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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Are Paid or Fake Testimonials Illegal?

Are Paid or Fake Testimonials Illegal? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Are Fake Testimonials Illegal?

Yes.

Under 15 U.S. Code § 45, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the power to stop and penalize parties “using unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” This makes it a crime to break official rules imposed by the FTC. And the FTC forbids the use of fake testimonials.

 

Dozens of FTC documents explain the details of “misleading advertisements,” but it boils down to a simple Truth in Advertising statement; “When consumers see or hear an advertisement, whether it’s on the Internet, radio or television, or anywhere else, federal law says that ad must be truthful, not misleading.” The FTC had made a number of guides explaining how truth in advertising works in different situations, but fake testimonials are actually illegal under Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. 45).

 

Fake testimonials are considered false or deceptive advertising—and therefore against the law—for several reasons. First, they are not based on a real customer’s experience, which a testimonial must be. Second, it misleads the customer. Claiming a happy customer exists when the don’t is misleading in itself, but whatever the fake testimonial claims are also misleading. Third, it encourages customers to spend money on a product or service they otherwise might not, thereby financially defrauding the customer, which is an especially notable offense for the FTC.

 

How Do I Get My First Testimonials?

Many businesses use fake testimonials when they don’t have any of their own, often when they’re new. This is a crime, it’s deceptive to customers, unfair to competitors, exposes you to liability, and it’s bad for your reputation. So what can you do instead?

 

A System to Get Your First Testimonials
Get the free testimonial request toolkit

  • If you have a new product, try getting your first testimonials before you launch. Talk to your first product testers. These people helped you make the product great, and their input can help convince other customers too. Since you’re giving these people the product for free, make sure you disclose this.
  • If you have a new business, get your first testimonials with your grand opening event. Set up a kiosk, hand out surveys, conduct a contest or giveaway, or simply ask your first visitors to share their experience. A testimonial collection tool like Boast makes it easy to capture testimonials at your grand opening using a laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone.
  • If you’re combating bad testimonials or reviews, show that you have fixed the problem and demonstrate it. If you have a business, hold a celebratory event and capture testimonials there. If you sell a product, give away some free samples, but make sure you’re following the rules of honest testimonials. Appeal to your existing customers in an email or social media campaign.
  • Remember that not all bad testimonials are bad news. Companies with 100% glowing reviews make customers suspicious. A few critical comments will show that you are not using fake testimonials or deceptive advertising.

Are Paid Testimonials Illegal?

Yes, with some exceptions.

Many of the same laws which make fake testimonials illegal also make paid testimonials illegal. There are some differences, however, since paid testimonials can be based on real customer experiences.

The FTC’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising” address how 15 U.S.C. 45 applies to testimonials, including paid testimonials. These guides and others lay out legal (and illegal) practices for testimonials or reviews on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Business Reviewsand others, as well as any testimonials you use in advertisements, on your website or elsewhere.

According to these guides, legal testimonials must adhere to all of the following;

  • Made by a real customer or user of the product or service
  • Based on a real user’s experience
  • Be an accurate description of expected or normal results
  • Not influenced by money, gifts, or publicity unless it is clearly disclosed
  • Not influenced by a familiar or business relationship (such as employer-employee)
  • Not edited or altered so to change the message

This means paid testimonials are illegal unless; the company or person giving the testimonials clearly states they are being paid and the statement is still true and accurate. The FTC also makes it clear that gifts such as a free trial of the product or service, a gift card, a giveaway, or any other incentive are a “material relationship” that must be disclosed.

While the FTC makes some exceptions for true testimonials that disclose payment, many review sites take a harder stance against this practice. Amazon, for example, does not allow any type of paid reviews. Both the business and the reviewer can be banned from the site for taking part. Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and others all have strict “no paid testimonials allowed” policies. This includes free products and discounts as well!

How Do I Get Customers to Leave Reviews?

Getting a customer to take time out of their day to leave a review can be tough. Customers have a lot of demands on their time, so how can you compete without a payment?

  • Go above and beyond. If you truly deliver an exceptional customer service experience and then ask for a testimonial, many customers will oblige.
  • Forge a relationship. Find out what your customers care about and give it to them. Are they looking for a company with good ethics? Someone with knowledgeable experts? Personal service? Delightful ambiance? The customers that repeatedly buy, visit, or work with you for a long time are the customers that support you and will give testimonials.
  • Make it easy. Make your customers as comfortable as possible giving reviews. Provide question prompts so they don’t have to search for something to say. Allow them to share a testimonial with just a few clicks.
  • Ask at the right time. When a customer comes in for an appointment or a regular visit, ask if they have a minute to share their thoughts. Or, if an online purchase was completed, ask for a testimonial when you ask how their experience was.
  • Be sincere. While paid and fake testimonials rely on deception, real testimonials allow you to just be yourself. Tell the customer what you think of your relationship and why their public approval is important to you.
  • Have a system and a plan. Testimonials don’t just happen, you have to ask for them. Have a plan and system for gathering and managing testimonials, such as an automated email campaign, an in-person script, or a video app like Boast.

How Illegal Are Paid or Fake Testimonials?

So paid and fake testimonials are against the law, but just how illegal are they? What’s the punishment?

Thousands or millions of dollars in penalties and civil suits.

Each FTC violation is subject to a $10,000 penalty under 15 U.S.C. 45. And it doesn’t stop there; there’s also a fine of $41,484 each day a deceptive ad runs. For many big corporations, this might not be enough to stop paid or fake testimonials. The FTC can and has filed civil actions against larger businesses with judgments in the millions of dollars. The more widespread, deliberate, misleading or damaging a deceptive ad is, the bigger the civil case will be. The FTC can also order businesses to admit to and correct deception, or return money to consumers they deceived. In 2016, Volkswagen had to pay out $10 billion from a false advertising campaign. Though this was due to false product claims and not fake testimonials, it’s a severe demonstration of the litigating power of the Commission.

Besides being against the law, businesses who host reviews and testimonials are also fed up. They’ve changed their terms of service agreements to stop incentivized reviews altogether, and they’ll remove or flag reviewers or businesses who violate the agreements. Amazon sued over 1,000 offending businesses, reviewers and sites in 2015. Yelp did the same, bringing offending companies and reviewers to court for fraud.

Will I Get Caught?

Paid and fake testimonials are illegal, and they can carry harsh penalties. But some business owners still ask; will I get caught?

Most likely, yes.

The FTC’s blog is filled with hundreds of cases they’ve brought against small and large businesses. Big businesses like Volkswagen, small B2C trampoline sellers, B2B freight brokers, marketing companies and many more have all been caught using paid reviews or fake testimonials to deceive consumers, and they’ve paid thousands, even millions of dollars. And there are likely many other cases that don’t make it to the blog.

Many of these cases are first brought to the FTC’s attention by suspicious or angry customers, competitors, third-party websites, consumer protection groups, or local governments. Regional FTC offices and investigators address complaints and sometimes work with local law enforcement or district attorneys to stop deceptive practices on a local level. Third-party sites simply follow users’ trails to track down fraudsters and file civil suits against them or create an automated screening process to prevent fake testimonials.

Customers have also taken notice of paid and fake reviews. Several plugins and apps now exist that will point out fake reviews as customers shop online. These plugins take note of generic terms, grammar mistakes or other common red flags that aren’t present in real, trustworthy reviews.

In essence, if it’s making a difference in customers’ minds, the FTC, other websites, or other customers will notice. And if it’s not making a difference, is it worth putting your reputation on the line for?

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

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

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Five Online Reputation Management Strategies for Physicians

Five Online Reputation Management Strategies for Physicians | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Just how important is a physician's online reputation?

 

Many healthcare executives are opening their eyes to the new ways prospective patients are searching for physicians. Almost half of consumers surveyed in 2014 believe reputation is the leading factor when selecting a doctor or a dentist. It is likely those numbers will continue to rise.

 

As more and more information about physicians becomes available online and big digital health companies compete to list doctors, consumers will gravitate to the most information-rich channel. So how can a busy doctor navigate the waters of online reputation, while focusing on providing top quality care to patients?

 

Here are five online reputation management strategies that are yielding results for successful physicians.

 

Embrace online ratings and reviews

While many physicians aren't fans of online reviews, these websites are here to stay. That's because more and more consumers are heading to ratings sites to compare healthcare providers and post reviews about their experiences.

A 2014 survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that of consumers who parsed through online reviews, 35 percent of respondents would select a physician based on positive reviews, while 37 percent avoided doctors with negative reviews.

 

Consumers use both healthcare-specific ratings sites — think Healthgrades and RateMD's —and general consumer sites like Yelp and CitySearch. The best way to catch a consumer’s eye online is to have a large volume of positive reviews across multiple ratings sites.

 

So how do you get more reviews?

Ask patients to rate you

Now that you've seen the power of ratings sites in affecting online reputation, how can you get more reviews? Just ask.

If you're not sure how to ask patients to rate you, here are a few suggestions:

 

• Hand a card to the patient with the urls listed for key consumer ratings sites and ask them to rate you

• Add a clickable link for key sites to your email signature and website.

 

• Send patients a snail mail letter with urls of popular ratings sites.

• Keep a tablet at the front desk and ask patients to post a review before leaving your office.

• Send an email request using your auto-responder.

• Create a short video with step-by-step instructions.

Try out multiple strategies to gauge those that work best for your practice, and then focus on the most important thing. Consistency. That means finding a way to ask every patient to rate you online.

You want to see new reviews every week if possible, building up your total volume, and diluting the strength of negative comments.

 

Take full advantage of online profiles

Another way to beef up your reputation is by completing online profiles on sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, and RateMDs. As many patients search for physicians by name, you'll want a mix of different types of search results, including content you provide.

One site many physicians are using is called Doximity, sometimes billed as the LinkedIn for doctors. This is a physician to physician site that can be useful in building relationships with referring doctors.  Consumer sites, such as Vitals, allow you to claim your professional profile and add information about education, specialties, and expertise.

 

Don't ignore angry patients

The first rule is treat every patient well. However, sometimes service may not be up to the patient’s standard. Or a patient or family member is simply unhappy with some aspect of treatment. Like any business, you won't please everyone.

But consider how you'll respond when a patient posts a negative or angry review.

 

You don't want to discuss any aspect of a patient's case in online statements, leading to potential HIPAA violations. This means you can't answer someone posting anonymously, but depending on the severity of the negative comment, you may or may not want to respond directly.

 

Some online review sites — RateMD's is one — allow you to respond to a negative review. Crafting a response acknowledging a problem can show prospective patients that you are serious about providing a positive experience.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

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

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7 Ways to Improve Your Brand Perception with Reputation Management

7 Ways to Improve Your Brand Perception with Reputation Management | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Reputation management is a lot like the airbag in your vehicle — you hope you’ll never need it, and if you do, you’ll be thankful you have it and pray that it works in time to minimize damage.

This is an often misunderstood facet of digital marketing because the fact that someone needs to change what shows up in the search results for either their personal or business brand doesn’t always mean that they are unethical, dishonest, or trying to hide something.

More often than not, it’s a single upset customer, or in some cases, even a shady competitor causing a problem. Unfortunately, either case can result in tremendous loss of revenue and opportunity.

In other words, it’s an essential part of modern digital marketing.

Act Before a Problem Arises

Because it relies on SEO, reputation management tends not to be a fast process. That’s why it’s critical to be proactive.

If you can take over the first page, or better yet, the first few pages of the search results ahead of time, you’ll be in a much stronger position if and when a crisis does strike.

The importance of controlling how you are perceived online is obvious. The only real question is whether you should handle it yourself or hire a firm.

DIY vs. Hiring a Reputation Management Firm

You can take a DIY approach, especially if you have a fair understanding of SEO and aren’t already in the middle of a crisis.

