As a doctor, online reputation is very important for you and it is heavily affected by online reviews. 72% of patients said that they use online reviews as a first step in finding a new doctor. Therefore, if you don’t build a good online reputation now or take the steps to fix a bad online reputation, you’re missing a lot.
Maintaining and Cultivating a Good Online Reputation as a Doctor
A good online reputation always starts offline. If you provide excellent services to your patients, your online reputation will greatly improve. But don’t let your patients do all the hard work, you must work hard too. Here are some tips to help you build and maintain a good online reputation.
Search Yourself Online
In order to know what people are saying about you online, all you have to do is to search for your name in a search engine and you’ll find out if people are saying good or bad things about you.
Most of the time, the things that would come up in a search would be your social media accounts, if you have one, and your name in review sites and directory listings.
The review sites and directory listings are important because it’s where most people go to look for products and service.
Even though you haven’t registered or created a profile in a review site or directory listing, people can still write a review about you in them. Once that happens, your profile will automatically be created, so don’t be surprised if you find your profile in a listing or review site. It’s important to take note which websites your name appears and then move on to the next step.
Claim or Create a Profile in Review Sites and Docs Directory Listings
Creating a profile or claiming an existing one in directory listings or review sites has a lot of benefits. For one, an unclaimed profile often features outdated or even misleading information. By claiming it, you will be able to fix it. You can update your profile to include your current information such as your address, contact number, availability, etc. In addition to that, it will also allow you to easily monitor and respond to any reviews, comments, questions, or feedback.
If you don’t have a profile yet, it’s a good idea to create one and encourage your patients to leave a review. Some prominent review sites and listings for doctors include https://www.google.com/business/, https://www.yelp.com/, https://www.ratemds.com, https://www.vitals.com, and https://www.healthgrades.com. You can find others by searching for your name online. You might be surprised to find a listing you didn’t even knew existed but already have your profile with reviews in it.
Respond to All Reviews
Once you have a profile in review sites or directory listings, make a habit of monitoring and responding to reviews posted by your patients (or even trolls) in them. Try responding to all reviews no matter if it is positive or negative.
Positive reviews deserve recognition. Responding to positive reviews helps you build a better online image. It shows patients and prospects that you care about them. Patients will be happy to recommend you to their friends, family, and colleagues, especially if you frequently acknowledge positive reviews. Everyone loves a friendly doctor!
Negative reviews can be hard to handle, especially if it’s not a genuine one. Fake negative reviews should be reported to the review site or directory listing’s admin. Most of the time, they will immediately remove it if proven fake. While waiting for its removal, respond to it. Address the fake review and show prospects that it’s not genuine. However, maintain a calm and professional tone in your reply. Even though the review is fake, losing your temper and getting aggressive in your reply is not a good idea.
Genuine negative reviews can be very hard to handle, but, again, don’t let emotions play a part in responding. Be calm and professional in your reply and don’t be afraid to apologize. Tell the reviewer that you appreciate the feedback and you’ll work hard to improve the poor service (if it’s a complaint about your services) or correct the mistake (if it’s a mistake on your part), etc. Assure them that whatever their bad experience is, it’ll never happen again.
Try to take complaints offline as soon as possible. Send a private message to the negative reviewer and ask him or her to make an appointment with you to settle the matter. Alternately, you can also provide him or her with a telephone number or email address that can be used to contact you directly. Once the issue is settled, you can ask for the review to be changed or remove it entirely.
Never argue online. Participating in one will only do you harm. People will actually give you kudos for handling a complaint in a smooth way, which could make the negative review have a lesser impact on a prospect’s choosing decision.
Build Your Doctor Social Media Presence
Everyone is in social media, therefore, it’s only logical that you’re in it too. Social media platforms allow you to find new patients and engage with existing ones. You can also use it to boost your online reputation by providing useful information to your patients and prospects on a regular basis. This can be done by posting tips, tricks, articles, etc. related to your profession. It can also be by responding to medical related questions. This builds your authority (by showing how knowledgeable you are) and shows that you have a deep interest in your profession.
Monitor the comments, likes, shares and direct messages. Try to interact with all of them. Always be present. Once you spot a negative comment or message, respond to it like the way you respond to reviews: don’t argue, always be calm and professional and then take the matter offline.
Online reputation management is all about monitoring what people are saying about you and then responding to what they say in an appropriate way. No matter how good or how bad the reviews are, always remain calm and professional in your response.
Building a good online reputation takes time, but if done patiently and correctly, you’ll reap the benefits it has to offer as more and more people are turning to the internet to find new doctors to help them with their health problems and inquiries.