As a practitioner, your (online) reputation is everything.

Consider this:

    • 40% of people choose a doctor based solely on his/her online reviews.
    • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

The impact of your online reputation is immeasurable.

If your ratings aren’t high, you’re losing out on new patients, plain and simple. Often, the picture painted by your Yelp reviews isn’t an accurate representation of your practice and how it operates.

We all agree that negative reviews are destructive and sometimes unfair, but have you noticed that it’s mostly the unhappy patients writing reviews about you online?

Due to a lackluster 2-star average rating left by displeased patients, a prospect patient will look at your Yelp or HealthGrades page and instantly click to your higher-rated competitor down the street, because who trusts a physician with a 2-star rating?

Source: Software Advice

But where are your happy patients? They’re clearly the majority, so why aren’t they writing about their positive experiences online?

There’s a very rational explanation for this: a doctor visit isn’t sexy. It’s personal and either out of routine or out of necessity. A regular visit to a physician isn’t like dining at that buzzing new French restaurant on Main Street – in almost every positive scenario, it just isn’t worth talking about.

Human psychology dictates that unhappy patients (the minority) will outlet their negative experiences in the most visible way possible: on a public stage. On the other hand, the satisfied patients (the majority) will go about their day without talking about their doctor’s visit because it was exactly what they expected. Nothing less, nothing more.

That’s the real reason your online review scores suck. Your unhappy patients are more vocal than your happy ones, and it’s tipping the scale against you.

Fortunately, it’s easy to reverse your negative-review misfortune and get a leg up on your competition. Here’s the key to regaining control of your online reputation: be proactive – never reactive.

A Reactive Practice

Scenario 1

      1. A patient visits your practice for a routine checkup.
      2. He has an overall satisfactory experience.
      3. He leaves until next time. No review was written.

Scenario 2

    1. A patient with a sprained ankle needs immediate attention. She comes into your urgent care center and is greeted with a 2.5 hour wait.
    2. Everything from then on is satisfactory, but…
    3. The patient leaves with a sour taste in her mouth and writes a 2-star review on Yelp about the “unacceptably long wait” (sound familiar?) and the “sheer pain she was in.”
    4. You react to the situation after-the-fact, when the negative review has been published.

 

A Proactive Practice

Scenario 1

      1. A patient visits your practice for a routine checkup.
      2. He has an overall satisfactory experience, and leaves until next time.
      3. Twenty minutes after leaving, he receives a text message asking him about his experience. He rates it a 10 out of 10, at which point he’s asked to write a review on his favorite review media site – and does.

Scenario 2

      1. A patient with a sprained ankle needs immediate attention. She comes into your urgent care center and is greeted with a 2.5 hour wait.
      2. Everything from then on is satisfactory, but the patient leaves with a sour taste in her mouth.
      3. Twenty minutes after leaving she receives a text message asking to rate her experience. She rates it a measly 2 out of 10 and leaves a comment about the “sheer pain she was in while waiting for almost three hours” and how she “will never return to this urgent care again.”
      4. The practice manager is notified immediately, and reaches out to her directly to talk things out. The patient appreciates the manager going the extra mile and says she’ll return in case of another injury. She doesn’t post a negative review.

See the difference between the two? A proactive practice will address two pain points in a single action:

      1. Get positive reviews from happy patients (the majority).
      2. Retain unhappy patients (the minority) by performing immediate service recovery, eliminating the chance for a negative review.

By being proactive, your positive online reviews will dominate, portraying your business accurately instead of the distorted reality painted by numerous negative reviews. You won’t have to worry about the next negative review that chips away at your practice’s reputation – you’ll be confident that happy visits are converted into positive reviews, and negative visits are interpreted as opportunities to improve your patient care. You’ll be in full control of your online reputation and your patient care.

But if you’re a reactive practice? Well, you’ll have to settle with the hand you’re dealt.

 

Want to get your happy patients to talk more online? Learn more about how RepuGen can help here.

Ajay Prasad is a serial entrepreneur, a business strategist, and a digital marketing expert with almost three decades of experience. He has built this innovative online management software from scratch, incorporating multifaceted artificial intelligence (AI) which has allowed for rapid growth, maximum outreach and a 95% user satisfaction rate.
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The Real Reason Your Online Reviews Might Suck [Healthcare]
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The Real Reason Your Online Reviews Might Suck [Healthcare]
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Ever wonder why your practice gets so many more negative reviews than positive reviews? In this blog, we'll explore how the human psyche is responsible for your unfavorable online reputation.
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RepuGen
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