You’ll just need to be prepared to invest the appropriate amount of time, and in some cases, money, to get the results you’re looking for. Sometimes this can be significant.

On the other hand, if you don’t understand SEO and/or are already facing a crisis, then you may be better off hiring a reputation management firm.

Even if you do choose to hire a firm, it’s still important to have an understanding of the process so you can effectively evaluate potential vendors.

Hiring a firm, however, opens up a different set of challenges.

The industry has earned a bad reputation, both because of the type of clientele they frequently work with and because of how they sometimes behave.

I’ll give you a couple of examples:

  • Solvera Group was hired by Texas Realtor, Tom Grisak, to remove a negative review posted about him.
    • Solvera then paid someone to post a second negative comment on that post, and hired a Texas attorney to file a defamation lawsuit against the poster, whom they claimed they had identified — even though it was the wrong person.
    • The firm then presented the courts with a falsified settlement agreement, and the judge signed a final judgment based on this misinformation, which ordered Google to deindex the post from their search results.
    • Throughout the process, all of the lawyers, clients, and judges involved were misled. Eventually, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton caught on and helped shut the operation down.
  • Managers of Status Labs, Darius Fisher and Jesse Boskoff, were sued for the equivalent of embezzlement of more than $1.5 million by one of their partners.
    • Rather than comply with the court order to stop stealing, Fisher and Boskoff instead set up a shell company, Blue Land Partners, moved the firm’s clients over and used their reputation management prowess to hide this fact from their new potential clients and their partner.
    • Fisher and Boskoff’s actions in plundering Status Labs were so egregious that the federal judge quoted John Wayne from the iconic movie, “The Sands of Iwo Jima”, saying: “Life is hard, but it’s even harder when you’re stupid.”
    • Fisher and Boskoff were later held in contempt for violating the judge’s order and were forced to return some of the stolen money to avoid jail time.

My point here is that if you do choose to hire a firm, you need to go into the relationship with your eyes wide open and do plenty of research to make sure you’re hiring a reputable firm.

Whether you’ve chosen the DIY approach or have decided to hire a firm, it’s important to understand exactly what goes into it.

This ensures that you have a solid action plan in the event that you’re doing the work yourself, or, if you’re hiring a firm, it helps you to better evaluate which ones are competent and trustworthy.

1. Optimize Your Own Website

Reputation managements starts with your own website because you have complete control over it.

Obviously, you’ll want to pay close attention to the technical SEO, especially semantic markup and internal links, but don’t stop there.

It’s equally important to publish content and earn links that will make Google view your website as an authoritative result for your name.

The most logical way to do this is to publish articles on your website. Lots of articles.

But it’s important not to put quantity over quality. As you build a library of useful content, your author pages on your website will become significantly more authoritative for your name.

From here, it’s also wise to build quality links to your author page. Unless you share a name with someone famous, it usually won’t take very many.

In most cases, if you have at least a few dozen quality posts on your website, then you can probably get by with less than a dozen quality links. That’s easily achievable by guest posting on other relevant, high-quality websites.

2. Contribute to Industry Publications

Major industry publications tend to be authoritative because they publish a large volume of high-quality content, and that content, relative to similar content on other websites, tends to earn more links.

This makes these publications incredibly powerful assets.

As with publishing content on your own website, the goal here is to rank your author page on industry publications on the first page of the search results.

What you want to do is contact the editors of two or three major publications in your industry to pitch the idea of you submitting an article.

If you have any contacts in common with the editors, it would be a smart move to ask for an introduction, but let’s not put the cart before the horse.

First, make sure you can answer these questions so you can pitch in a way that presents maximum value:

Who Is Their Typical Audience?

Is their audience mainly other people in your industry or to the end consumer? That will usually make a big difference in the type of content will resonate well with them.

You would write a completely different article when writing for an audience of your peers compared to writing for potential customers.

You can look at my writing as an example. When I write for publications like Search Engine Journal, I tend to write at a far deeper technical level because the readers here usually understand it.

On the other hand, when I write about digital marketing for publications in the construction industry, I try to simplify my writing because my audience there doesn’t typically have the same level of knowledge on these topics.

Why Does Your Opinion Matter?

If the internet has taught us anything, it’s that everyone has an opinion about almost everything, and most of these opinions are worthless.

So why should they listen to you?

What knowledge and experience do you have that qualifies you to share your opinion m on a particular topic?

This is an essential part of pitching an editor on your idea for an article.

What Will the Reader Gain From Your Article?

Your article needs to provide tremendous value, in the form of:

  • Unique and original insight.
  • Detailed instructions on how to do something.
  • A comprehensive resource that is unavailable elsewhere.

Skip the shameless self-promotion.

The publisher wants to provide value to their readers in order to ensure that they will return, and they’ll only do that if they gain something from the content on that website.

3. Optimize Your Social Profiles

Social profiles such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are relatively easy to rank, which makes them another valuable asset.

Your profiles on social networks should include all relevant information, including your:

  • Hours of operation.
  • Phone number.
  • Address.
  • URL.
  • Etc.

Your social profiles should also be properly branded with your logo, brand colors, and appropriate header images.

The information included makes it more relevant to search engines, helping the profile to rank higher, while the branding increases engagement with real people.

Some of the social networks you should consider might include:

  • Facebook.
  • Twitter.
  • Google My Business.
  • Instagram.
  • YouTube.
  • Pinterest.
  • LinkedIn.

You don’t have to do everything all at once. In fact, you can’t do everything well all at once unless you have a massive budget and enough employees to perform the work.

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I recommend starting with between one to three social networks and create a following there before branching out into others.

While I don’t suggest trying to use every social network at once, you should secure your profile on every network so it’s available when you’re ready to use it.

4. Leverage Public Relations

As an experienced expert in your field, I’ll assume you probably have something valuable to say.

If you can leverage your insight into positive media coverage, you can create a valuable asset in your reputation management efforts. And the beauty is that it’s infinitely repeatable.

Large publications like Entrepreneur, Inc., and Fast Company are authoritative and tend to rank more easily. Especially for your own name.

 

It’s essential to approach PR with the intent to add tremendous value to the editor, contributor, and audience. The mistake most people fall into is trying to make it all about themselves. This is a surefire way to get ignored.

 

Unless you’ve done something truly monumental, like launching a car into space, no large publication is going to write a feature story about you. It just isn’t going to happen.

 

Instead, figure out what the audience wants, and find a way to deliver that in a way that includes you, and pitch that to the editor or contributor.

 

The editor wants more eyeballs on their content. The contributor does too, but they also want to simplify their job of writing the article. Especially when you consider that most contributors aren’t paid for their work.

An effective way to do this is to leverage newsworthy topics. You can see examples of this in articles where I was quoted on the gun control debate in The Business Journal, and on Ja Rule’s failed event in Forbes.

 

“The key to maximizing reputation in PR is to provide remarks or content that provides high value in terms of being something the readers didn’t know and wouldn’t likely have guessed, such as a surprising insight, backed by data (with the data properly linked and sourced), and perhaps some color and complexion around an example of how that surprising finding plays out in real life,” according to thought leadership and crisis PR expert Cheryl Snapp Conner, of SnappConner PR.

 

“Include your characterization as an expert and whatever link is best for people to use to find out more about you. That leads people to the right association with you, as opposed to, perhaps being linked for contributing a ‘sky is blue’ quote to an article on something unrelated to your expertise, such as tips for closing a deal on a golf course,” she said.

 

You won’t have a lot of control over how a contributor writes their article, so it probably won’t be optimized specifically to rank for your name. That’s OK, though.

 

It may rank on its own without any additional work, but if not, simply earn a few quality links to it and it should easily land on the first page.

5. Earn Positive Reviews

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you probably already realize that trying to please everyone all the time is about as difficult as trying to make a pile of water.

This sometimes results in negative reviews. One way to combat that, however, is a large volume of legitimate positive reviews.

Earning those reviews is simple, but not easy. Let me explain what I mean by that.

 

It’s simple because you just need to ask your satisfied customers to post a review on websites where your new potential customers may see them. That’s simple.

But it’s not easy because you must provide an exceptional product or service. Not average, not pretty good — but exceptional. That is difficult. Especially in today’s highly competitive market.

I can’t help you provide an exceptional product or service. That’s all on you.

 

I can, however, help you to earn those reviews once you have. I’ll do that by sharing the email script that we use, along with our follow-up process.

 

That process is critical because while these reviews are monumentally important to you, they aren’t to your customers. I’m sorry, but they just aren’t.

 

Your customer is busy running their business, and they’ll only help you if you can make it easy for them, and even then, you’ll probably still have to remind them a few times.

 

OK, for the email, it’s simple:

I’d like to ask you to do a favor for me…positive reviews help us to build trust and bring on new clients. Would you mind posting a quick review about your experience working with us? If you want, I’ll even draft something that you can edit as you see fit. Just let me know if you want me to do that to make it easier and faster for you.

 

The links for Google and Facebook are below

Google: [Link to your Google My Business listing]

Facebook: [Link to the reviews tab of your Facebook business page]

The follow up is simple, too. My agency uses a tool called Boomerang for Gmail because we run on G Suite. We will set a reminder for one week, and if we haven’t received a review by then, we will send a reminder email that simply says:

 

Just sending a reminder in case this got buried.

We usually give it another week and send another email with the same message. If that still doesn’t produce a review, then it’s time to pick up the phone.

 

But before asking them for a review this time, first ask something along the lines of this:

 

Hey, I know you’ve probably been really busy lately, but since you haven’t posted a review yet, I just wanted to make sure do anything wrong or leave anything hanging. Was there anything we should talk about?

 

Usually, they will apologize and explain that they’ve just been busy. In most cases, they will post it shortly after this call. But in the rare cases where something was wrong, you’ve just bought yourself the perfect opportunity to fix it.

One quick note on this — I highly recommend placing positive reviews on your website as well, and where applicable, including Schema markup.

6. Launch a Podcast

Your podcast page on Apple’s website will generally be viewed as authoritative just based on the domain it resides on. This makes it an effective tool in your reputation management efforts.

Add some quality links into the mix and it can rise to the first page rather quickly.

This tactic isn’t a band-aid though, because maintaining a podcast requires a tremendous amount of effort. I recently learned this when I launched my own podcast.

I point this out because I want to emphasize that if you’re not prepared to invest the ongoing time, effort, and expense of creating a worthwhile podcast, it isn’t something you should start in the first place.

If you’re going to do this, I suggest committing to at least one year of weekly episodes. Anything short of that and you’re wasting your time.

7. Buy Relevant Domains

If you’re facing or anticipating particularly aggressive attacks, buying relevant domains is a wise tactic.

You probably have already registered the .com for your name and/or company name, but what about the almost countless other extensions available today?

At the very least, you should register the .net and .org, but I would also consider other domain extensions that may make sense for your company.

There are more than 1,000 extensions available, so be thorough but try not to go overboard. The idea here is just to prevent others from posing as you and/or your company.

Next, look at domains that could be used against you. For example:

  • CompanyNameSucks.com
  • CompanyNameComplaints.com
  • CompanyNameReviews.com

I would especially make it a point to include a few non-standard extensions, like .online, .club, or .reviews because they tend to outrank comparable websites with traditional extensions.

This can come in handy if there is significant search volume for complaints or reviews for a name, whether it’s a company or a person.

 

You don’t need a website for each domain. In fact, in most cases, you won’t need a website for any of them unless things get really nasty. This may happen if you run into a particularly vindictive former customer or competitor.

 

Only once in nearly two decades have I personally run into a situation where creating additional websites to target visitors searching for reviews or complaints was necessary.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

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

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Online Reputation Management Strategies for Doctors 

Online Reputation Management Strategies for Doctors  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

How your patients will review your practice depends on how they feel during their visit. This means that to improve your online reputation, you'll have to start with improving patient experience at the practice level, then utilizing positive patient experiences to build a positive reputation on the web. How do your build a great physician reputation? Read on to find out.

