Doctors need good reputation management and without it their practice can really suffer. Here are 8 tips to ensure your reputation is the best it can be.
1) Seek Yourself Out As A Patient Would
When it comes to reputation management for doctors, the best place to start is by putting yourself in a prospective patient’s shoes. Search for your name and the name of your practice, clinic, or hospital. What bubbles up to the top of the search results? Who’s talking about you? Where are they doing it? What’s being said? This is also a good time to note sites that are going to be particularly important for reputation management, like review sites – particularly those that focus on medical services.
2) Cultivate More Good Reviews
Negative online reviews often do a surprising amount of damage to your reputation because they’re fired into a vacuum. You may have a horde of happy, fully-satisfied patients for every one who’s upset with your service. But if that upset patient is the only one who bothers to post a review? You need to make the ratio more realistic, and that means encouraging happy patients to help you out. You probably have tons of patients who would be willing to help you with a positive review, but it simply won’t occur to them to do so unless you suggest it.
Use your professional and personal skills to judge the moment carefully, and don’t ever ask a patient to do something you or she isn’t comfortable with. But when the time is right, feel free to encourage your patients to write online reviews. You may also want to ask for testimonials, positive anecdotes about the patient’s experience that you can post on your website. Testimonials, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations are all powerful tools for enhancing your reputation.
3) Use Professionalism And Common Sense On Negative Comments
For anyone who provides a service these days, negative online reviews are inevitable. Doctors and other medical professionals are, sadly, not exempt. You need to have a constructive, effective approach for dealing with bad reviews and negative comments.
You can use a wide range of tools to notify you whenever your name or that of your organization is mentioned in a new review. This might tempt you to respond to negative reviews immediately. Resist that temptation! Reflect thoroughly on what the customer says and try to get a sense for what she means. Apologize where you can, and make sure thank the patient for sharing their concerns. Make your response public, if possible, to demonstrate that you are open to criticism and willing to make changes where and when you can.
4) Share Unique Content
Your online reputation is an aggregated picture built up from everything said by, about, and to you online. While you can’t take any steps to control things written about you by other people, you can influence the overall picture by saying more yourself.
Creating and sharing positive, professional, useful content will go a long way to boosting your reputation as a trustworthy and knowledgeable medical practitioner. Remember that you have many outlets to spread such content around; in addition to your website, you can and should publish through blogs and social media accounts. A steady stream of positive self-generated content can drown out the inevitable negative mentions you get. You can’t make negative attention disappear entirely, but you can minimize its impact.
5) Live Up To Your Hype
Doctors need to safeguard their online reputations. But it’s also important for them to earn positive reputations the traditional way, by providing the best possible service and advice. You should treat negative online attention just like a face-to-face patient complaint. If it’s possible to draw a useful lesson from the problem and improve your professional services, do so. All the online reputation management in the world won’t protect you if you’ve stopped trying to satisfy your patients the old-fashioned way.
6) Use Social Media
Social media participation is no longer a matter of personal taste for most professionals. As a doctor, you need to recognize the fact that more and more of your patients are going to use social media to learn about and voice opinions about you and your practice. You need to have a sound strategy in place for fostering and protecting an effective professional presence on key social media sites. For most doctors, this means establishing accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If social media is thoroughly outside your wheelhouse and you don’t have the time or inclination to study it, consider hiring a reputation management company to take care of it for you.
7) Make Sure Your Listings Are Current And Accurate
Internet business listings usually start as an automated data dump from a database that might be outdated or incorrect. If your practice is listed based on inaccurate or out-of-date information, that flawed information may cost you patients. Monitor online directories to make sure your organization is portrayed accurately with the correct contact information.
8) Don’t Be Afraid Of Seeking Out Experts
Online reputation management is a tricky job. This is especially true for doctors, who tend to have limited time to devote to it and may face extreme challenges from dissatisfied patients. If you are short on time and struggling to handle the wide range of reputation management tasks before you, there’s nothing wrong with turning the matter over to experts. Let an online reputation management firm ease your burden and put you in control of your reputation.