Online Reputation Management for Doctors
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Online Reputation Management for Doctors
Curated and Written Articles to help Physicians and Other Healthcare Providers manage reputation online. Tips on Social media, SEO, Online Review Managements and Medical Websites
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Online Complaints? Blame Customer Service, Not Doctors’ Care 

Online Complaints? Blame Customer Service, Not Doctors’ Care  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

A nationwide study has uncovered what drives patients to write glowing, or scathing, reviews on the Internet. For a study of online doctor reviews coast to coast, Vanguard Communications developed special software to analyze Google+ reviews of doctors, group medical practices, clinics and hospitals.

 

The software analyzed 34,748 patients’ reviews of their physicians throughout the United States and determined that customer service is the leading distinction between highly rated and poorly rated doctors.

 

After compiling data containing the words patients used in describing their experiences with medical practices, the software determined the most common phrases associated with each review star level. An analysis of these most common phrases revealed that an incredible 96 percent of patient complaints are customer-service related, while a mere 4 percent complain about quality of care or misdiagnosis.

Summary of findings

  • 96 percent of patient complaints are customer service related
  • 4 percent are healthcare related

Of the customer service complaints:

  • 53 percent of complaints are related to communication
  • 35 percent of complaints are related to long wait times/waiting rooms
  • 12 percent of complaints are related to practice staff
  • 2 percent of complaints are related to billing

Of the compliments:

  • 40 percent of five-star compliments are related to bedside manner
  • 28 percent of five-star compliments are related to practice staff
  • 24 percent of five-star compliments are related to communication

The reviewers:

  • 61 percent gave five stars, producing 69 percent of content
  • 5 percent gave four stars, producing 5 percent of content
  • 3 percent gave three stars, producing 4 percent of content
  • 9 percent gave two stars, producing 11 percent of content
  • 23 percent gave one star, producing 12 percent of content

Of the common negative review phrasings:

  • Poor communication is the most offensive practice for a medical office. Fifty-three percent cite communications frustrations, such as “to get an appointment … ” and “I was told that … ”
  • Long wait times can obliterate a practice’s reputation. Thirty-five percent complain about wait times and waiting rooms, such as “in the waiting room for” and “an hour and a half”
  • Churlish staff can also drag down reviews. Twelve percent relate to practice staff, such as “the doctors are great but … ” and “the rest of the staff … ”
  • Only two percent are billing related, the most common being “I had to pay … ”

Regarding the complete list of review phrasings:

  • The great majority of reviews are positive. Sixty-one percent reviewers gave five stars, 5 percent gave four stars, 3 percent gave three stars, 9 percent gave two stars, and 23 percent gave one star.
  • Happy patients are the most verbose. Sixty-nine percent of content was written by five star reviewers, 12 percent by four star reviewers, 4 percent by three star reviewers, 11 percent by two star reviewers and 12 percent by one star reviewers.

Of the common positive review phrasings:

  • Patients are impressed with outstanding bedside manner. Forty percent of five star reviewers gush on their doctor with phrases such as “took the time to … ” and “answered all my questions”
  • Patients love staff who love patients. Twenty-eight percent of five star reviewers compliment the staff with phases such as “the staff is friendly and…” and “went out of their way to … ”
  • The happiest patients keep good communication at the top of their list. Twenty-four percent use phrasings such as “made me feel very comfortable” and “and made me feel … ”

Actions doctors can take

While some patients may incorrectly blame doctors for a misdiagnosis, this appears to a very small minority. The large majority of patients are eager to compliment their doctors. Complaints could largely be eliminated by medical practices if they implemented the following measures.

  • Better communication: Practices must keep their patients informed. Patients can tolerate surprising medical results, but they do not tolerate surprises elsewhere (long wait times, difficulty booking appointments, difficulty obtaining test results). Keep your patients informed! If wait times are going to be above 15 minutes, let the patient know. Doctors should ask the patient if all questions have been answered or if there is anything more they can do for them. Staff should do the same.
  • Better organization: Find the most organized individual you can and hire them. You need to have someone on your team who can ensure things are kept in order so that when patients ask questions, you can spend your time answering them rather than hunting for the answer. While long wait times may be unavoidable at times, better communication and organization can minimize this complaint. Automatic appointment reminders and online scheduling may help reduce large variations in daily patient load.
  • Better disposition: Cheerful and empathetic staff can help ensure patients feel as comfortable as possible. While a great team can’t solve all problems, it can help a good practice become great.