 

1. Be proactive in collecting feedback from your patients
According to a 2016 survey on how patients use online reviews, 30% of patients who could be writing reviews aren't writing. This could be due to the absence of an automated review generation process. However, even in the presence of an automated system, many doctors complain about receiving only a few reviews. In many cases where practices send their patients a link to publish a review, they still didn't get a response. That's because you need to ensure you’re getting patients at the right time – when they are most likely to publish a review. If you really want your patients to leave a review, encourage them to do it. One way you can do this is by engaging patients in a conversation and then asking them for a review. Doing so will improve the chances of your patients writing reviews for you. Here's how you can engage your patients in a conversation before asking them to write a review:

 

  • Ask as a favor
  • Let them know the time it will take (ex. “It will only take 2 minutes!”)
  • Clearly reveal your purpose for asking them (ex. “Reviews are the lifeblood of my practice”)
  • Clarify the process [keeping it easy will ensure more reviews]
  • Ensure you’re asking them at the right time (immediately after they leave the office is typically the best time, as the experience is fresh in their mind)

 

2.Intercept unhappy patients & perform service recovery
As you start collecting patient reviews, you'll start receiving some negative reviews too. Don't worry, as a few negative reviews are good for you as they present a more balanced reputation online. Also, when tracked proactively, negative reviews provide the opportunity to build and nurture a long-lasting relationship with your patients. A reputation management tool allows you to intercept your unhappy patients right after their visit, and hopefully before they post a review online. The process of intercepting unhappy patients and performing service recovery is simple. It goes like this:

 

  • Your unhappy patient rates you poorly using the tool
  • The tool immediately notifies you of the negative rating
  • You instantly connect with the unhappy patient, listen to their concern, and work with your team to turn the negative experience around
  • After successfully performing service recovery, the same tool again prompts the patient to write a fresh review (which will now be positive)

 


3. Objectively respond to all reviews; positive or negative
People seeing your patients' reviews online will also expect to see your responses to them. This way they get to learn about your attentiveness towards addressing your patients' concerns and how you tackle your patients' issues with your care or service. According to a Software Advice survey, 65% of patients feel it's “very” or “moderately” important for doctors to post a response. Keeping professional courtesy, refraining from disclosing the patient’s identity, and addressing to the masses instead of the specific patient is the key to being objective in your responses. Here are the guidelines on how you should respond to positive and negative reviews: Responding to positive reviews from your patients Create an uplifting, professional response that shows your commitment to patient satisfaction. Don't write anything that could reveal or confirm the patient's identity, to prevent yourself from violating HIPAA. Also, negative or positive, never forget to show your appreciation by always thanking your patients for sharing their feedback. A piece of advice here: Keep distance from phrases like, "It was great to see you", or "Thank you for visiting the office". Try something that's more vague and positive such as, "Thank you for the kind words". Doing so will reduce the chances of confirming the identity of a patient. Responding to negative reviews from patients Before taking any action with a negative review, address it objectively. Examine the situation from all perspectives; the patient's point of view, a legal point of view, and the public's point of view. Then, create a professional response that can minimize the damage to your reputation while respecting confidentiality laws. Software Advice suggests some Do’s and Don’ts of responding to negative reviews, which are very think that a review is falsified or inappropriate, you can report or flag it; asking the review site to take it down. The review site should comply – so long you can provide a credible argument. However, before reporting, learn about the guidelines laid out by each review site. It will help you to be more objective with your request, improving the chances that the review site will comply with your request.


4. Train your staff in customer service best practices
Patients leave reviews about your entire practice; not just about the quality of healthcare you provide. It's just the same when patients are reading reviews. According to a survey, 84% of patients look for information such as staff friendliness, ease of scheduling appointment, wait times, and office cleanliness/environment, etc., over other obvious details while reading reviews.training every staff member in customer service best practices and making it a company policy to follow these practices closely. From phone calls, front desk conversations and nurse interactions, to other things such as car parking, wait times, etc., all should be handled with friendly and professional behavior. Here, you can take help from the sentiment analysis feature provided in your patient satisfaction survey tool. Sentiment analysis of your patients will help you understand what precisely bothers your patients, which will allow you to implement the required changes to your practice more effectively. Related blog: Patients Value Personal Interactions with Their Providers: An Analysis of 7M Reviews Confirms


5.Build a strong patient community & network on social media
While patients are increasingly using social media for healthcare information, doctors are still reluctant about it. The reasons could be the fear of violating ethical and legal regulations, and the possibility of a misstatement getting shares on social media. Contrary to all that, having a social media presence is vital for your practice's growth in this digital age. Marjorie Stiegler, MD, a Harvard trained physician and a healthcare social media strategist provides these reasons for having a social media presence:

 

  • Curating a library of useful healthcare information
  • Finding collaborators
  • Promoting health literacy
  • Growing your practice, and 17 more

 

On the point of reluctance in using social media, Marjorie says, “sharing your ideas with as many people who might possibly benefit (even if that is by challenging you or taking another view) is a good thing. Disseminating knowledge and advancing science are core reasons we publish in journals. Even the best academic journals have a ridiculously low readership compared to the web.” To learn more about what Marjorie suggests for managing your professional reputation on social media, read her complete article on the topic.


6.Utilize content marketing to establish yourself as an authority
Healthcare content marketing is another way to build a robust online presence and reputation. Not only does it help you win valuable organic search traffic, but it also gives you a chance to establish yourself as a thought-leader with your 'expert articles' on related medical issues. According to Pew research, 1 in 3 patients use internet for resolving medical issues. A Google research says that, on an average, patients go through 12 different online resources before finally picking a provider. All of these explain the reason why you should be investing your time and resources in content marketing. Publishing useful content – even just one post per month – can go a long way in garnering appreciation from readers and giving you an effective means of selling your expertise without being overtly ‘sales-y’. The above given physician reputation management strategies can help you in elevating your image online. However, while implementing these, you should always refrain from some practices that may prove to be harmful to your healthcare business. Let's check out some 'Don'ts' of online reputation management for doctors:


Don't incentivize for getting positive reviews: Incentivizing (rewarding or discounting) for reviews isn't just illegal, but is also a practice that is heavily scrutinized by review sites like Yelp, who will bury reviews and flag accounts that they think are paying for reviews. Review sites have their well-defined system to track these reviews. Once found guilty, not just your reviews will be removed, but it will also invite discrediting of your practice by the review site itself, thereby affecting your online reputation and ranking.

 

Don't hire someone to post fake reviews for you: Review sites keep a regular check on fake reviews. They don't just remove a fake review from their site, but may also flag your practice for fabrication, which drastically impacts your online reputation.

 

Don't indulge in an online argument: Regardless of how much an angry patient tries to offend you into an argument, do not get involved as doing so will only discredit you. Always respond professionally, no matter what. If the patient still instigates an argument, offer to discuss and resolve the issue offline.

 

Don't mix up your private and professional life: Maintain separate professional and personal accounts on social media. Never post personal opinions, photos or videos on your professional accounts. Ideally, patients shouldn't find your personal social media accounts even if they go looking for them.

Now that patients' decision-making has shifted online, you should also focus on elevating your reputation on the web, so that you can positively influence prospective patients in your favor. While doing so, take help from a reputation management company who will provide you with a seamless process to ensure that managing your reputation isn’t overwhelming.

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Fight, Flight or Listen: Dealing with Physician Reviews & Negative Comments

Fight, Flight or Listen: Dealing with Physician Reviews & Negative Comments | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Perhaps you’ve followed the Taco Bell (“Of Course We Use Real Beef“) PR brouhaha, or you recall the PR catastrophe for BP regarding last year’s gulf oil spill.

 

Admittedly these are big business issues at the tip of the PR disaster sword. The media has a field day, and it’s a spectator sport for the general public. Professionally, let’s hope that your healthcare marketing and public relations experience never suffers this kind of global flack.

 

But these corporate calamities hold useful lessons for physicians, group practices, hospitals and other healthcare providers. What the giant corporations do (or don’t do) can transfer to something as common as physician reviews and negative patient comments.

 

Straight from the news pages, here are three PR textbook examples and how they might be useful where you live:

 

The FIGHT Response: In response to a much-publicized class action lawsuit, Taco Bell is out with vehement denials and a series of new advertisements titled: Thank You for Suing Us. While it’s commonplace to quickly embrace and repeat compliments, a common reaction to negative comments by patients is to discount or deny them as uninformed and/or incorrect. Some, perhaps most, situations require a response, but an angry, defensive or “come-out-swinging” answer can more easily aggravate a situation than disarm it.

 

The FLIGHT Response: For reasons that are self-evident, we can’t link to an illustration on this one. Remaining silent–the opposite of FIGHT—is seldom heard. Call it the “ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away” approach. And while minor things sometimes do seem to disappear, healthcare Public Relations pros and marketing communications executives recognize that there can be a serious downside in silence. The “no-response-response can be seen as stonewalling or even an admission or agreement. The patient issue or comment is still out there.

 

The LISTEN Response: Hopefully the patient-physician communications channels are wide open and so that patient issues or experiences can be discussed, addressed and resolved before they blossom into a negative online review or word-of-(bad)mouth comment.

 

A real world illustration of listening and acting—one that didn’t make as many headlines as Taco Bell—is this article by Los Angeles Otolaryngologist John W. House: How Online Reviews Can Help a Physician. It can be surprising how effective it is to listen to, and learn from, patient issues and to actively resolve an issue of concern.

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What Happens When Doctors Sue Unhappy Patients?

What Happens When Doctors Sue Unhappy Patients? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Experienced doctors tell us that, sooner or later in their career, every physician will face the prospect of legal action. Between 75 and 99 percent of practicing doctors, depending on their specialty, will be threatened by a lawsuit according to a NEJM study.

 

Although “patient-sues-doctor” rarely makes the news, the reverse situation—doctor-sues-patient—seems to make the headlines with regularity. And the core issue is a negative or unflattering online rating or comment by a patient about a doctor. But the outcome is seldom satisfactory.

 

Patients are increasingly engaged and empowered regarding their healthcare, due in part by the pervasive Internet. Doctors are understandably—and justifiably—concerned about their professional reputation…also with added muscle of view-anywhere web postings.

 

In a previous post, Legally Dumb: Should a Doctor or Dentist Sue a Patient for Bad-Mouth Comments?, we sympathized with a practitioner’s frustration and outright anger. Negative comments and online reviews can be untrue, unkind and one sided. But, from a public relations perspective, suing a patient for a negative comment just might be the worst thing to do. In PR terms it likely will grab new and broader media attention, repeat and extend the controversy, patients may sympathize with patients, and generally inflame the original issue.

 

Bad-mouth comments on personal blogs and collective-comment review sites can be influential among patients and prospective patients. There are dozens of user forums that has expanded to include Angie’s List (initially home improvement services), and Yelp (initially reviews of local restaurants).

 

Some news reports, The Boston Globe for example, suggest that doctors are firing back at patients’ online critiques, but with mixed results.

 

“The Digital Media Project at Harvard University tracks lawsuits filed against patients and others for online comments. Its website includes seven such cases filed over the past five years or so, though it’s not a comprehensive list. In some, patients took down their negative comments. In others, judges dismissed the suit, ruling that patients’ comments were protected under the First Amendment guarantee of free speech.”

 

We’re not offering legal advice here, but as another recent indicator, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that an online post about a Duluth neurologist is protected speech. And, according to the AP story about this ruling, “Experts say lawsuits over negative professional reviews are relatively uncommon and rarely succeed, partly because the law favors freedom of speech.”

 

Seeking professional legal counsel is sound advice for your situation. Our previous post lists some of the possible public relations consequences that should be considered, as well as observations from noted healthcare attorney Stephen Kaufman.

