No doctor needs a consultant to tell them that their health care reputation management is important.
But doctors often do need a consultant to help them execute a concrete plan for developing a good online reputation and maintaining it in the face of the inevitable negative reviews.
Here are 3 important tips for managing your health care reputation online.
Tip #1: Above all, do no harm.
When a disgruntled patient posts a bad review on Yelp or elsewhere, it’s natural for you to want to respond. But this needs to be done delicately. By involving yourself in an online argument, speaking in the improper tone, or making legal (or other) threats, you’re exacerbating the situation. All of these are tactics that have been tried and failed.
When responding to a dissatisfied patient, remember to speak courteously and without negative emotion. Try to keep an open mind and see the situation from their point-of-view to come to a positive solution.
Tip #2: Respond to all criticisms.
Not responding at all is also a failed tactic. You need to find a middle ground of engaging with the negative reviewer without sounding defensive or petty.
To that end, it’s sometimes safer to let an office staffer or marketing consultant—someone without a vested, emotional interest—handle the reply.
Regardless of who replies, the patient must be acknowledged and the situation corrected to the best of your ability. Ignoring the criticism and hoping it just goes away will not work, and may even cause more anger and dissatisfaction on the patient’s side.
Tip #3: Bury the bad reviews.
The best way to deal with a bad review is to ensure that it’s drowned out by the good news about your medical practice. Asking happy patients to write a good review is a great place to start.
But there’s more.
You can write guest blog posts for other sites. Write 6-7 of them and when a searcher enters your name into Google, those posts could be what comes up, with the negative review pushed to page 2.
You can also buy your own name as a domain URL. That doesn’t mean you have to build a new website apart from the practice. Just have the new URL point to your profile page, which now has greater SEO value.
These are just a couple of examples, but a multi-faceted, positive strategy is the best way to defuse a negative review and restore your online reputation.