Do you know what your patients are saying about you online?
Your online reputation is important. Below are 7 Tips to help you build a positive online reputation. The article was also published in Women in Optometry Magazine, June 2018 edition.
Your online reputation depends primarily on the reviews you receive and your presence on various platforms. The reviews you receive are influenced by the patient experience in your office both online and offline. In 2017, we doubled our online reviews and maintained a 4.7 stars rating for our practice. Here’s the plan we followed to create such an extraordinary result:
1. First we made sure our website was up to par.
Your website is your online office and the first communication platform between you and your patients. Therefore, it is imperative that it has engaging content such as videos and articles, is optimized for mobile devices and search engines (SEO). I don’t recommend doing this yourself. Get professional help! Hire one of the many reputable online marketing companies in our industry to help you in this area. Trust me, it’s worth the investment!
2. We reviewed our current online reputation and made sure we were listed correctly on local listing sites.
You should be aware of what’s being said about you and your practice on the Internet. Google your practice, yourself, your associate docs and your staff on the internet. It’s important to do this because each person in your team is a representative of your practice. Remember, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Don’t burry your head in the sand, find out what your patients are saying about your practice and make sure you are listed correctly.
3. We reviewed our Social Media Presence
For better online reputation you need to have a strong social media presence. Chose the top 3 social media platforms most commonly used by your patients and use them to establish your presence. It is not necessary to post something every day but you must keep a consistent pattern. Create a calendar for posts and monitor the responses and engagement on all 3 accounts. After a while, you’ll start to see a trend on the posts with the most likes. Use that data to guide you for future posts.
4. We reviewed our competitor’s online reputation.
Reputation management is not restricted to only your profile; you should also be aware of your competitors’ reputations. This will help you see the trends and things that impact patients in your area. Understanding the reasons behind success or failure of your competition may help you improve your practice’s reputation.
5. We engineered the patient experience in our office.
Make sure your patients experience the story you want them to share online. This cannot be left to chance, you have to create it and standardize it. Review your Mission, Vision and Purpose (MVP) and design step by step processes to ensure your service delivery is on point and consistent. If you treat your existing and potential patients with utmost respect and care and make their visit to your practice memorable, you will get positive reviews.
6. We asked for reviews.
Ask your raving fans to leave online reviews about their experience in your practice. Positive online reviews are critical for strengthening your online reputation. In our office we give each patient a thank you card at the end of their visit. We use this card as a referral tool and as a reminder for reviews. I personally read the card with every patient and ask them for referrals and reviews. Our efforts caused our reviews to grow over 100% in 1 year. That’s right! We more than doubled the number of online reviews. Your happy patients already want to share so don’t be afraid to ask.
7. We developed a response plan for online reviews.
In the past we only responded to negative reviews. But this year, we’ve decided to respond to ALL patients reviews, both positive and negative. We know it’s important to address the concerns of our patients who give negative reviews but we’ve discovered it’s just as important to thank our raving fans for their support.
Responding only to negative reviews is like seeing the thorns and not the roses. While it is important to safely handle the thorns, it’s just as much if not more important to relish in the roses. We recommend that you thank ALL reviewers for taking time and sharing about your practice online. Be courteous to all and take care to remain HIPAA compliant while responding.
Building a strong positive online reputation takes time and strategy. Hire professionals and enlist the help of your team to create a winning strategy. Set small realistic goals and assign one person the job of tracking progress. If you follow the steps outlined above, you will be amazed with your results just as we were.
Now it’s your turn to share. Do you have some tips that have helped you get good reviews? Please share in the comment section below!