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How to Remove Bad (or Fake) Google Reviews - and Dispute Them

How to Remove Bad (or Fake) Google Reviews - and Dispute Them | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Anybody has the power to critique your company without ever visiting your store or coming face-to-face with your employees. For most businesses, reviews are a great way to build a positive reputation. However, they can also be a nightmare if an angry customer or competitor has a bone to pick with you.

 

But that’s not the only problem.

 

Shady competitors may try to use online review platforms against you. If you doze off behind the wheel, you might wake up to find countless fake Google reviews blasting your business. What’s worse, most people can’t tell the difference between a real customer and a fake reviewer.

 

But don’t worry. We’ll help you spot the frauds and show you exactly how to flag and remove bad Google reviews in this step-by-step guide. Here’s what we’ll cover:

 

How to spot fake Google reviews
Tips to respond to negative reviews
How to flag and remove Google reviews
Follow up and monitor progress
Protect your reputation
Need help rebuilding your company’s reputation? Contact us to learn more about our enterprise reputation management offering.

 

Why it’s important to fix bad Google reviews
It’s practically a guarantee that your business will get negative reviews at some point. That’s why it’s imperative to stay on top of feedback across all review platforms. It’s estimated that 91 percent of consumers read online reviews. They’re usually looking for negative experiences and to see if you attempted to make things right. If they don’t like what they find, they won’t buy from you. That means a poor online reputation could cost large companies millions of dollars and might even destroy a small business.

 

This isn’t to say that all negative reviews are terrible. On the contrary, they can build trust. No business is flawless, so an enormous pile of perfect ratings may smell like a pile of something else to savvy customers. Instead, a sprinkling of neutral feedback creates trust between the brand and the consumer. Bad Google reviews also give you a chance to improve your business. Think of them as free and honest feedback about what isn’t working.

 

Whether reviews are real or not, you still need to do something about them before they damage your company’s credibility and tarnish your hard-earned reputation. Step one is to find and remove fake Google reviews.

 

1. Evaluate your Google reviews
Regularly check for feedback on all review platforms, including Google, Facebook, Yelp and Ripoff Report. Larger companies should monitor review sites daily, while a weekly check-in will usually suffice for smaller businesses. Here’s an article that explains how to Google your business to find comments that may not have bubbled up to page one yet. It’s also smart to set up Google Alerts for your brand so nothing slips through the cracks.

 

If you see a dreaded 1-star review, don’t light your torches and form a mob. Instead, take a breath, calm down, and come up with a clear strategy to rectify the situation.

 

Bad Google reviews happen for many reasons, but most come from customers who’ve had a negative experience with your company. For example, perhaps someone received a faulty product or was insulted by rude staff. But sometimes complaints are just plain false. Disgruntled former employees, sneaky competitors, and spammers may be out to get you. Read criticism carefully to figure out who may have written it, and why.

 

Tricks to spot and remove fake Google reviews
Compare suspicious complaints with your sales records. Can you find any matching transactions? Here’s checklist to help you spot fake reviews:

 

The buyer isn’t in your point of sale software system
Purchased items and/or the transaction date doesn’t match their complaint


No customer service calls on record
Lack of detail (e.g., they haven’t named any specific employees)
You noticed a surge of bad reviews in a short period of time
There’s a connection between the reviewer and a competitor

 

2. Always respond to negative reviews
Rapid response is your best weapon against customer complaints. Never, EVER ignore a review, true or false. Addressing complaints quickly shows third-party readers that you’re serious about providing quality customer service. This is your chance to show others that they won’t have the same bad experience.

 

Tips for responding to a negative review
Contact the reviewer directly: Sometimes it’s best to talk offline. If you can get people on the phone, you may have an even better shot at calming them down. But don’t forget to revisit the original review and explain how the dilemma was resolved.

 

Take the proper tone: The right tone can turn a bad experience into a positive review. Don’t make excuses. Don’t get defensive. Keep things short and sweet. Maintain professionalism and own up to any mistakes you may have made. Swallow your pride and apologize, even if you’re not the one at fault. Most importantly, thank the consumer for their valued feedback.

 

Never threaten a lawsuit: Just don’t do it. Technically, you can sue someone for online defamation in some cases, but even if you win, you’ll likely lose in the long run. Lawsuits draw negative attention, and the media backlash from suing a consumer will scare off other clientele.

 

Offer to fix the problem: If the reviewer has a valid complaint, work with them to solve it. Address the employees involved, replace the faulty product, and make things right for your customer. But don’t make empty promises. Instead, follow through with everything you guarantee. Most negative reviews can be flipped around if the customer sees that you are willing to make things right.

 

How to respond to a fake Google review (yes, it’s necessary)
It’s critical to respond to all reviews — especially if the review is fake. Although you might know the review isn’t true, your customers may not. So before you do anything else, address their issue and apologize for their discontent. Then tell them that you are unable to find a record of their transaction. This sends a message to fraudulent reviewers that you’re onto them while appearing helpful to potential customers. Finally, offer to remedy their issue and give them your contact information (email and/or phone number). We’ll discuss the next steps you should take in the following section.

 

3. How to remove fake Google reviews
It’s usually possible to have a bad star rating removed if you can prove that it’s fake, inaccurate, or inappropriate. However, only the original author can delete truthful complaints from your company page. In the case of false reviews, though, you should take action as soon as possible to erase any trace of them.

 

Google’s review policy
You can dispute Google reviews and request that they be removed if they violate any of the following guidelines:

 

Spam and fake content: Content must be genuine. Google will remove false information intended to boost rankings.
Off-topic — Content must reflect an individual’s experience at a location. Irrelevant social, personal or political commentary will be removed.


Prohibited content: Google will remove illegal, locally restricted, sexually explicit, offensive, dangerous or derogatory content. This includes hate speech.


Conflict of interest: You may not review your own business, a current or former employer, or a competitor’s business.

 

How to flag fake Google business reviews
Google Maps is the easiest way to flag reviews and complaints. Find your business listing on Google Maps, and click on reviews. Next, identify any false reviews using the tips we shared above. Finally, click the three vertical dots on the right side of the Google business review and select “flag as inappropriate.” That’s all there is to it.

 

How to dispute a Google review
Google might not remove a flagged complaint as quickly as you’d like, if ever. To speed things along, you can also personally contact Google and ask them to take it down. To do so, visit your Google My Business profile again. Next click on the “support” option at the bottom of the left side navigation panel.

 

After clicking “support,” a help box will pop up. To email Google and dispute a review, you’ll need to click through the following list of help topics:

 

Need more help > Customer reviews and photos > Manage customer reviews > Email support

 

Then follow these three steps.

Submit your phone number or email address along with a screenshot of the suspicious review, and you should receive a response in one to two days.


If your situation is especially pressing or you still haven’t received an adequate response, try tweeting directly to @GoogleSmallBiz. Explain your predicament and how the negative Google review violates their review policy along with any images you have.
Finally, if you have evidence that the complaint qualifies as slander against your company, you can fill out a Google form for a legal removal request.


If you’d rather ReputationManagement.com do the work for you, contact our team to learn more about our white-glove reputation management service.

 

Fixing bad reviews on other sites


Facebook
Bad reviews aren’t limited to Google. Whether you’ve created an official Facebook page or not, your customers could be talking about you there. What’s worse, you may have started a page years ago and never gone back to address reviews that could be piling up. Check out this post to learn how to remove bad Facebook reviews.

 

Yelp
If an inappropriate review hasn’t already been filtered out by Yelp’s algorithm, you can report. If moderators find that the review breaches their content guidelines, it will be taken down. However, fake reviews often slip through the filters. Read our full article about how to remove yelp reviews to learn more.

 

Ripoff Report
It’s much trickier to get rid of Ripoff Report reviews. The only way to remove a Ripoff Report is to pay them an exorbitant amount of money. Otherwise, the platform refuses to take down complaints because they believe comments should be preserved to expose patterns of bad business practices. That means you’ll have to resort to reputation management strategies to push these results down. Learn more about Ripoff Report removal here.

 

Contact outside organizations if necessary
If you can prove that a competitor left a fake Google review for your business, report them to the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce. Of course, you should also inform the owner of the competing business privately and politely that you know what they’re doing and that you’re taking action to protect your reputation. If the matter continues to escalate, it may be worth filing a lawsuit.

 

4. Follow up and continue monitoring
Check up on bad Google reviews: Did you make up for a negative customer experience? Did you offer a refund or other compensation? If you believe you’ve resolved the issue, reach out and ask for their current feelings about your business. They may be willing to revisit or remove their original review.

 

Sadly, many review sites push edits to the bottom of the original complaint. But you should still update the report to show how important customer satisfaction is to your company. If the platform doesn’t allow for any changes, consider asking for another review that reflects the better experience. If he or she agrees to edit or remove their Google review or write a new one, be sure to leave a comment thanking them.

 

Keep tabs on reviews you’ve reported: Revisit the ratings you’ve flagged to make sure they’ve been altered or removed. If not, try pursuing other courses of action as we outlined above. If you find more fraudulent reviews, you may have a bigger problem, such as a competitor trying to interfere with your business. Continue to dispute them, but this is where you might start considering taking legal action.

 

5. Build a positive online reputation
If your search results are still flooded with bad Google reviews, the problem may be rooted in your business. Reevaluate how you can improve the products and services you provide. This might mean revamping your customer service training or even firing an employee. In the end you’ll need to do what’s necessary to make your customers happy.

 

The best defense is great customer service
Of course, the best online reputation management strategy to prevent complaints is to provide impeccable service and and amazing products. Doing so will make it easy to earn enough positive ratings to drown out the negativity. Always do everything in your power to make each experience the best it can be. Don’t charge more than necessary. Deliver the correct order the first time. Most importantly, do whatever you can to make your business a place where people feel welcome.

 

Ask happy customers for reviews
Ask your customers what you’re doing right and what you could improve. If they seem to have positive sentiments about your company, encourage them to leave a review and show your gratitude to the ones who do. Here are some helpful tips to get Google reviews:

 

Ask immediately after a transaction.
Include calls to actions on receipts and email newsletters.
Post a list of review sites near your front door or cash register.
Encourage feedback in your store and on your company website so consumers can air their grievances privately instead of posting them online.


Never buy or fabricate reviews, bribe your customers, or obtain too many good reviews in a short period of time — this looks just as suspicious as a sudden onslaught of bad reviews.
Expand your online presence


Build a positive online presence that keeps negative content out of your search results. It’s not a quick and easy process. In fact, you’ll probably need help from experts like us.

 

We can help you establish and optimize your social media platforms and keep them regularly updated with fresh content.

Stay aware: Our team also offers around-the-clock brand monitoring. We’ll watch over your Yelp, Facebook, and Google reviews, in addition to your entire advanced search landscape. You’ll get relentless vigilance over your brand’s complete online presence so we can take action before issues become widespread.

 

Amplify positive news: We’ll work with you to publish and promote positive content that represents your business. Public relations tactics alone aren’t enough to change your search results. You’ll need cutting-edge SEO reputation management strategies to see results. No other firm understands Google’s search algorithm better than us.

 

 

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Five Online Reputation Management Strategies for Physicians 

Five Online Reputation Management Strategies for Physicians  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Many healthcare executives are opening their eyes to the new ways prospective patients are searching for physicians. Almost half of consumers surveyed in 2014 believe reputation is the leading factor when selecting a doctor or a dentist. It is likely those numbers will continue to rise.

 

As more and more information about physicians becomes available online and big digital health companies compete to list doctors, consumers will gravitate to the most information-rich channel. So how can a busy doctor navigate the waters of online reputation, while focusing on providing top quality care to patients?

 

Here are five online reputation management strategies that are yielding results for successful physicians.

