Online Reputation Management for Practices

By: Mahnoor Awan
Reputation management helps shape the perception of your practice online, by helping curate the information you put out about the practice and the industry. Managing online reviews and how you respond to them is core to reputation management, but everything from social media management to SEO links back to the process of managing your reputation online.

It's often said that the best form of advertising is word of mouth. Because of the Internet, 'word of mouth' has another platform - review modules on social media and other platforms. As people have both the opportunity and often incentive to relate their personal experiences, whether negative or positive, businesses need to take some time to curate or help respond to some of the information posted on the Internet.

When it comes to dental and health care practices, patients may have specific expectations, anxieties, and conceptions about staff, procedures, and other services. Many potential patients read reviews before selecting the practice to use for themselves and their families. They see reviews as a potential source of information in making that determination. If patients are fair and comprehensive while leaving reviews, that should come across. Unfortunately that may usually not be the case, and as a result, many practitioners are compelled to monitor their reputations.

Quite often, practices choose not to build an online presence because of the hassle of not only managing it inconsistently, but also the fear of getting a bad review or interaction that may be difficult to tackle. Keep in mind though, whether your practice chooses to build an online presence or not, customers have access to third party platforms like Yelp and Google reviews to leave reviews however they like it. Wouldn't it be better to build and manage an online presence to help tackle all reviews and not let them negatively impact your practice? Additionally, not having online reviews mean you could be missing out on potential new patients, or losing potentials to another practice with well curated reviews.

If you do have an online presence, or plan to build one, here are a few tips to manage your reputation online.

  • Monitor the Review Sites
  • Sometimes, when a patient has an amazing or a dreadful experience, they are inclined to leave an online review. Today, there are multiple online review sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, RateMDs, Vitals, and HealthGrades. Make sure you monitor these sites to ensure that customers are not falsely accusing your practice or leaving ingenuine reviews. It also allows you to see what your customers are appreciating about your practice and what is lacking, so you can improve upon it. UpOnline offers reputation management tools that help you track reviews from multiple review sites. Contact us for more details on how we can help you monitor these sites.

    Further, monitor your social media profiles to see if any of the patients are starting conversations about your practice. It is important to keep an eye on what is being said so you can jump in the conversations to show that you care about what people think about your practice, willing to take their views into consideration, and solve any issues that they might be having.

  • Reply to Reviews
  • It is more than just monitoring reviews. What happens when you come across an overwhelmingly sweet review, or worse, an extremely hateful one. In the case of a negative review, your first response may be to respond in a defensive manner, or end up with an argument with the patient. Or you could simply just ignore them. Both options could be equally damaging for your practice's reputation. Best practices show that the key is to respond to these reviews in a polite and professional manner.

    Related Article: 5 Ways to Publicly Respond to a Bad Online Review

  • Encourage Your Patients for Feedback
  • What's the best way to tackle or minimize bad online ratings for your practice? An abundance of better reviews! It should be a bare minimum that your front desk should ask patients to give feedback about their experience. At UpOnline, we have tools that allow your practice to send an email to your patients within 24 hours of their appointment, asking them for their feedback and how your practice did. Patients have the option to leave a review on any of the review sites of their choice, or some reviews could be sent only to your office.
Other important things to keep in mind when managing your online reputation are:

  • SEO rankings - quite often, the starting point for some potential patients is a Google search when looking for a practice to choose.
  • Consistency with your social media posts - it shows how involved your practice is with the patients.
Related Article: Why Your Practice Should Prioritize Consistency

Online reputation is becoming an integral part of customer service experience, especially if your patients or customers are heavily involved in online mediums. If you are looking to manage your online presence, contact UpOnline to learn more about reputation management.