Websites are like storefronts — you can show your potential clients what you know and what you offer, but it’s no longer enough to get them to actually walk through your front door. Without online reviews, SEO, and local search results, your storefront may as well be at the end of a cold, dark alley.
A comprehensive web presence goes beyond just a website. Medical practices are missing countless opportunities to attract new customers when their web presence is disjointed. A dormant social media page here, or an unanswered negative review there could have dire consequences to your bottom line. Conversely, consumers could be missing out on finding the best possible products or services that meet their needs when Google searches don’t lead them down the right path.
Consumer surveys in recent years have shown an incredible reliance upon the internet for health care information. Patients are choosing providers because of their online presence and eliminating potential providers due to a lacking or negative presence, making your online brand image critical to your practice’s success. Here are 5 reasons why your medical practice can’t let its online reputation go unmanaged.
1. The customer journey starts with a search
Patients faced with a health care need almost always begin their medical journey online, typically with a question:
- “Who is the best orthopedic surgeon near me?”
- “Who is a knee surgeon near me rated four stars and accepts Cigna?”
- “What kind of doctor should I see for hip pain?”
- “Who is the top-rated cardiologist near me?”
Authority in local searches is essential for medical practices these days, but getting there takes effort beyond SEO. Once your potential customers find you, they’re going to dig a little deeper to determine what others think about your service or expertise. The quality and frequency of your online reviews can affect your position in search engine results. With effective online reputation management, your improved authority and credibility leads to more happy customers.
2. Consumers care about your online reputation
Your online reviews speak volumes about your medical practice. And if you think you’re in the clear because you only have a few reviews and they’re all positive, think again. Online reviews can trigger all kinds of red flags in the minds of health care patients. Are there enough reviews across various review sites and social networks? Do they appear authentic? Did the practice publicly address concerns in the negative reviews, or at least appear empathetic to the customer’s complaints?
Advice Media research shows that online reviews are increasingly important in a post-COVID world. The numbers don’t lie:
- 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- Customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
- 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
Simply put, you need reviews — a lot of reviews, and especially a consistent stream of recent reviews. Your web presence depends on positive content if you’re going to grow a successful reputation and brand identity.
3. You must understand your clients’ experiences
Managing online reviews isn’t just about positioning your practice in the best light, it’s about truly understanding and responding to your clients’ experiences. By being an active listener, you can evolve and adapt your practice to meet your customers’ needs and expectations, all while reaping the benefits of their glowing feedback in the public digital space.
You should also respond to both positive and negative online reviews to show customers that you care about their experiences, good or bad.
4. Build more positive reviews and attract more clients
Medical practices that proactively request reviews enjoy higher ratings than those that wait for unprompted reviews. That’s what Saltz Plastic Surgery learned the hard way before seeking Advice Media’s Reputation Management products. Starting out with just 10 online reviews, Advice Media helped the practice grow its online reviews nearly twentyfold to 177 thanks to its Review Power product.
However, while automating your review management is a critical component of your practice’s success, it’s important to remember that this type of management still requires consistent effort.
Saltz Plastic Surgery sought the highest possible response rate to their review requests. They tested sending requests immediately after the appointment, at the end of each day to each patient that day, and every Friday to each patient that week. This analytical strategy and involvement helped them grow not only their reviews but views on search (+22%), views on map (+81%) unique users (+40%), web sessions (+40%), and website clicks (+12.4%). Their consistency, combined with Advice Media’s Review Power, is what delivered such impressive results.
5. Protect and improve your reputation
Actively soliciting customer reviews helps your medical practice avoid a disproportionate number of complaints relative to positive comments. That’s because many reviewers are motivated to write a review after a bad experience as a way to warn others. It’s estimated that unhappy customers will likely tell 9 to 15 people about their experience. Meanwhile, happy customers only tell about 4 to 6 people, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs.
There are two sides to every story. With online customer reviews, your customers are sharing their perspectives about how you performed. By monitoring your practice’s reviews, you can ensure you’re responding in a way that boosts your online reputation. Advice Media Reputation Management helps clients respond to bad reviews, which helps you avoid an emotional tit-for-tat exchange viewable by the public.
As online reviews have proved their staying power, it’s increasingly important to focus on this area of your online reputation by managing it. With an integrated strategy and the technology to help, you can grow your online reputation into a powerful arm of your marketing strategy. For small- to medium-sized medical practices, reputation management can even become your entire marketing strategy. Don’t miss valuable opportunities by failing to actively manage your online reviews. Advice Media’s Review Power product can help grow your online reviews into a tool that boosts demand for your services. Learn more at advicemedia.com/reputation-management.