Restaurants know it. So do contractors. So do carpet cleaners.
Not long ago, sites like Angie’s List and Yelp popped up, and a whole new way of reaching out to customers was born. They quickly learned that ratings and review sites could bring in a valuable customer base. It could also be the death of a business.
And so they learned to play the game.
Yet what is now common practice in certain industries is also pushing the limits and feeding into other trades as well. Doctors, hospitals, medical practices, and other health-related businesses are suddenly finding themselves at the mercy of rating sites. And while individual sites like Yelp can rank health related practices, sites like RateMDs, HealthGrades and Vitals are also taking the lead.
Trying to find a new doctor can be difficult a difficult task. Do a search and you’ll quickly form a list that can include hundreds of names. How do you choose? Rating sites make the process a little easier. You can add the criteria that matter most to you, and with a click of a mouse, be rewarded with a shortlist that meets your standards. Then start reading. Ranks and reviews can quickly paint a picture of how well a physician meets your standards. They will tell you about the services they provide.
For a consumer, that’s great news. But what about a physician or medical practice? Because we all know satisfied customers often don’t share their commentary as much as the disgruntled. Review sites are often a place for patients to vent their frustrations. And the more they emit, the more it can damage your reputation. You can’t ignore it. It won’t go away.
What can a medical practice do?
Provide a way for patients to address their concerns and encourage them to use it. Patients turn to review sites when they feel they aren’t being listened to and have no other way to vent their frustrations. Never hide how you handle questions and complaints. Build it into your patient contacts, including on your website, in your email campaigns, and on your patient portals.
Develop a strong patient procedure policy. Yes, we all want the perfect patient; but we have to deal with all of them, the good and the bad. The more you plan for the best and worst case scenario, the more you can defuse situations before they blow up.
Choose the right technology. Patients are online all the time, operating between desktop and mobile applications. They know how to get what they want. Don’t fight technology, The easier you make it for them, the more they will use it. And connect with you no matter what the issue.
Take control over your online persona. Simply ignoring it doesn’t work anymore. You have to monitor what’s being said about you. And thanks to many apps and programs now available, you can easily oversee it regularly.
Technology isn’t something you can push aside and wish it away. It’s there, impacting your business no matter how much you use it. Have questions? We can help you find the right answers for you.
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