When a bad review hits your business hard you probably wish you had a plan of action in place instead of reacting.
Why does a proactive vs. reactive model of reputation management pay off big time?
If you are running a busy refractive ophthalmology practice whether you are a solo practitioner and a large multi-specialty comprehensive eye care facility you are going to get a bad review. How you deal with this review will determine how this affects your business. Doing absolutely nothing is a terrible approach that many groups seem ok with. Maybe if you just close your eyes and forget about the Internet this will go a way. After working personally on several reputation management crisis situations I can assure you that doing nothing is a bad approach. Consumers now have more control over your brand and you need to participate in the conversation about your brand. Additionally, Forrester Research completed a study in 2014 analyzing types of media that influencing purchasing decisions and over 55% of consumers had made purchasing decisions based on a review the read on the Internet.
The insanity surrounding online reviews can be maddening to business owners. Many business have major issues with YELP, many have threatened to sue YELP. Yelp has long faced accusations that it manipulates its business-review ratings to sell advertising – five stars for a big ad buy, say, and two stars for a turndown. There’s nothing illegal about that according to the Federal Appeals Court. Your medical practice is not protected from angry consumers and developing a game plan will minimize future reputation damage and lost sales opportunities. We hope that you get some ideas from this article that can be adapted to your practice.
What is Reputation Management?
Before we get started on handling reviews and reputation management we thought it would be best to clearly define it. Reputation management is the understanding or influencing of an individual’s or business’s reputation. It was originally coined as a public relations term, but advancement in computing, the Internet and social media made it primarily an issue of search results. With the advent of online review sites and websites in general the consumer now has more control over physician reputation and brands.
1. Create a Better Bedside Manner Strategy
The first step for a medical practice that has serious online review problems is: Take a hard look at yourself! Put yourself in the shoes of your patients and try to see things from their point of view — how would you feel and respond if you shared their experience with your company? Why create future bad patient reviews when you can change your approach? Maybe you are already perfect on this level and you may still get a bad review. What next?
2. Engage A Negative Review With A Response
It’s very easy to get very mad and take things personally when you receive a bad review. Some people transfer their anger into these review sites and can be very unhappy people; others are people with legitimate feelings. The first thing you should do is relax and not over-react. The last thing you should do is fly off the handle and make yourself look even worse. Next you need to prepare a well thought out response and try to let the customer know you sincerely care about their feedback. When you get a negative review, attempt to contact that customer and see if you can make things right. When you correct your mistakes with a customer good things can potentially come out of this and people will appreciate your extra effort and maybe even remove the bad review.
3. Create a Realm of Positive Reviews by Your Happy patients
Everyday happy patients walk in and out of your office. Each person is an opportunity to hear the good side of your practice. After all you are in the business of fixing eye problems. Your practice has probably even pulled off a few miracle cases. There is nothing wrong about asking your very happy patients for reviews. You can get them submitted by sending an email link to them inside your next newsletter, by giving them postcard to your review us online page or asking to do it right on their cell phone. Your positive reviews will dilute the negative ones. Most normal people would not hold a few negative reviews against you as long as the positive ones were present.
4. Create a Proactive Web Real-Estate Strategy to Push
Back negative Results
A solid reputation management strategy is to create additional websites that can help you with a few keywords. I like creating BIO sites on physicians with their names in the domain and creating microsites on various topics. The more you can control the results on page 1, the more traffic that will come to your websites. Additionally you can push back the negative results
Being Proactive Instead of Reactive…Why?
You have spent years building your ophthalmology practice. You have invested time, sweat, and tears. You have missed dance recitals and baseball games as you have worked hard to build your practice. You finally feel as though you can relax… until the day when the phone calls decrease, the new patients are slower to come and you can’t understand why.