Challenge: Name one product or service you can’t buy or research online.
When you’re in the market for a new product or service, you turn to the Internet. And healthcare is no different: More than seventy percent of people in the United States use the internet to help them choose a doctor. This fact means that online reputation management is critical to your consumers’ decision-making process and, therefore, your brand’s success.
As with interpersonal communication, online reputation management requires listening and responding:
- Listening: Monitor online reviews (aka “social listening”) for getting a pulse on what consumers are saying about your brand
- Responding: Respond to online reviews to answer consumers’ questions and acknowledge their thoughts
Tips for Managing Your Organization’s Online Reviews
The average consumer uses a combination of sources to make a healthcare decision. It starts on Google Search, where they read online reviews. From there, they head to Facebook and hospital and doctor review sites such as Healthgrades.
Consumers sometimes even ask people in their social network about their experiences using Facebook Recommendations, creating buzz. And we’ve all witnessed how willing people are to share their brand experiences, both good and bad. This buzz has the power to drive revenue for healthcare organizations, leading to a 5 to 9 percent change.
We realize that online reputation management is a lot to wrap your arms around. But the truth is that your healthcare organization can’t afford not to manage it. So we have some tips for managing online reviews to boost your brand and bottom line.
Respond to positive AND negative online reviews
You’ve probably heard, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” That saying also applies to online reputation management.
Your organization’s brand is made up of your audience’s perceptions. If your consumers see negative reviews and low ratings with few responses, then their perception will be that you don’t care.
Shoot for responding to 75 percent of positive reviews and 100 percent of negative reviews. For the positive reviews, always hit “like” or “love.” And if it’s funny, don’t shy away from using the “haha” reaction.
Plan, prepare and streamline
Planning and preparing for online reviews and streamlining your responses can help you meet the 75/100 response goal. Create a consumer response matrix that includes templated responses, which:
- Make responding faster and easier by giving you a good foundation for drafting responses, which you’d personalize before sending
- Ensure brand voice and consistency among responses, which helps if you have multiple team members responding to reviews
- Ensure you’re in compliance with legal by obtaining your organization’s legal department’s approval on the drafted responses
Add or claim your Google My Business listings
It’s critical to your brand’s online reputation and success that its information shows up in Google Search and Google Maps. After all, Google is one of the tools consumers use to make healthcare decisions. Simply add or claim your business listing
- Manage how information appears in Google’s properties
- Respond to online reviews on behalf of your organization
Ask for online reviews, and you just might receive
As Michael Scott said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” (We all know that was really Wayne Gretzky, former Canadian professional ice hockey player and head coach.) You can ask for online reviews in couple of different ways, using high-tech and low-tech options:
- High-tech: Send a survey link to patients via text message or email.
- Low-tech: Create cards that feature a survey URL and URLs to your hospital and doctor review sites. Give them to front desk staff to distribute to patients.
The Fault in Our Star Rating
Unfortunately, many healthcare organizations aren’t participating in online reputation management. And if they are, some are using star ratings in their advertising, which is a problem for a few reasons:
- Consumers may perceive this kind of marketing as boastful rather than consumer-focused.
- Star rating awards can change in an instant, causing the ads to become outdated and misleading and requiring frequent updates.
- Star ratings require context that advertising doesn’t always have the space to provide. For example, General Hospital has five stars — but how many reviews? Six or 6,000? And how recently did a consumer review the hospital? Today or two months ago?
In a nutshell, featuring star ratings in advertising can lead to a loss of trust and credibility — the trust and credibility you’re so dedicated to building among patients.
At Ten Adams, we believe in promoting such distinctions by making healing human again. We can also show you how to strengthen your brand using awards .
If you have a low star rating on your hospital and doctor review sites, Facebook or Google pages, don’t let that get you down. Focus on delivering the best care possible. The reviews will follow.
Get a Handle on Online Reviews
Need some help with wrangling online reviews? Our dedicated digital team is here to help you not only manage them but also use them to boost your organization’s brand and bottom line. Email us at email@example.com.