 

Embrace online ratings and reviews

While many physicians aren't fans of online reviews, these websites are here to stay. That's because more and more consumers are heading to ratings sites to compare healthcare providers and post reviews about their experiences.

A 2014 survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that of consumers who parsed through online reviews, 35 percent of respondents would select a physician based on positive reviews, while 37 percent avoided doctors with negative reviews.

 

Consumers use both healthcare-specific ratings sites — think Healthgrades and RateMD's —and general consumer sites like Yelp and CitySearch. The best way to catch a consumer’s eye online is to have a large volume of positive reviews across multiple ratings sites.

 

So how do you get more reviews?

 

Ask patients to rate you

Now that you've seen the power of ratings sites in affecting online reputation, how can you get more reviews? Just ask.

If you're not sure how to ask patients to rate you, here are a few suggestions:

 

• Hand a card to the patient with the urls listed for key consumer ratings sites and ask them to rate you

• Add a clickable link for key sites to your email signature and website.

• Send patients a snail mail letter with urls of popular ratings sites.

• Keep a tablet at the front desk and ask patients to post a review before leaving your office.

• Send an email request using your auto-responder.

• Create a short video with step-by-step instructions.

Try out multiple strategies to gauge those that work best for your practice, and then focus on the most important thing. Consistency. That means finding a way to ask every patient to rate you online.

You want to see new reviews every week if possible, building up your total volume, and diluting the strength of negative comments.

 

Take full advantage of online profiles

Another way to beef up your reputation is by completing online profiles on sites such as Healthgrades, Vitals, and RateMDs. As many patients search for physicians by name, you'll want a mix of different types of search results, including content you provide.

 

One site many physicians are using is called Doximity, sometimes billed as the LinkedIn for doctors. This is a physician to physician site that can be useful in building relationships with referring doctors.  Consumer sites, such as Vitals, allow you to claim your professional profile and add information about education, specialties, and expertise.

 

Don't ignore angry patients

The first rule is treat every patient well. However, sometimes service may not be up to the patient’s standard. Or a patient or family member is simply unhappy with some aspect of treatment. Like any business, you won't please everyone.

 

But consider how you'll respond when a patient posts a negative or angry review.

 

You don't want to discuss any aspect of a patient's case in online statements, leading to potential HIPAA violations. This means you can't answer someone posting anonymously, but depending on the severity of the negative comment, you may or may not want to respond directly.

 

Some online review sites — RateMD's is one — allow you to respond to a negative review. Crafting a response acknowledging a problem can show prospective patients that you are serious about providing a positive experience.

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27 Essential Tips for Reputation Management for Doctors 

27 Essential Tips for Reputation Management for Doctors  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

1. Self-Assess Your Current Online Reputation

Have you Googled yourself lately? If you don’t know what’s being said about you or your practice online, you need to self-assess your current reputation. In 2017, patients commonly checked doctor reviews on websites such as Yelp, ZocDocs, WebMD, RateMDs, Healthgrades, Google Reviews and Angie’s List. If you find your practice on any of these websites, look at what patients are saying.

 

After exploring various review websites and the first few pages of Google, you’ll have a better idea of your current online reputation.

 

2. Monitor Your Reviews Proactively

Set up Google alerts that will email you whenever your name or the name of your practice is mentioned online. Read each new mention of your practice carefully and closely monitor your online reputation every day.

This proactive approach will allow you to better manage your image and improve the success of your medical practice.

 

3. Treat Every Patient Like a Reviewer

Remember that every patient that calls or comes to your practice is a potential reviewer. Treat each patient with the utmost respect, projecting the image you want your practice to have. For example, if you’d like patients to report courteous behavior and compassionate staff (and you do), go above and beyond to ensure each person experiences just that.

 

Remember, in today’s high-tech society, what you say to a patient could be posted online immediately.

 

4. Request Feedback

If you’re not receiving many online reviews, it might be because you’re not encouraging patients to leave them. Ask your patients if they’d be willing to leave reviews about their experiences online when you send them follow up emails.

According to a 2016 survey, 70% of consumers said they’ll leave a review for a business if they’re asked to.  If you’re concerned about asking for public feedback, know that requesting reviews rarely hurts a practice. In fact, more than 50% of patients report leaving positive reviews when they do rate a business. To compare, only 7% of patients write negative reviews.

 

5. Hire a Reputation Firm

If your online reputation has gotten away from you, or if perhaps you’re just too busy to take the necessary steps to improve it, you may want to seek out professional assistance by hiring an online reputation management firm. These firms staff teams of professionals who can keep your online image focused on the positive aspects about your practice so you can put your best foot forward when being considered by new patients.

Reputation firms can also offer advice on responding to negative patient reviews and on improving doctor/patient relationships online.

 

6. Address Critiques Objectively

Before you do anything about a critical review, address it objectively. Consider the situation from the patient’s point of view, from a legal standpoint and from the public’s point of view. Examine the most professional response and how you can minimize the damage to your reputation while respecting confidentiality laws.

If you are feeling heated and upset by a negative review, come back to the review later on.

 

7. Think Carefully Before Addressing Anyone Online

Nothing looks worse than a doctor arguing with a patient online. For example, if a past patient claims your practice missed a diagnosis, to dispute this online would breach doctor/patient confidentiality laws and cause you to appear unprofessional.

Instead, doctors are encouraged to ask the patient to contact the practice for a specific response while offering apologies. Always address reviews professionally and do what you can to make it right. Do not acknowledge that a patient was in your office, or that you provided treatment for both positive and negative reviews.

 

8. Don’t Create Fake Reviews

Filling a website with dozens of fake positive reviews might sound like the easiest way to improve your online reputation. Instead, this can quickly ruin a practice. Not only is this fraudulent behavior, but many review sites regularly scan for fake reviews.

If the authenticity of your positive feedback cannot be verified, the reviews may be removed and your practice may be flagged for fabricated reviews. It’s just not worth it.

 

9. Respond to Positive Reviews

When you receive a positive review, thank the patient for his or her kind words about your practice. Leave an uplifting, professional response that shows your commitment to patient satisfaction. Do not, however, share any patient information that could violate privacy laws.

 

Stay clear of phrases like, “It was great to see you,” or “Thank you for visiting the office.” Keep it vague and positive such as, “Thank you for the kind words.”

 

Patients prefer visiting practices that demonstrate active engagement with online reviewers.

 

10. Respond to Negative Reviews

Just as you should respond to positive reviews, you should also respond to patients who leave negative feedback. As previously noted, do not do so from an emotional state and always consider your response carefully. Ask yourself if anything you write violates confidentiality laws and if it shows your practice in the best possible light.

 

Most patients feel that it’s important for doctors to respond to all online feedback. In fact, only 27% of patients found it minimally important, or not at all important, for physicians to respond to negative reviews.

 

The right response can neutralize a negative review, preventing it from further damaging your reputation.

 

11. Don’t Get into Online Arguments

When you respond to a negative review, an upset patient might try to antagonize you into an argument. Regardless of what is said, even if the patient is lying, participating in an online argument will do worse for your reputation than the review itself.

Always respond professionally. If a patient instigates an argument, offer to discuss and resolve the matter privately, but do not otherwise engage in a dispute.

 

12. Promote Positive Reviews on Your Website

The positive reviews you receive can be your best marketing material. Promote positive reviews on your website, use quotes from happy patients in your marketing and draw attention to the good things your patients say about you. Before sharing or embedding patient reviews, however, always seek written consent from the patient to protect his or her privacy.

 

13. Be Extra Careful of Patient Privacy Laws

Patient privacy laws must be respected when responding to online reviews. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT of 1996 (HIPAA) obligates every healthcare practitioner to protect patient privacy.

 

Information gained through any part of the patient’s care should never be published publicly without proper authorization. Best practice is to never confirm that the patient was seen by your clinic, according to Dr. Danika Brinda of Planet HIPAA. Instead, thank the patient for sharing feedback, and if necessary, invite further discussion in private.

 

14. Train All Staff in Customer Service Best Practices

Patients leave reviews about their entire experience with a practice, not just with their doctor. Train every staff member in customer service best practices and make it company policy to follow these practices closely. Each phone call, front desk conversation and nurse interaction should be handled with friendly, professional behavior.

 

When patients read reviews, they’re not always focused on the quality of healthcare that each review reports. It might surprise you to learn that a combined 48% of patients say they value the friendliness of the medical staff and the ease scheduling appointments over other information when reading online reviews.

Every member of your staff, even those who do not regularly interact with patients, should be trained in the company customer service policy.

 

15. Maintain a Social Media Presence

Social media is an excellent way to find new patients, engage existing patients and improve your online reputation. Maintain a social media presence that provides useful information, updates about your practice and helpful, respectful answers to patient questions.

 

Many patients turn to social media in their online inspection of a healthcare provider. If you don’t have a presence, you’re selling your practice short. Over 40% of patients report that social media affects their choice in a healthcare provider and facility.

Today, 31% of healthcare professionals have already turned to social media for professional networking. Join these businesses and shine brighter than your competition in 2018.

 

16. Keep a Regular Social Media Posting Schedule 

Maintaining an effective social media account for your practice requires consistency. The right posting schedule will boost your traffic and help you find new patients.

 

Include your posting schedule in your organization’s social media guidelines to keep your staff on the same page. Over 30% of healthcare organizations provide similar social media guidelines to staff. If you do not have staff in charge of managing your social media, consider outsourcing the job to a reputation management firm.

 

17. Be a Thought Leader in Your Field 

Don’t settle for being an off-line doctor. Become a thought leader in your field. A thought leader drives innovation and brings new ideas to his or her given industry. Such leaders become popular, well-respected professionals in their fields, which increases exposure and boosts their online reputations.

Becoming a thought leader isn’t something you can earn a degree for and be done with, it’s a process. You must establish yourself as a reputable professional, refine your skills and bring new, improved ideas to the field on a regular basis.

 

18. Keep Your Online Private Life Private

When your patients look you up online, you don’t want them to see your nights out with friends, family barbecues and casual social media updates. Keep any private online profiles restricted so only friends can view them and never post personal opinions, photos or videos on your professional accounts.

Ideally, your patients shouldn’t find your personal social media accounts even if they go looking for them. If you have private information online and cannot remove it, an online reputation company can help.

 

19. Register Your Name as a Domain and Secure Relevant Web Properties

Registering your name as a domain dramatically improves your search engine optimization (SEO) and it can even protect you from scandal. When potential patients Google your name, the domain that matches your name will appear at or near the top of the page. If you don’t own this domain, someone else could purchase it for their own means or even to use it against you.

 

For example, a disgruntled patient or competitor could buy an unregistered domain – i.e. www.DrYourName.com – and post false content about you there.

You’ll also want to secure other relevant web properties on professional website, blogging platforms and more.

 

20. Verify and Claim Your Google Business Listing 

Claiming your business on Google provides a good starting point to control what’s displayed about you on Google searches. This includes business location, images, hours and reviews. Once claimed, you can use Google Business tools to improve your listing.

 

Visit www.google.com/business and log in with your professional Gmail account to create your free Google listing.

 

21. Read Reviews of Other Doctors to Identify Trends and Pain Points

Researching the competition is among the best ways for businesses in any field to boost their success. Read reviews from other local doctors so you can identify pain points and trends that impact what other patients are saying.

 

The more you know about how and why your competition succeeds or fails, the more information you have available to help improve your private practice.

 

22. Know Your Audience and Keep It Professional

Whether you’re posting on the company blog, your practice’s Facebook page or in response to a positive review, know your audience. Consider your patient demographic and use it to define how you present yourself. Also keep every post professional, clean and polite.

 

Doctors, more than many other types of professionals, must maintain complete professional presentation and neutrality.

