Whether you like it or not, your customers are posting reviews about your company on websites all across the Internet. These reviews provide potential customers with a glimpse into the products and services your organization provides and can sway them to choose your services over those of a competitor. However, they can also be damaging to your company’s reputation. In fact, according to a Nielsen “Global Trust in Advertising” report, online reviews are one of the most trusted sources of information for buying decisions, second only to recommendations from friends and family.
In order to protect your organization’s brand and reputation, it is important for you to manage the reviews that customers write about you online. Here are a few quick tips to help you get started:
- Take charge of your social media profiles. Physicians are often hesitant to create social media profiles, fearing that by doing so they will provide patients an outlet to voice their negative opinions. The truth is – patients are already talking about you online. Providing a place for them to write comments or reviews just allows you to respond to them much more quickly.
- Monitor the Internet regularly for mention of your organization. You can set Google alerts for keywords such as your practice’s name and the names of your physicians. You can also easily search Twitter by typing key terms into the search bar, both with and without the hashtag symbol (#).
- Ask your patients for reviews. There’s nothing wrong about asking patients for feedback – especially those who have expressed contentment with your practice. Tell patients which sites you use, such as Healthgrades or Google Local, and encourage them to write about their experience.
- Have a plan in place for handling negative criticism. Patients may post things that are unflattering – and sometimes untrue. So, it’s a good idea to have a strategy for how your practice will handle negative comments. This includes assigning someone to handle these types of crises, as well as how they will go about doing so.
Of course, not every organization will have the time or resources to handle online reputation management on their own. Healthcare professionals who want to focus on practicing medicine and not necessarily on the branding or marketing aspects of their business can contract the services of a marketing agency that specializes in online reputation management for the medical industry.