How to Improve Your Practice’s Reputation Online and Beyond!

Practis Blog
growing a medical practice by using good patient reviews

It’s no secret that your practice’s reputation can be a driver of your patient acquisition and retention. Good reviews and a great overall sentiment about your practice can lead to natural success, but that’s not all built online. In fact, your practice’s reputation is far beyond that. Here are a few ways you can continue to improve your reputation both online and beyond!

Differentiate Your Practice From Your Providers

Did you know that many times the patient journey starts before they hit your medical website? When managing, claiming, or creating listings, it’s sometimes a shock for providers to find out that they should be separated from their healthcare practice for reputation purposes. That is, your practice should have a listing and a provider should have a second, separate listing. There is a great reason, though, and it’s all built around how people search for healthcare and what they might be looking for.

For a typical medical practice, people are often searching for the services you offer, the distance to your practice from their residence, and the overall feeling that one gets while in your office. When looking at healthcare practice reviews, people expect to see things about your actual building, the front office staff, and perhaps the cleanliness of the practice.

When it comes to providers, patients are more interested in the skills and professionalism of doctors. When looking at reviews, people expect to see comments evaluating a provider’s bedside manner, how well they explained procedures and services, and maybe how well the physician followed up after the appointment.

As you can see, both experiences are vastly different. By splitting out these two search types you are actually helping to meet the patient’s search intent. If you or your office happens to receive a negative review for some reason, the other will not be impacted by that and your respective reputation stays intact.

Ensure You Update Third-Party Listing Profiles

To make things even easier for patients as they search for reviews, ensure that you are updating your profiles on common listing sites for healthcare providers

This could include:

  • WebMD
  • Healthgrades
  • Google Business Profiles
  • Bing Places
  • LinkedIn
  • And more

Empower Patients to Share Feedback for Enhanced Quality of Care

Asking your patients to leave an online review can feel like a big step, and it’s not uncommon for providers to feel a bit reticent. But think about it like this: if you’re collecting paper reviews (and paper reviews only), all you’re doing is hiding all of your great reviews.

That’s a missed opportunity to boost your reputation and attract new patients.

Effortless Review Collection: Streamline the Process with Review Management Software

Some healthcare practices and physicians hesitate asking for reviews because of the time involved in collecting testimonials. It can feel like getting reviews might become a full-time job in and of itself. That’s why it’s useful to search for tools, solutions, and partners that make review gathering and collating easier.

Practis can help turn managing your reviews (and reputation) into an automated and easy process – so you can think less about collecting reviews and more about taking care of patients. Talk to us about review management software today.

What are the Benefits of Positive Patient Reviews?

It’s no surprise that positive reviews are good for business, but sometimes it’s hard to understand why they are important. Positive reviews impact your clinic – and your reputation – in a number of very concrete ways. These include:

  • Improving the overall patient experience and, as a result, the quality of life patients experience after their procedures.
  • Making it easier for patients to find the right physicians for their needs. Ultimately, this can lead to improved outcomes for patients.
  • Patients are more likely to recommend your skills and your services to other patients. When patients become brand ambassadors for your clinic, it’s easier to grow your practice.
  • Patients tend to feel less stressed when they are confident they’re going to receive great care and service. (And patients that are less stressed will tend to have a better overall experience.)

Reviews can help set the stage for a positive patient experience, which can itself lead to more positive reviews (especially when those positive experiences are recorded by a robust reputation management process). In this way, positive reviews can quickly become a self-reinforcing positive cycle.

How to Generate Positive Reviews

Unfortunately, unless leaving a positive review is easy, most patients will only leave reviews when they have a negative experience. Successfully generating positive testimonials (and a more accurate brand reputation) takes a concerted effort and an intentional approach. There are a number of tactics many healthcare practices will use, including the following:

  • Send out requests for positive reviews in a time-sensitive way. You’ve probably received emails like this in the past, asking you how your experience was. If you wait too long (or send them out too soon), you may not receive adequate or accurate responses.
  • Make any request for a positive review concise and easy on the patient. Your patients are busy – make sure your requests honor that.
  • Use a process that makes patients feel seen and heard on an individual level. Make them feel as though their feedback really truly matters. Patients are far less likely to respond if they feel like no one even reads what they have to say.
  • Ensure that your review-based communication is clear, encouraging, and supportive. It’s an extension of the patient experience, so you want to make sure that all of your values are included in your review interactions.