Study methodology

The software utilized the Google Places API to obtain listings that were categorized as a “Doctor” business type. Upon cataloging these listings, the software again utilized the Google Place API to obtain all available reviews associated with the respective listings.

At the time of execution, the software obtained a catalog of 34,748 reviews. A frequency analysis was then computed for the body of review text associated with each star rating (one through five) to determine the most common four- and five-word phrasings.

Analysts used these most frequent phrasings to assess patient review patterns. For the purposes of the analysis, each frequent phrasing was assigned one of four primary patterns:

  1. Customer service – reviewers’ phrasing references customer service (ex: “made me feel very comfortable”)
  2. Quality of care – reviewers’ phrasing references healthcare (ex: “to the emergency room”)
  3. Context – phrasing establishes reviewers’ credibility or other context (ex: “I’ve been going here for”)
  4. Advice – reviewers’ phrasing is advisory (ex: “I would highly recommend this”)

Context and advice phrasings were not considered in the analysis. Each phrasing determined to be customer service related was further analyzed to determine more specific patterns such as wait times, bedside manner, staffing, communications and billing.

Technical Dr. Inc.s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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How Customer Service is Your Best Physican Marketing Tool

How Customer Service is Your Best Physican Marketing Tool | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

You might not automatically connect customer service and physician marketing, but the two have a symbiotic relationship. The happier your patients are, the more they talk about you to their family and friends. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing assets a practice can leverage.

 

Patients are no longer just people that come to the doctor when they are sick. Today’s modern, social network-savvy individual is a health care consumer shopping for the best customer service available. Are you ready to provide it?

Stand by the Phone

You don’t have to literally stand by the phone waiting for patients to call, but you do need to be assessable. A trained member of the practice staff should man the phones, and answer within the first few rings. It will allow new patients to talk to a live person when they have questions, too. If possible, dedicate one employee to be responsible for answering the phone and booking new patient appointments. New patients are always judging their experience, a poor first impression when answering the phone can drive new patients away from your practice. 

Make a Good First Impression

Physicians Practice points out the front office staff are the most critical when it comes to making a good first impression. They should look and act professional, whether greeting patients at the door or talking to them on the phone. The practice will benefit from good customer service training, preferably with a company that specializes in the healthcare industry.

Include the physicians in the training, too. Blog KevinMD.com explains that physicians are not known for their customer service. Medical school may provide lessons in bedside manner, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into basic customer service skills. Part of the doctor’s job is to build a relationship with patients and that means learning how to relate to them on a business, as well as, medical level.

Confirm Appointments

It is a simple way to show the patient you are on top of things. That little extra touch opens up the lines of communication and gives them an opportunity to ask questions prior to the appointment. You can also use call backs as a training tool for new staff, so they can practice listening to patients and master the basics of phone etiquette.

Learn to Put Out Fires

A practice's reputation is everything when it comes to physician marketing. It is critical that you have a plan in place to handle negative feedback. Assign the task of monitoring the Internet for mentions of the practice, so someone can deal with problem situations before they have an impact.

Set up an in-office system for complaints, as well. This might help deter people from venting on the Internet. Something as simple as posting the name of the office manager, so an unhappy patient knows whom to ask for when there is a problem can divert some bad publicity.

Get Patient Obsessed

In the end, it is the little things that will generate the most positive feedback from patients.

  • Attention to wait times
  • Call backs after a procedure
  • Remembering patient names
  • Offering an interactive and informative website
  • Creating communication channels via social media
  • Delivering on expectations

Customer service means caring about what happens in the practice and taking steps to improve the patient experience. Do that and you can naturally generate new patient referrals.

Technical Dr. Inc.s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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Five Ways to Improve Online Reviews Ethically 

Five Ways to Improve Online Reviews Ethically  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Be good to your patients and they’ll be good to you

In this edition of “The Wired Practice,” Ron Harman King of Vanguard Communications explains that both current and potential patients can form impressions about your practice from what they see in online reviews and provides suggestions on how to improve those first web-based impressions.