 

24. Temper Your Expectations

Remember, overhauling your online reputation is a marathon, not a sprint. If you start cultivating your online reputation now, it will not look perfect in five days. However, if you work on your reputation every day, proactively address reviews and continue to improve your practice, you could end 2018 with an excellent online presence.

 

To put it into perspective, Google typically recognizes index profile changes every two to six weeks. This means you can expect some small changes about every month, but you will not dominate the front page of Google after one long night of reputation repair.

The more time you can devote to this, the better. If you don’t have hours of extra time to devote to managing your presence, consider outsourcing to someone who does.

 

25. Treat the First Page of Google as Your Business Card 

Whether you like it or not, Google results are the new business cards. It doesn’t matter what your traditional advertisements say if your potential patients find contradictory information on the front page of Google. Often, when a patient Googles a practice, he or she will look for another physician in seconds if the front page lacks information or displays negative reviews.

 

According to a 2016 survey, 88% percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Furthermore, 90% of consumers read fewer than ten reviews before forming an opinion about the business.

 

If your online reputation is less-than-perfect, launching a proactive approach will improve your practice’s success. Online reviews are a modern concern for practitioners in all fields of healthcare and the number of platforms used to facilitate patient reviews is rapidly increasing.

 

Whether your reviews are positive, negative, or nonexistent, knowing what’s out there is the first step in protecting both yourself and your practice.

 

26. Pay attention to your Facebook reviews and ratings

Facebook is increasingly becoming one of the more frequently relied upon review platforms. Many experts have so much as predicted that 2018 will be the year that Facebook reviews come of age and begin to rival Yelp and other platforms as the go-to source for customer sentiment about brands. You can be certain that doctors – especially those with the all-important social media presence – will be a healthy part of the mix.

 

Facebook is also a great place to speak to your patient base and directly ask them for reviews through organic posts. And since no one can hide behind an anonymous moniker, you can trust that the feedback you solicit should be a bit more reliable than on other platforms. Take advantage of the following you’ve built to solicit feedback.

 

27. Content marketing is essential, even for doctors

Not only can an effective content marketing strategy win you valuable organic search traffic, but those in your city who see you’ve published thought-provoking articles about your industry of expertise will also see you as a thought leader in your field. What better way to show the world you’re keeping up with current trends in the medical world than to publish a regular stream of articles about your profession? Useful content will be greatly appreciated by readers and it gives you an effective means of selling without being overtly sales-y. Even just one post per month will go an incredibly long way over a period of several years.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
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Urgent Care Marketing Strategies for Your Online Reputation

Urgent Care Marketing Strategies for Your Online Reputation | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Your urgent care marketing strategies and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts may have improved your search ranking. However, chances are low that you'll get any new patients if your practice shows up with a poor online reputation on Google. For your urgent care marketing to succeed, you'll need a stellar online reputation, and for that, you'll need help from your existing patients.

 

Online Reviews Help in Building Trust

 

Even after using creative marketing and ad campaigns, you may not be able to attract patients, as your top competitors are also there trying to impress them. Ads and campaigns show your biased information and patients know this. That’s why they trust online recommendations from other patients when choosing any urgent care practice. 68% of people trust a company with positive online reviews.

 

Patient Experience Boosts Your Online Reputation

 

In the midst of all sorts of marketing materials, it’s the experiential stories that resonate with potential patients the most. A potential patient looking for an urgent care would hardly think of selecting your practice if it doesn’t have a strong external support (in the form of online reviews) from its existing patients. Patients rely on hearing stories from other patients. According to a survey by Software Advice, 72% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a doctor.

 

Think of an online review as a recommendation from a neighbor who had a recent experience with your care. A patient residing in your locality faces an immediate need of care and wonders where nearby he/she can find a good urgent care center, so he/she asks your existing (happy) patient who refers him/her to you. It’s important for you to provide them with the best patient experience that is worth sharing about.

 

How to Balance Your Reputation Picture

 

Patients can sense fake or paid reviews. If your profile is showing only good reviews, some would think this means that either these reviews are fake or paid. No reviews are just as bad as fake or paid reviews. If your practice has no reviews, it would be very difficult for a patient to trust you.

 

The best way to show a more balanced picture of online reputation for your healthcare practice is automating the process of gathering reviews from your patients. Integrating reputation management tools into your patient management system (or your EMR) will let the reviews flow in automatically. Promote the positive ones on your social channels or website and tackle the negative ones and use them to improve your service and patient experience.

 

Online Reputation Management Is Crucial for Conversions

 

SEO and marketing strategies may help your urgent care practice rank higher in search results, but will not ensure conversion unless you have an improved online reputation. Search ranking helps you become visible in search results; the next step is how you convince your patients to select you. Being a healthcare practice, you cannot convince them by words, you need proof that comes from your existing patients. That’s where online reputation management becomes crucial in improving your online conversion goal.

 

We conducted a study that will help you understand how online reputation management helps in conversion. We analyzed data for one of our urgent care clients based in California for the period of Oct - Dec’17 when they were not managing their online reputation. That data was then compared to the period of Jan - Mar’18 when they automated their review management process through our reputation management tool.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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11 online reputation management techniques for doctors 

11 online reputation management techniques for doctors  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

At Digital Authority Partners, we are often asked about our doctor reputation management services. Usually, reputation management for doctors, as a service, is often sought if a doctor is:

  • dealing with too many negative medical reviews
  • involved in embarrassing public incidents
  • receiving negative press coverage
  • recovering from a malpractice lawsuit

 

Reputation management is critical to the success of a medical practice. When negative media coverage or online reviews about doctors appear online, medical practices see a one-third drop in visits and calls to their offices, causing a potentially disastrous financial impact.

 

When any of these events occur, doctors tend to enter “crisis mode” and often scramble to find the best strategies to restore their reputation.

 

Usually, reputation management companies refuse to divulge the techniques used to repair a doctor’s online reputation. Unlike most agencies, at Digital Authority Partners we prefer to be honest and transparent about how we approach reputation management for doctors.

 

If you or your medical practice are dealing with a reputation issue, read our ultimate guide to online reputation management, along with an explanation of how each technique works.

 

Every doctor should care about their online reputation

 

As early as 2012, 60% of US customers researched their doctors online. By 2016, 84% of patients researched new medical practitioners before their first appointment. Positive reviews and coverage are consistently considered important or very important before scheduling an appointment with a specific doctor.

 

The first page of Google search results tied to a doctor’s name or practice is the new business card. While some doctors may still choose to ignore this fact; their prospective patients will not.

 

The bad press won’t go away. So a lot can go wrong if you don’t address the problem head-on.

 

This is the simple truth about online reputation management for doctors: bad reviews and bad press coverage don’t go away. As a consequence, prudent doctors have taken very aggressive measures to guard their reputation. But there are good ways and catastrophic ways to restore your reputation. This article will only focus on the tried and true tactics to restore a doctor’s reputation.

Let’s pause for a second and explore the unfortunate ways some doctors try to deal with their tarnished online reputation.

 

According to Aaron Schur, Senior Director of Litigation at Yelp, the company regularly receives subpoenas from legal counsel retained by doctors to fix their reputation. Yelp rarely acts on these aggressive legal tactics to remove customer feedback.

 

Even though negative coverage never goes away, the worst thing a doctor can do is fight fire with fire.

 

In 2016, a Manhattan dentist sued multiple Yelp reviewers for their negative reviews – a move that backfired. The New York Daily News began its coverage of the suit in very unflattering terms: “A Manhattan dentist has been trying to extract money from patients who give him bad reviews online.” Then the case caught the attention of national media.

 

Worse yet, the case caught the attention of senior executives at Yelp. Two years later, potential patients going to the dentist’s Yelp page see this warning message:

 

Although you cannot delete negative coverage, you can bury it with positive content


The Manhattan dentist mentioned is a prime example of what reputation management companies advise against. Obviously, more negative coverage is the opposite of what a medical practice needs to restore trust in the digital space.

 

Instead, any reputation expert will advise its customers to focus on other strategies that are more likely to succeed. The best way to deal with negative reviews and coverage is to bury it with positive content.

 

How do you bury negative content? By replacing it with a single recipe for success: use Google’s search algorithm in your favor by creating valuable content that pushes the negative content associated with a business name after the first page.

 

It doesn’t happen overnight. And it’s easier said than done.

 

Regardless of your industry, there are specific white hat marketing techniques that can be employed to repair your online image. These are legitimate, widely accepted tactics promoted by some of the most renowned marketers in the world.

 

The rest of this article presents 11 tried and true tactics Digital Authority Partners leverages to successfully restore the online reputation of doctors. We strongly believe all doctors should know exactly what steps we follow to repair their online reputation.

 

Strategy Number 1: Build a website for yourself and/or your practice

 

The first and most valuable strategy to repair your reputation is to create a website dedicated to yourself and/or your practice. In some cases, you should consider doing both.

Why build a website for yourself or your medical practice?

A website serves multiple purposes. First – it introduces a doctor to the world. A good physician-dedicated website tells the story of a specific doctor, the values to which he or she adheres and provides testimonies about the quality of services the physician provides.

 

So, what makes a doctor’s website rank highly in Google search results?

 

Launching your own physician website has multiple benefits.

 

First, if done right, your website will be found when patients look up your name. That’s very powerful. Even if patients find some negative reviews, making a great first impression is imperative.

 

Second, in online doctor reputation management, it’s best to have a website that clearly presents all the critical information about yourself you want to be emphasized. Your website is a building block, a central place that will be used for all aspects tied to reputation management.

 

For example, one of the foundational strategies to improve an online reputation for a doctor involves the act of securing backlinks to the cornerstone digital property. That can be your own personal website or a website dedicated to your business.

 

Either way – for any reputation management campaign to succeed you need one primary digital property that you own and control. The reason that matters is that a centralized digital property with a robust analytics platform is needed to actually measure and improve on the overall effectiveness of your reputation management campaign.

 

Third, a personal website is your own forum. It’s where you can share updates about your practice, show your thought leadership, and engage with patients.

 

In short, having a website is the single most important tactic of reputation management for doctors.

 

Strategy Number 2: Start a blog directed to your patients


If you talk to 10 marketers, all 10 will tell you that the best way to manage your reputation is to have a blog.

 

A blog lives on the internet forever (or as long as you pay for your web hosting).

 

More importantly, a blog allows you to speak to your patients – current and future – to show your expertise and the value you bring to your clients.

 

Most important of all, a regularly updated blog is more likely to bring new clients, garner repeat business, and help you and/or your practice rank higher in Google search results.

 

Why launch a blog for yourself and/or your medical practice?

 

Starting a blog may seem to be a daunting task. How often should you publish content? Will you regularly have time to do it? Is it really worth it?

 

If you talk to any reputation management company, you will often see a list of clear and indisputable benefits tied to starting a blog. If you are in process of repairing your reputation online, here are some quick reasons why you should start a blog for your practice or yourself.

 

As other experts have pointed out, a pleasant side effect of physician-run blogs is that they lead to more business and referrals.

 

Most importantly though, from a pure reputation management perspective, a physician blog (preferably on your website) nearly guarantees that your content appears at the top of the Google search results. This is why most reputation management companies make the creation of new and original blog content the Number 1 technique to bury negative results in Google.

 

In sum, no legitimate reputation management campaign can succeed without creating great blog content on behalf of a doctor.

 

Strategy Number 3: Create blog posts for other websites


The key to success, when dealing with a reputation management issues, is to create relevant, timely content associated with a physician’s name on multiple platforms. 

 

However, even if you create the single best physician blog on the internet, that will likely only bury one of the first ten Google search results.

 

A robust doctor reputation management campaign needs to do more than that. The easiest way to bury negative reviews or press coverage is to create new content on other websites as well. For example, at agencies like ours, we have partnerships with over 400 blogs that accept guest submissions from the doctors and clients we represent.