What is the Best Way to Respond to Online Patient Reviews?

Personalize Your Responses

Templates are fast and can save time, there’s no doubt about that. But if you’re really looking to build your reputation, personalization is key both online and internally within your practice.

When responding to a review online (and in your office), you always want to make sure you’re following steps to abide by HIPAA rules. You also want to make sure patients can see that you’ve taken the time to read their testimonials. Not to mention, others that are looking at your reviews will see your response and know that you’re engaged and appreciate the feedback. 

Tips for Responding to Negative Reviews

Of course, not every review is going to be positive. Negative reviews happen – but they don’t have to translate into a hit to your reputation. If you can show that you are understanding and responsive, negative reviews can make you look even better to new patients. Many practices will use the following techniques to effectively “disarm” negative reviews:

  • Set aside time to read the reviews. This is especially important for physicians and office managers. It’s important to know what patients are saying, and why.
  • Take the time to understand the review. Discover the context in which the review was written and make sure you understand the patient’s experience. 
  • Respond promptly to any review, but especially to negative ones. This will help you appear attentive and responsive (and it can help make the patient feel better about their experience). Again, remember to follow all HIPAA rules and guidelines. Without explicitly stating they were a patient, reiterate your policies, if necessary.
  • Take patient feedback into account. If you receive multiple reviews stating that your bedside manner could use a bit of work or that your practice waiting room could use some redecorating, you could likely benefit by making a few changes. In other words, it’s important to act on patient feedback. 
  • Invite patients to contact you at any time to discuss this further.

Internally, it’s important that you interface directly with the patient. That one patient can tell ten of their friends that your practice handled the situation in a way they didn’t appreciate, and even if you lose a percentage of those people, that’s a good deal of potential patients you miss out on.

Even with online reviews, it’s sometimes best to just call the patient directly to discuss. You’d be surprised at how easily these things are resolved. Remember, people don’t often understand how to display emotion via a keyboard!

Your reputation is not only what people say, but how you react. By working towards amicable resolutions, your practice will develop a stronger reputation in the long run.

Showcase Your Success with Positive Testimonials on Your Website

It may feel like bragging, but it’s important for patients to see your wins, achievements, awards, and positive reviews. For example, you don’t necessarily need to plaster your new award all over every surface of your office, but you should be able to present it online, and perhaps at your front desk or the waiting room. 

Selecting your best patient testimonials and placing them on your website, social media, and in your office is also a quick and easy way to showcase the results and experiences that patients value.

How to Optimize Your Website to Showcase Positive Reviews

Any positive testimonial on your website is going to be good for your practice. Those benefits will only increase when you optimize your website to make the most effective use of your testimonials.

According to BrightLocal, 76% of patients will likely regularly read online reviews. Which means that three-quarters of your patients visit your website before ever making an appointment. It’s easy to see how the time you put into optimizing testimonials on your website will be worth it.

Testimonials on your website should be:

  • Appealing and easy to read.
  • Optimized for search engine success (you want patients to find you organically).
  • Make testimonials easy to view and understand. Patients should be able to see their own experiences in the reviews you use.
  • Set up a clear and actionable Call to Action (CTA). You want users who are encouraged by these testimonials to enter your lead funnel easily – which means making it easy for them to contact your clinic.

Don’t be shy about telling the world what patients are saying or how well you’re doing. If you don’t display these things and just wait for it to happen organically, people might just focus on a few bad reviews (or assume that no news equals bad news), which can hurt your reputation immediately.

After all, 80% of customers will only trust businesses that have a four-star or higher rating. That means low ratings can hurt both your practice and your reputation. And 90% of consumers will check reviews for a business – just like your practice – before making an appointment (even when they have a referral). This means reviews are key to your success and to the customer experience.

Get Some Help!

It’s unlikely that you can do all this alone, especially while running a healthcare practice. Imagine an easy-to-use process that can help you generate (and highlight) positive patient reviews, manage negative ones, and give you extra time to spend with your patients. Reach out to Practice Growth Solutions from Practis to improve your online reputation today. We’re here to help you stand out from the crowd and consistently grow your practice.