Helpful Tips to Protect Your Reputation (Physician Reputation Management)

Not long ago my garage door decided to kick the bucket.  Unfortunately for me my car was trapped inside, I had urgent meetings to go to, and no way to open the one ton door without a small army.  So I grabbed my iPhone, quickly Googled “garage door repair” and within 30 minutes I had a technician at my house and my door was fixed.  That night I went onto Yelp to post a glowing review.  To my surprise, the company was not rated well on Yelp.  As I scrolled down the page I noticed a tiny link at the bottom that said “9 other reviews not recommended.”  Intrigued, I clicked on the link and saw that oddly enough the 9 other reviews that were deemed by Yelp as “unhelpful” all happened to be 5-star ratings. Do you think this suppression of great reviews by Yelp has anything to do with the fact this company doesn’t advertise with them? Over 2000 complaints have been filed with the FTC against Yelp for extortion and libel… unfortunately, the federal government has yet to take any action.

Meantime business continues and a good online rating for your practice can mean the difference between being busy… or quiet.

Instead of waxing lyrical about how unfair the online review system is, here are some tips to help you turn this system into a positive for your practice and to aggressively protect your professional reputation.

5 Physician Reputation Management Tips

  1. Don’t wait to let prospective patients find you online (especially if you have some less-than-favorable reviews).  When they call your office, ask if you can email them an information packet that includes of course a couple of pages of glowing reviews from your patients.
  2. Enough positive reviews will bury negative ones.  Get serious about asking your patients for testimonials, and then recognize them when they do take the time to write one.  Our private clients who are most successful at this ask patients to go online at the time of check-out (typically by handing an iPad over the counter). You can thank your patients for taking the time to complete a review by way of personal letter, card or even Starbucks gift voucher for a nominal value.
  3. Respond as quickly as possible to any postings – positive or negative.  Your practice can rebound beautifully from a negative review as long as you respond to it promptly and show people that you CARE. Prospective patients are savvy enough to know that even great practices occasionally get bad reviews.  It’s how you respond to those bad reviews that really counts.
  4. Make sure your website includes as many patient testimonials as possible.  The importance of this can’t be over emphasized.  When we’re working with a new client it’s one of the first areas we help them with, because it represents a big area of opportunity.
  5. Ensure that someone is looking after your online reputation and proactively monitoring it. It’s a big responsibility and should be delegated with care.  There’s a plethora of companies who claim to specialize in physician reputation management.  Choose very carefully as this is another area of business that the FTC has received a large number of complaints about (after inquiring with physician reputation management company, suddenly a large number of negative reviews mysteriously springs up.) If you have a staff member who’s extremely internet savvy with a passion for communication you can ask them to do it, but be aware that it can take up a significant chunk of time each month.  On average, we spend anywhere from 2 to 20 hours a month monitoring and protecting the reputations of our private clients.

A proactive attitude toward managing your reputation is absolutely vital in the face of unscrupulous rating sites and the occasional bad review. Your reputation is the lifeblood of your practice. Take the bull by the horns and be proactive about protecting your good name!