What are patients saying about your practice online?
Yelp. Google Maps. Angie’s List. Rate MDs. Vitals. HealthGrades. CitySearch. What do all of these websites have in common? Your practice’s online reputation.
Typically, the keywords that generate the most traffic to a plastic surgery website are the physician or practice name. This is due in part to your word of mouth referrals and your offline advertising efforts. A few years ago, making sure that your website was indexing under these searches so that potential patients knew how to contact you and where you were located was your biggest concern. With the onset of online forums for individuals to instantly post their impression of your practice, your practice’s internet strategy just got a little more complicated.
Online user reviews have changed the way that consumers decide to purchase products and services, what movies to watch, where to eat, and even who to choose for their plastic surgery procedure. Having a plan in place to address patient reviews is vital.
How do I find patient reviews affiliated with my practice?
1) Type in your practice name and all aliases of your surgeon’s name on Google and other major search engines.
2) Identify websites that have included your name or practice name. Some of the most common online review portals for patients are: Yelp, Google Maps, Yahoo Local, CitySearch, RateMDs, HealthGrades, and Angie’s List. These websites are becoming increasingly popular with web users due to recent media coverage and advertising campaigns.
How do I handle negative reviews?
1) Don’t be alarmed. Unhappy patients are more likely to comment online than happy patients.
2) Embrace the comments and identify any potential holes in your practice’s customer service levels.
3) Some review sites will allow you to remove a few comments. Most, however, do not.
4) Dilute negative comments by driving your happy patients to these portals.
5) Monitor these websites regularly.
Online reviews are a humble reminder of your practice’s influence on your patient population. Educate your staff about your online reviews so that they understand the ease at which someone can harm your practice’s reputation. Consider every patient a secret shopper or VIP. Take this opportunity to encourage your happy patients to discuss their experience with your practice online and identify potential problematic patients so that you can rectify an issue before it escalates.