7 Rules of Responding to Patients Online

How do you respond to patient questions or comments on Facebook? Do you have a system in place to ensure your fans and followers receive the information they want and know they are appreciated? Following a recent article on Mashable titled “7 Rules for Responding to Customers Online”, we wondered if our readers had the basic rules in place to keep their social patients happy.

To help you get the ball rolling and keep your social media community engaged, we’ve adapted the list. Check it out below, then visit our Facebook page and let us know what has been working for you, and what hasn’t.

Be Timely

They’re watching. While you’re simply responding to one patient at a time, your entire community is aware of the response, especially how long it takes to answer questions. We all want what we want when we want it. To continue to strengthen your online relationships with your patients, make sure someone is responding to any inquiry with a sense of urgency.

While you shouldn’t feel the need to respond to every comment, be timely and consistent with your responses so patients know you are engaged. Doing so will further inspire your patients to do the same.

Don’t Auto Respond

You’ve seen the stream of comments and posts. Your patients can easily identify automatic, robotic responses. Encourage your social media champion to offer genuine, thoughtful responses, and again, your patients will follow suit.

Let the Experts Handle It

Who in your practice knows your patients best? Who do the patients look forward to seeing and interacting with? Chances are, patients will respond in similar fashion to this personality online. Of course this person will need to have some extra time to tend to the online community, but as long as they are social media savvy and let their personality come through, you can expect patients’ virtual relationship with your practice to grow stronger.

Don’t Forget About HIPAA

This one should not come as a surprise, never share personal information online. Always be aware of the platform and keep it simple. If your patient wants to address some concern or question further, encourage them to schedule an appointment or contact you over the phone.

In the case of negative comments or reviews, don’t be afraid to engage with the patient. Remain calm and rational, and again, be genuine and answer the patient’s questions as best as you can. If the issue remains, encourage them to contact you to resolve the issue.

Keep it Short

The attention span is virtually non… Wait, what was I just talking about?

If you want to connect with your patients on the various social media channels, keep it short, keep it simple. Give them just enough to keep them interested and make sure they want to return to your profile.

Mind Your Manners

Please and thank you go a long way in the social world. If you want your community to read a post or fill out a survey, ask politely and don’t forget to thank them. If a patient offers a poignant link or regularly contributes comments, thank them for it.

If It’s Broke, Fix It

If you see the same issue continue to surface, make a concerted effort to answer or fix the problem. This doesn’t mean you need to have an instant solution, just that you need to let your community know that you are aware of the issue and are working to correct it.

Remember, they’re all watching. Fixing an issue for one patient shows the rest of your community you are attentive and care about their satisfaction and support.

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