The Internet has now largely replaced word-of-mouth recommendations in a patient’s search for a new doctor.
Today, digital resources such as Google are used almost twice as much as traditional recommendations.
Online reviews are often the starting point for a patient's search for a doctor.
By applying a few simple techniques, you can better ensure that patients share and spread positive reviews about you online, to create the necessary guarantees that prospective patients need to choose you as a doctor.
1. Remind patients that their comments are welcome
People aren’t conditioned to evaluate health care experiences as they do for restaurants, hotels, and other consumer industries.
For doctors, however, this is problematic issue, because reading reviews is an important step in the process of making a patient's decision to choose a doctor.
The problem with not having enough online reviews is twofold. First, it weakens your credibility to patients looking you up online.
And second, it means your reputation is vulnerable:
A frustrated patient could drag down your overall score by just one negative review.
On the other hand, having more reviews, protects your online reputation and proves that you are trustworthy to prospective patients with an important decision to visit you.
Remind your patients that their comments are welcome. Most will leave you with a review if you do one simple thing: Ask them!
2. Make the process as simple as possible
People today are very busy and many patients who want to write a review for you may not.
The digital age has raised our expectations for convenience. Making it easier for patients to write their opinions about you, not only proves that you respect their time, but also improves their chances of doing so.
Do not use complicated and time-consuming forms to complete, nor multiple steps to verify their review.
The more complicated the process, the greater the risk of drop-off. Find ways to ask simple and concise questions to get the most reviews.
3. Collect comments when your appointment is recent
One way to make this process more convenient for your patients is to record their reviews at the doctor's office.
Immediately after their appointment, they can spend two minutes evaluating their visit, while waiting for fixing a next appointment, or getting a prescription, when the experience is still fresh in their minds.
Collecting reviews in the doctor's office also increases the chances that your average score is higher and the reviews are more positive.
Usually, only disgruntled patients turn to the internet to write reviews after leaving the doctor's office.
So don't let a small minority damage your reputation. Since most patients are satisfied with the care and services provided, it is imperative that these voices be heard and amplified throughout the internet.
While empowering patients to leave feedback online while they are still in your office, is the most effective way to ensure that they write you a review, sending sms or email reminders allows patients to evaluate you later whenever it may be more convenient for them.
This encourages patients who might not have time to evaluate you in your office, increasing the overall volume of your reviews.
4. Don't let a bad review throw you off your game
No matter how good doctor you are at your job, occasional negative reviews are inevitable.
The good news; One or two, one or two star reviews make your online presence look more reliable. It shows patients that you have not manipulated the comments in any way.
Another advantage of having a few bad reviews is that they also make you look more likeable.
Perfection is a bit scary and perhaps questionable by some, while presenting some flaws softens someone's opinion of you.
As long as good outweighs bad, don't worry about few negative reviews and develop a careful response strategy to reduce further damage.
5. Know when and how to respond
In most cases, responding to criticism is a good idea. We always thank a happy patient who leaves a positive review.
But we also recognize the frustration of an unhappy patient. (Most patients who leave negative reviews just want to feel that you are listening to them).
You can even gain real insight and improve in one area from their comments!
Of course you need to be careful when answering and never annoy a patient.
Never reveal the details of your meeting with him, nor the course of his treatment, and patient's personal data.
The safest and most productive way to attract patients is through a measured, thoughtful approach:
Never take an aggressive or defensive stance when responding to online patients.
The most appropriate approach is to always understand your patient's attitude, to give assurances that you have tried to do the best for him and that you deeply regret feeling disappointed in something during their experience with you.
At the end of the day, your online reputation reflects who you are as a doctor, as well as the experiences of your patients in your practice.
By adding patient comments to your profile through a simple process, you protect and enhance your reputation, while developing an online presence that attracts the right kind of patients and increases your customer base.