Video transcript

For all the debate about online patient reviews of doctors and whether they’re a good thing or bad thing, I ask, what physician doesn’t want patients’ praise on the internet? It’s only human to want to be acknowledged and thanked for good work, and the last time I checked, doctors were still classified as homo sapiens. Warm feelings aside, an old adage is that one happy customer can generate at least three new customers by word of mouth. Healthcare is no different. Patients are customers, too, and there is no medical practice that should avoid happy customers cheerleading for them on rate-your-doctor websites.

But is it unethical for a physician or practice to take an active involvement in improving online reviews? I say absolutely not, as long as it’s done within certain guidelines:

Don’t ask your mom to review your practice online

First, ask only real patients to post reviews. It’s disheartening to see medical groups resorting to the not altogether uncommon practice of review stuffing. By this, I mean the act of asking office staff, friends and even family to pose as patients online. Fake reviews are often easy to spot. They typically are long on adjectives and short on facts. The faux reviewer commonly says very little about her medical condition or the events of her doctor’s appointment. Instead she waxes on and on about her doctor’s greatness without evidence to support her opinion. Instead, the real goal should be to encourage happy patients to tell the truth in the right place.

Bribery is never a good idea

Second, be careful about how to ask for reviews. Don’t pressure or incentivize patients. For example, I advise against offering gift cards as a motivation. Bad idea. Such an act doesn’t pass the smell test and also jeopardizes the delicate physician-patient relationship. The best approach is simply to have providers AND staff ask patients who have ALREADY expressed thanks for their treatment to post the same sentiments online. Not all will comply, of course. But if you and your staff ask enough, you’ll get adequate response. And it doesn’t take many responses to tip the balance and dramatically improve online ratings.

Open your ears to complaints so you can address them

Third, offer patients constant feedback opportunities. Please, I ask you to listen carefully to this important proclamation: You WANT to hear from unhappy patients BEFORE they go public in hopes of resolving their grievances privately. It also gives your practice a chance to remedy broader problems that other patients may be experiencing. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of reputation. Make it easy for patients to compliment and complain. To an irritated patient, nothing’s more aggravating than having to answer a 12-page questionnaire just so she can get to HER one beef. Instead, my firm suggests placing a tablet computer at your check-out station for departing patients to complete an online satisfaction survey. Or staff can also distribute cards with web addresses for the survey and/or send post-appointment emails with links to the survey.

Respond to poor reviews head-on

Fourth, in the spirit of playing fairly, answer critical reviews publicly. To do this, you or a designee will have to do what’s called “claiming” your online identity on the review websites. For instructions, look for a button or link on each site and follow the prompts. And keep in mind that responses to online complaints don’t have to come from physicians but from someone in the practice. Regardless, answering harsh comments are less for the online critic individually and more for others reading the complainer’s review. Your first priority is to appear to everyone as open minded and open eared. Now, this gets a little tricky. For privacy reasons, take care to avoid any discussion of a single patient’s case or health conditions in your public responses. Avoid even any suggestion confirming the critic is a patient.

Instead, focus on three points: you’ve heard and welcome the input, the complainer’s described experience is generally not what your practice strives for, and you’d like the complainer to privately contact the practice in hopes of resolving the complaint. Note also that some rate-your-doctor websites permit you to respond privately to reviews, allowing you to discuss the situation more candidly. Whatever you do, do not get into an electronic spat with the complainer.

Additionally, you should feel free to talk about broad policies – such as what your practice is doing to reduce wait time for physicians or why doctors often require patients to make a follow-up appointment before getting a prescription refill.

Focus on top level customer service at your practice

Finally and most important, make sure your provider group delivers top-of-class customer service. I often take heat for saying this, but the harsh reality is that in the public mind, medicine is becoming a retail service – patients compare their experiences and level of service at doctors’ offices to that at restaurants, hotels, stores, automotive dealers, and resorts. It’s just plain inescapable. And years of experience and social media research at Vanguard finds repeatedly that medical practices with the worst service regularly get the worst online reviews. Be good to your patients in your offices and they will be good to you online.

One more note: Of course, some patients are simply beyond any reason and logic. As unfair as their protests may be, practices still should deal with them. From time to time, when you can present supporting documentation, you MAY be able to persuade a website publisher to remove egregiously untrue airings. But for the vast majority of cases, following these five guidelines should reap great rewards in reputation building.

Technical Dr. Inc.s insight:
Contact Details :

inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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