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Online Reviews and the Digital Savvy Patient

Online review sites such as Yelp, Google+ Local, and Angie’s List have changed the way businesses and medical practices conduct business.  A consumer’s positive or negative review can influence the growth or decline of an established business or a business that is hoping to build a solid foundation.   As online review platforms gain more and more tread as a public swaying tool, the necessity for maintaining your online reputation becomes more important.

A recent study conducted by economists Michael Anderson and Jeremy Magruder of the University of California Berkley concluded that a half-star improvement in an online review can drive as much as 30-49 percent more local traffic.  Anderson and Magruder also concluded that “although social media sites and forums may not generate the financial returns for which investors yearn – they play an increasingly important role in how consumers judge the quality of goods and services.”

So what does the digital savvy patient and online reputation mean for you and your medical practice and how can you be proactive?  The most obvious insight is that digital patients are Googling and Yelping you way before stepping foot into your office or establishment.  A snarky or negative online review that has not been rectified can immediately send a potential client running for the hills, while a glowing review helps to reassure a potential patient they are making the right decision.

By monitoring your practices online reviews you can moderate and stay in touch with how people are responding to their experience at your business.  If a negative review pops up, the sooner you respond and attempt to remedy the problem, the sooner an edited or modified review can be posted.

There are many ways to have your practices reviews delivered to your email box or RSS (Rich Site Summary).  You can subscribe to individual online review sites and have them delivered to your RSS.  While this is fairly easy to do, it is a tedious practice, and as new sites pop up, it may take a great deal of time before they show up on your radar.  Another great way to gain insight into how your practice is being reviewed on review sites is by signing up for an online reputation management service.  There are a variety of services available, some better than others.   Here at MDWebPro, we offer a feel online reputation management tool.  The tool is constantly being updated as the internet grows to include new review sites.  You can find the Reputation Management Tool on the MDWebPro site.

How you manage your online reputation is up to you, but as the digital patient becomes more and more vocal, the more others begin to listen.

How do deal with negative reviews on Yelp, Google+ Local, and Angie’s List?  Do you use a reputation management tool?  We’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, send us a message on Twitter @MDWebPro, let us know on Facebook, or on Google +.

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