Medical Doctor Reviews used to be confined to word-of-mouth while standing in line at the grocery store or waiting in the club for the next tee time. That kind of review was passive and generally involved someone being asked what they thought of a particular doctor. That has all changed. Today, a growing number of potential clients are actively researching medical doctor reviews online. Dedicated review sites like Health Grades, Vitals. RealSelf, and RateMds.com offer multiple opportunities for patients to leave comments, both positive and negative, that can have a definite impact on your on-line reputation.
A medical practice thrives on a reputation built on the foundation of referrals from satisfied clients. With on-line reviews, that foundation can either be made stronger in a shorter time or become damaged just as quickly. This means you have to take a proactive stance in dealing with medical doctor reviews about you and you practice. Here are three actions you can take to ensure these reviews work in your favor.
First you need to know what is being said about you online. Start using a free reviews tracking tool such as our so you are made aware of any new reviews posted about you.
Then the most proactive thing you can do to encourage positive reviews is to have a moderated review page on your web site. This a front line of defense against comments that might be damaging. Since these kinds of reviews are moderated by you, there is time to respond to a patient’s concerns with immediacy. When negatives are handled quickly, fairly, and positively they often soon become positives. What patients generally want is to be noticed and heard.
Beyond your site the next best thing you can do is have a link on your site that directs visitors to your Google Places page which also provides an option to leave a review. Be aware that older patients are more likely to respond to direct requests to give a review while those under 40 or more likely to reject direct appeals for reviews. This is yet another reason to leave ample opportunities on your site for visitors to connect via social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Never ask for a good review because it will work against you and because that isn’t necessary. Once you have built a good relationship with a client all you have to do is ask if they might consider writing a brief review of your practice. Assure them of their value as a client and how much you would appreciate their input. 99% of these reviews will be positive and, better yet, genuinely positive.
There must be a planned and consistent plan for reading every review about you and your practices that you can find. The only thing that will damage your on-line reputation more than a bad review is failure to respond quickly and professionally! When the review is positive, thank the commenter. On those occasions when a review is negative, thank the person for taking the time to comment and assure them you will contact them to see how the issue can resolved. Do not try to answer particular charges on-line but instead contact the reviewer personally and work to repair the relationship. Many times when disgruntled clients are heard and dealt with in this way they end up leaving positive reviews in the future.
A Final Word: Whatever you do, avoid what is sometimes called astroturfing. This is the practice of artificially creating a large number of positive reviews by employing staff and other to post comments. One plastic surgery clinic in New York was recently fined $300,000 for “deceptive commercial practices, false advertising, and fraudulent and illegal conduct.” The practice could have saved a lot of money and its reputation by simply taking the long review and following the steps already discussed.