What’s the Point of Reputation Management?
Charlie, a charismatic high school freshman, is standing amongst a group of newly-made friends in the middle of the cafeteria. In only their third week of school, he and his new-found buddies are telling jokes and stories, laughing obnoxiously – you know, trying to one-up each other and establish the dynamic of what is sure to be their “group” for the next four years. Not wanting to miss his opportunity to get a laugh and make a name for himself, the normally polite and respectful Charlie decides to share a crude joke he heard the other day; one certain to be a hit with “the guys.” However, just as he gets to the punchline, by walks Julie.
Julie, arguably the school’s most popular junior and future shoe-in for SGA president, stops dead in her tracks, completely disgusted by the words she just heard uttered from Charlie’s mouth. Falling on her ears out of context (well, even in context; after all, it was a crude joke), the words were certainly sexist, flirting with racist, and downright vile.
Now, if you knew Charlie, you’d know he’s not sexist, he’s not racist, and, more often than not, he’s courteous and mindful of others. Too bad Julie didn’t get that impression. Instead (and rightfully so), she stormed off with the intent of warning all her friends of Charlie’s mere existence – an action that will surely spread widely throughout other circles via word-of-mouth and consequently ruin his prospects of dating for years to come.
How Does This Relate to You?
Let’s say your practice is Charlie, and a disgruntled patient of yours is Julie. For whatever reason, your patient wasn’t satisfied with their experience at your office, so they took to online review outlets – such as Google+ or Yelp – to express their disdain, just as Julie went to her friends to express hers.
So there it is: a glaring negative review sitting atop a list of excellent reviews written about your practice. What do you think prospective patients are going to read first? Just as Charlie will be hard-pressed to get a date, you may have a tough time getting potential patients to look past this first impression. Enter reputation management.
Reputation management is a valuable component of success, whether it’s the overall success of your practice or simply the success of Charlie’s dating life. As the impact and reach of word-of-mouth has significantly expanded with the number of online patient reviews and social networking channels available, reputation management is imperative to preserving the integrity of your professional brand.
Without reputation management, you run the risk of giving patients a wrong first impression; however, like most things in life, there’s a right way to manage your online reputation, as well as a wrong way. Be sure to stay tuned for our next post in which we’ll expand upon both.