.
5. Respond to Every Patient Review ASAP
When consumers do a medical search, they look for two things. First, they evaluate overall ratings to gauge existing patients’ general sentiments on the office or provider. Second, they look at whether the facility is responding to reviews.
When someone is upset, time is of the essence. Frustrated patients don’t want to wait days on end to hear back from you. The faster you get in touch, the better your odds are of turning a negative review into a neutral or even a positive one. So how fast are we talking?
A 2020 survey found that 20% of consumers expect a response within 24 hours, 26% expect a response within 48 hours, and 30% expect a response within one week. Additionally, 97% of consumers who read reviews online also read responses from businesses, and 71% of consumers say they’re more likely to use a business that has responded to reviews.
Long story short: responsiveness matters—a lot.
6. Reply to Positive and Negative Feedback
Regularly responding to reviews enhances your local SEO and helps you build trust with potential new patients. Let’s say a web search result shows a doctor’s office with 125 reviews that range from one to four stars—and the facility hasn’t responded to a single one.
This sends a loud and clear message: patient feedback isn’t a priority. On the contrary, if your office regularly posts authentic replies, it shows that you’re invested in your patient’s experience, and you genuinely value their opinion.
What’s the best way to manage replies? Be compassionate, and be human. Steer clear of canned responses, and don’t copy and paste the same reply on every review. You can, however, use templates that can be edited to match each situation, to save time.
Avoid disclosing personal details that could violate HIPAA. If you need more information to address a concern, guide the conversation offline. Provide a direct phone number to make sure the patient can reach someone who can help.
As a bonus, closely monitoring and responding to reviews can dramatically impact your search engine visibility. Trusted SEO company, Moz, reports that reviews are the third biggest consideration search engines use to determine how you rank in results. These sites, which serve as internet gatekeepers, like to see consistent activity on high-ranking pages, like your Google Business Profile. Says who? Says Google!
7. Use Software to Simplify Healthcare Reputation Management
Tackling business review profile optimization, listing management, sentiment monitoring, and review management is a big job. Luckily, healthcare reputation management software can take the pain and manual work out of the process.
Take advantage of intelligent, in-depth analytics tools like a patient sentiment dashboard, which provides an at-a-glance perspective on your brand reputation. If you haven’t had time to review and respond to existing online reviews across multiple platforms, use software to pull them into one feed and speed up the process.
Bulk response abilities let you quickly post replies across multiple channels, while smart response software, powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP), helps you quickly craft a perfect reply.
The most successful healthcare organizations prioritize effective healthcare review management. Follow the steps above to manage your brand reputation, leverage online reviews as an optimization tool, stand out against competitors, earn trust, and ultimately — bring more new patients in the door.Explore Chatmeter Solutions for Healthcare
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