 

First, we work with each client to determine the topics that will best showcase their expertise. Then our team of writers creates long, in-depth content pieces that are published under our client’s name on other websites. As part of the guest posting efforts, we secure backlinks to our physicians’ websites or social media profiles.

 

If you are a doctor with a significant reputation management issue, guest posting is one of the best strategies for displaying additional Google search results when a patient looks online for your name or the name of your practice.

 

Guest posting is perhaps the most popular doctor reputation management tactic for restoring physicians’ online reputations.

 

Clearly, guest posting has numerous benefits, but the technique is primarily used to get backlinks to specific interviews and news coverage about you and your company. Guest posting can be on another physician website, blog, or social media profile. Links from guest posts will point to whatever content we create for you.

 

Strategy Number 4: Create powerful social media accounts

 

(Linkedin, Facebook) for your medical practice
Google takes a wide variety of digital signals into consideration when ranking content for a specific search term. When running a doctor reputation management campaign, the best way to get meaningful results is by tackling all the major signals drawing Google’s attention.

 

It is well established that social media activity has an impact on Google search results. Specifically, Google is drawn by the number of visits to specific websites and blog posts receive directly from social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin.

 

This strong correlation between Google search results and social media activities is what drives most successful reputation management campaigns for doctors to include a social media component. Creating robust social media profiles combined with frequent posts has proven to be a very effective reputation management technique.

 

By creating strong social media accounts with regular posts, every doctor with whom we perform reputation management initiatives will see their social media profiles rank on the first page of Google search results tied to their own or their firm’s name within 60 days.

 

Social media is a powerful tool not only for restoring your online reputation but also for proactively engaging your patients and future clients. An article from March 2018 reveals how various physicians all over the US leverage social media to combat misinformation – not only about their own practices but also about specific conditions, diagnostics, and other timely healthcare news that could affect their patients (ex., flu season, epidemics, etc.).

 

This makes social media management incredibly relevant not only for reputation management but also for long-term digital engagement with your patients.

 

Strategy Number 5: Claim your Google business listing online

 

According to Google, 97% of users search for local businesses and local business owners names online. For that reason, reputation management campaigns often focus on what is called “local SEO practices.”

 

The first priority when improving a doctor’s reputation is to make sure locals searching for a doctor’s name see relevant results – preferably not the questionable ones.

 

To that end, the most important step when initiating a local SEO strategy is for a practice to claim its local Google business listing.

For example, here’s the Google listing page for a doctor in the Chicago area:

 

When searching for Dr. xyz name, Google search results return her image, Google map location, specialty, address, and phone number.

 

Since reputation management campaigns center on optimizing the Google search results, claiming, optimizing, and managing a Google business listing page is important for online reputation management.

 

Google allows for mini-posts on the Google listing page – something that helps with SEO and reputation management initiatives.

 

This is one of various “social” online listings that carries a lot of weight when tying a doctor’s name and medical practice to Google search results.

 

There are many customization options on the Google Business Listing dashboard, giving doctors the opportunity to create powerful and influential profiles for potential patients to visit.

 

Strategy Number 6: Respond to all reviews on Google/Yelp

 

When looking for new service providers, most customers go to two sources: Google and Yelp.

 

For doctors who are doing well – reviews are a great way to attract new customers. For doctors dealing with unhappy customers and other PR baggage, online reviews can be a nightmare.

 

Doctors’ responses to the new world of online reviews have not always been appropriate or even legal.

 

In 2016, a Washington Post investigation into 3000+ physician responses to negative reviews on Yelp and Google showed that an alarming number of doctors violated HIPAA compliance rules when responding to disenchanted patients. Other doctors – who used a passive aggressive tone or responded rudely to online reviews opened the door to additional criticism and unwanted attention from online users who were offended by physicians’ postings.

 

In general, doctors should not take it upon themselves to respond to online reviews. That’s because it is impossible to not feel emotional when dealing with negative comments. Instead, doctors should either designate a staff person to this task or outsource responses to reputation management consultants. This approach will often avoid making a situation worse or drawing more unwanted attention.

 

Responding to a negative review poorly is not the only problem doctors face with regard to their online reviews. Another unfortunate tactic some physicians erroneously employ, not addressing online reviews at all.

 

Neither strategy is good. Some doctors have reported a 30% loss of business after negative Yelp reviews. As one doctor put it, “Yelp reviews can literally be the bane of many doctors’ existence.”

 

Online reviews aren’t only read by patients. A 2013 study showed that 86% of doctors read their own reviews; 36% also regularly check their competitors’ reviews. As a result, online reviews can affect not only a physician’s ability to acquire new patients but also his/her standing as a member of the medical community as a whole.

 

In general, the appropriate course of action for doctors dealing with online reviews is to respond to every single new review – positive or negative. That shows others researching doctors that you listen to your patients’ concerns and address them professionally.

 

Don’t forget – you can’t make everyone happy. However, you can treat everyone with respect and courtesy – especially when everyone in the world can see your online interactions.

 

How should physicians and reputation management agencies respond to Google and Yelp reviews?

 

The best approach is to answer to every single online review as part of your ongoing reputation management activities.

 

But how should a physician respond to negative reviews online?

 

There are many ways doctors can tackle negative reviews in their reputation management campaigns. Through it all, remember this point: a bad review doesn’t ruin a business. It’s impossible to please everyone. The best technique is to keep your head cool and to give professional answers to every single review online – good, bad, or ugly.

 

Strategy Number 7: Create medical profiles on relevant directories and social media sites designed for doctors


One of the best approaches to online reputation management for doctors is to create rich profiles on a wide variety of platforms set up specifically for doctors. Just like mainstream social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin, social media platforms for doctors stand a very good chance to rank organically in Google for the search term associated with the name of a specific doctor.

 

Some popular social media platforms and directories for doctors are:

 

CareDash: As one of the fastest growing provider review sites, CareDash uses artificial intelligence to help detect and stop the publication of fraudulent reviews. Doctors can easily create and personalize their profile, and patients trust the platform to help them confidently choose their care provider.


Doximity: An online social network for doctors with verified clinicians’ profiles. As of 2018, the network has over 1,000,000 doctors and physicians. That’s approximately 50% of all doctors in the US.


Healthcare6: An online directory that helps patients find doctors based on specialty and location. The company currently lists almost 3 million doctors and health care providers.


Sharecare: An online health and wellness platform and doctor directory. Sharecare lists each doctor’s full profile – including insurance plans, years of experience, biographical information, specialties, professional affiliations, and educational background. The platform also allows doctors to answer questions and provide thought leadership on specific topics.


WebMD: One of the largest healthcare news and directories in the world. The company allows doctors to create free profiles and advertise on the platform to get new patients.
How physicians and reputation management agencies should optimize healthcare directory profiles

 

Healthcare directory profiles play a critical role in reputation management campaigns. This infographic shows the top reasons why doctors should care about their online directory profiles:

 

For reputation management companies, creating online profiles in established directories is an “easy win” to influence Google search results. Given the nature of some of the directories – where doctors need to verify their identity – new profiles for specific doctors are usually easy to set up and then rank in Google. Google sees verified directories as highly legitimate social signals for ranking those profiles highly for specific keywords.

 

Whether you are actively working on your reputation or not, one thing is certain: you should absolutely have yourself and your practice listed on some of the most popular – and free – directories in the US.

 

Strategy Number 8: Be helpful online by posting on relevant Q&A sites and threads


One often ignored technique for ranking high in Google search results is the practice of creating profiles on Q&A websites and responding to questions posted on message boards that are within the doctor’s specialty.

 

For example, Quora is the most popular question and answer website in the world. It ranks 90th among the most popular sites in the world and 3rd for Q&A sites. On Quora, anyone can create a profile under their own name and contribute to the community.

 

However, Quora has a lesser known benefit. Engaged users who create relevant content using their actual names, can be up-voted by their users. This usually results in that individual profile ranking higher for the name of its author.

 

In simple terms: a doctor can create a Quora profile under his/her name. After answering questions on specific topics, the Quora profile link will appear in the results of a Google search when a user looks for the name of a specific doctor.

 

How physicians and reputation management agencies use Quora to rank organically in Google

 

Strategy Number 9: Use YouTube to post promotional content, highlight testimonials and make your YouTube profile rank highly in search results


Here is a lesser-known fact: YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. Furthermore, YouTube is also a tried and true tactic that has become increasingly popular among doctors to attract new patients, learn new methods, and even attract new employees.

 

In addition, YouTube allows users to create a custom URL in their own name for their channel. As that URL gets backlinks, it will start ranking in search results.

 

The SEO benefits have made creating a channel and getting a custom URL a very popular technique for reputation management firms.

 

Of course, there is a catch. According to Google, a channel must meet the following criteria to get a custom URL:

 

  • Have at least 100 subscribers
  • Be at least 30 days old
  • Have an uploaded channel icon photo
  • Have uploaded channel art

 

This means that if a reputation management company is to reap the SEO benefits for a client from YouTube, it’s not enough to just create a YouTube profile.

 

Reputation management companies need to work with a client to create relevant video content. Then, the video content needs to be promoted. Potential subscribers need to be found and encouraged, through campaigns, to follow the channel.

 

In the end, this is worth the effort. When a doctor or reputation management company uses YouTube correctly, the YouTube channel for a specific physician can become one of the top ten search results associated with a specific doctor’s or practice’s name.

 

How physicians and reputation management agencies use YouTube to rank organically in Google.

 

Many doctors feel intimidated by video content. When we think video – we think high tech video editing, sound editing, special effects, and more.

 

Actually, any doctor with a smartphone can become a videomaker. The videos can be about any relevant healthcare topic. Some examples include testimonials, health-related tips/tricks, video from a conference, etc.

 

Any video – small or big – can help with reputation management. Especially when you are dealing with negative online reviews, YouTube becomes a great channel for online visitors to see you in action, since your personality and charisma, and relate to you as a doctor outside of any negative reviews found online.

 

YouTube is one of the most powerful tools to quickly and efficiently improve your online reputation.

 

Strategy Number 10. Use SlideShare to showcase your expertise, thought leadership and skills as a doctor
Creating a powerful SlideShare online profile is another popular technique used by reputation management companies to remove negative reviews from the first page of Google search results.

 

SlideShare is a social network allowing users to publish professional presentations, infographics, and documents online. The website gets approximately 80 million visitors a month and has over 30 million users. In 2012, the company was purchased by LinkedIn for $119 million.

 

How physicians and reputation management agencies can use SlideShare to rank organically in Google

 

SlideShare has long been used for marketing and SEO purposes. Like other techniques presented in this article, SlideShare is simply another online social network which, when used correctly, can offer businesses and physicians a much-needed search result in the process of burying negative results in Google.

 

Like Quora, SlideShare is created around topics. This makes it easy to create a robust strategy to rank higher in Google search results.

 

As with other techniques discussed in this article, SlideShare is great for reputation management. Prepared correctly, Slideshare accounts can even replace other Google search results and help physicians rank higher for their own content.

 

Strategy Number 11: How physicians and reputation management agencies track online presence in real time


Reputation management never stops. Even when a specific issue is resolved, physicians must be diligent about their online presence and quickly react appropriately when necessary.

 

The best way to handle your reputation management is to create a Google custom alert. When users go to this link they can set up a specific alert for any word or combination of words of interest:

 

In the search bar, a doctor can enter a personal name or the name of the business. Any time the name is mentioned online, an email alert is sent.

 

This strategy is very effective because it allows doctors to easily maintain their reputation management.

 

Rather than waiting until the last possible moment to respond to negative reviews or negative PR coverage, physicians can deal with problems early.

 

In reputation management, it’s imperative to answer criticism proactively and quickly counter any negative publicity.

 

This simple tactic will keep you instantly informed and give you peace of mind. With custom alerts, you can sleep well at night because you know you have access to any good or bad online news as soon as your name is mentioned.

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How Doctors Can Save Their Online Reputation and Flourish

How Doctors Can Save Their Online Reputation and Flourish | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Every doctor now gets searched online, as many patients and prospects base their choices on reviews. Since they make judgments based on what they discover online, it’s imperative to know what’s being said about you so that you can manage your online reputation. Even if you execute caution on what your online posts are, someone else may say something negative or unfair about you. Here are strategies on how to protect online reputation for doctors.

Reputation Risks for Doctors

Some doctors may assume the best way to protect online reputation is to delete negative comments and hide behind security settings on Facebook or Twitter. But if people suddenly can’t find you after reading a negative review, it raises questions. Keep in mind that everyone from celebrities to unknown clerks is at risk of facing negative online content about them.

 

A Deloitte global survey of executives in 2014 found that reputation is considered the biggest business risk. In fact, 87% of the respondents said reputation risk was a greater concern than business strategic risks. Over 40% of executives fear the consequences of reputation damage can involve loss of revenue.

 

The biggest challenge is cleaning up the mess created by what other people say about you online. While you can control the content you post about yourself, you can’t stop what others decide to say, whether they have a legitimate complaint or are just recklessly trying to damage your reputation. Perhaps they are a dissatisfied patient, a disgruntled former employee, a competitor or someone hired by a competitor to spread negativity.

Impact on Referrals

One of the biggest drivers of new leads in the healthcare industry is referrals. When you see a drop off in referrals it can be a sign that people are finding negative reviews about you online. So, be sure to Google search your name periodically to find out what others see. Keep in mind that not everyone is served the same results, since Google uses cookies that track your online interests. Each individual gets different results, so it’s important to check on various computers.

 

A Harris Interactive survey in 2012 of 2,570 adults found that 48% of who Googled their own name said the results they found were not positive. Furthermore, 30% said they found results that were irrelevant. Those are pretty alarming statistics, considering Google is the world’s most used search engine.

How To Protect Your Online Reputation?

Luckily, there is an innovative technology you can use to track and defend your online reputation. One of these tools is Google Alerts, which sends you free notifications when new content based on your keywords appears online. Several other tools can help you track what people are saying about you or your keywords on social media. Here are additional steps you can take:

  1. find out who the people are that are posting negative comments
  2. if the information is false, ask them politely to remove the comments through a private message
  3. consider a service that scrubs online content
  4. review your own social media and blog posting and consider removing any content that may offend others
  5. purchase your own domain name and launch an official website so that you control content about yourself
  6. create many pages for your site to increase the odds that search engines will prioritize them
  7. Develop about 9 other web properties with regularly updated content including social media profiles to further dominate search results

Over to You!

It is crucial to protect your online reputation as a doctor since many patients now based decisions on online reviews. Stay on top of your own online content and consider hiring someone to manage your online reputation.

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Reviews Online Rank Top-Rated Hospitals Poorly 

Reviews Online Rank Top-Rated Hospitals Poorly  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

An analysis of nearly 2,700 online reviews of the nation’s top-20 hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) finds almost two out of three reviewers give the facilities a mediocre to a poor rating on the social media website Yelp.com.

 

Each year the magazine names 20 hospitals for outstanding clinical outcomes in 16 areas of complex specialty care. Meanwhile, from another perspective, an analysis by Denver-based consulting firm Vanguard Communications & Healthcare Process Improvement found that 62.7 percent of Yelp reviewers rate the latest ranked top institutions at only one to three stars out of five possible.

 

The 20 hospitals combined earned an average rating of 3.2 out of five stars.

 

USN&WR published its latest rankings in August based on the best clinical performances of hospitals nationwide. However, on social media, patients tend to discuss customer service far more often. According to Vanguard’s evaluation of 2,679 reviews of the top 20, nearly 9 in 10 (84 percent) complaints cited nonclinical, service issues as the main source of their dissatisfaction, ranging from chronic billing problems, to poor phone and follow-up communications, to wait times of one to four hours or more to see a doctor.

 

Ironically, most online healthcare reviewers who complain about customer service wind up praising their doctors and typically appear satisfied with the quality of medical care, said Ron Harman King, Vanguard CEO.

 

“Each year U.S. News & World Report performs a great public service by evaluating hospitals in areas that are least transparent and accessible to healthcare consumers,” King said. “We thought it would be interesting to learn more about what patients thought. Our findings suggest they focus their online comments more on nonmedical matters such as how many rings or pushed buttons it takes to get a live person on the phone, and the availability of parking for a doctor’s appointment. This is understandable, given the greater transparency of quality of those services.”

 

Vanguard’s prior social media research found patients freely express gratitude for doctors’ individual performances. A 2016 Vanguard analysis of 34,748 online healthcare reviews showed that 2 out of 3 American patients (66 percent) give doctors either four or five stars on social media.

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Physician Online Reputation Management

Physician Online Reputation Management | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Negative content published about physicians and other health professionals can detrimentally affect their online reputations and the success of their practices. Defamatory online content can take the form of doctor reviews on websites such as www.RateMDs.com and www.HealthGrades.com or as misleading newspaper articles that paint a physician in an incorrect or unflattering light.

Doctors seeking to control their reputations online have turned to a wide range of tactics. How doctors can manage negative content online is varied.  Some approaches can help their practice reach new levels of success; others can backfire, causing significant digital PR headaches.

Tactics that work for physician reviews by patients are different from those used to combat incorrect information that’s published by media organizations. That said, by developing a comprehensive internet reputation management, or an online reputation management (ORM) strategy, physician reviews and ultimately reputation become a positive way to deal with virtually any type of negative content.

 

Medical Practice/Physician Reputation & Review Management

ReputationDefender has recognized that physicians rely heavily on their online reputation/reviews and after consulting with many individual doctors from across the US, have developed services and tools to assist in monitoring, improving and repairing online reviews and reputations.  As you’ll see below we’ve laid out so general best practices for improving or maintaining your current online physician review and reputation situation, however we also realize that a physicians time is highly valuable and may be better spent elsewhere.  To this end ReputationDefender has developed ReputationDefender® and Reputation for Business, two services that can a help doctor build, improve or repair their online presence.

 

Reputation for Business

While Reputation for Business offers a number of different levels of service, from simple monitoring through to a fully managed PR service, the top packages are designed to not only save many hours/month that typically need to be spent on ones online presence but also to increase business by nipping bad reviews in the bud and improving the online presence of the business through positive reviews from a doctors actual clients.  Reputation for Business is a service that ReputationDefender recommends every doctor and practice have in place – the increase in business from a positive online presence is priceless.  To fix physician reviews or simply create a buffer of positive reviews, Reputation for Business is a service and not just an online tool that puts you back in charge of your businesses reputation.

Are online reputation issues hurting your practice?
 

ReputationDefender 

ReputationDefender® is a very specific service, and unlike Reputation for Business is not something that is recommended (or needed) for most physicians.  ReputationDefender® has be specifically designed for doctors that have been attacked online through blogs, articles, and review sites by disgruntled patients or former employees.  Unfortunately under the law it is virtually impossible to have a court order the removal of online content, however it can be suppressed through techniques that we’ve developed here at ReputationDefender.  Essentially anyone that Google’s you or your practice won’t look past the first couple pages of results, and if all they find are positive articles, reviews and sites then the negative material is substantially mitigated.

 

Best Practices for Online Review/Reputation Management

Tip 1: Focus on the positive, and share factual information.

When it comes to consumer-generated content, some doctors have tried to patch up their Internet reputations by asking patients to sign will-not-review agreements. This approach is prone to failure. First, legal precedent makes it unlikely that such agreements would hold up in court. Second, doctor’s risk alienating long-term patients and encouraging spite-based online reputation attacks. The website RateMDs.com even maintains a “Wall of Shame” for physicians who try to prevent patients from posting reviews.

 

A better approach is to keep tabs on the kinds of criticisms being leveled against your Internet reputation and to post factual information to counter these critiques.

 

Keep tabs on criticisms

Many physician review websites allow MD’s to display professional profiles, which can be used to defuse potential attacks and to control your reputation. Doctor-patient confidentiality prevents you from directly engaging online critics; however, you can address common themes in a general manner.

 

For instance, patient comments like “The doctor seemed rushed” can be downplayed with a statement such as “We are one of the few specialty practices in this area, and we pride ourselves on serving as many patients as possible.”

 

Need personalized reputation advice?

A creative, positive response exists for virtually any criticism. And when you do find content that addresses a genuine shortcoming, use it as an opportunity to improve your practice.

Provide factual information to counter critiques

When it comes to media organizations, don’t even think of trying to threaten them; you’ll just generate more negative content. Your best bet is to provide clear, factual evidence that they have unjustly tarnished your professional online reputation.

  • Contact the organization to identify the editor responsible for the piece.
  • Prepare a concise description of the facts for that individual, and politely request that the article be retracted or corrected.
  • Persistence is key: Continue with periodic, polite requests until you get a response.

For more information on how to contact newspapers about incorrect or negative content, see this article.  How doctors can manage negative content online can be tricky business, but with persistence you can and will succeed.

 

Tip 2: Garner support from your patients.

Regardless of the source of your negative content, this tip involves getting your patients behind you. Enough positive physician reviews by patients will outweigh a few negative ones, and they can also help mitigate misleading newspaper articles.  By sheer mass of positive feedback you can fix physician review situations.

Are online reputation issues hurting your practice
 

Be aware of your bedside manner

Patients mention a doctor’s bedside manner in online forums more than any other factor, so you can do a lot to inspire would-be positive reviewers by making patients feel valued. Work on developing conversational strategies that instill trust without significantly lengthening patient visits. If you need to rush to get through a busy day, explain why. Also give the patient some avenue for seeking further information or asking questions, whether that takes the form of a nurse or physician’s assistant who can tackle their concerns or your promise to respond later via email.

 

Request feedback from patients

Next, encourage patients to write good reviews. Directly asking for praise might turn off some patients, but there are a lot of ways to gently foster positive feedback. You might consider some of the following:

  • Quote a few positive reviews, listing the source, on your patient intake forms or information brochures.
  • Post a sign in your waiting area saying that you value patient feedback, whether in person, by phone or email or via online forums.
  • Link to positive content on your practice’s website.
  • Send follow-up emails encouraging patients to provide feedback.

 

Tip 3: Engage an online reputation management (ORM) service.

If you find yourself in the midst of a negative media storm, the self-help approaches above may not be sufficient to resolve your negative content. Even if the newspaper agrees to correct the article, someone may have reposted the earlier, defamatory version on his or her blog. In this case, you’ll need to enlist professional help.

 

Need personalized reputation advice?Schedule a free consultation

First, it makes sense to employ a monitoring service that will alert you to any new developments in your Internet reputation. You want to know if someone reposts negative content and also if new, derivative attacks appear in response.  This is an important step in how doctors can manage negative content online.  Online review management and online reputation management is a time consuming task, employee a professional service will save you time and most likey money as all the issues that you’re facing are issues that professional services deal with on a daily basis.

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10 of the Best Tools to Monitor Your Online Reputation

10 of the Best Tools to Monitor Your Online Reputation | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The ability to track what people say about you online has several benefits.

You can leave timely feedback on comments about you. It can help improve your products and services.

Most of all, monitoring what people say about you online will help you maintain a good reputation.

Here are 10 tools that can help you monitor your online reputation, irrespective of your niche.

1. Google Alerts

Google has several valuable free tools for marketers and SEO pros, and Google Alerts is one of them. If you’re a seasoned marketer, then you probably already know and use it, either for monitoring your brand or for content creation.

Simply enter your company name the same way you’d enter terms in your niche you want to get alerts for.

For example, this is an alert for “search engine marketing”:

 

You’ll get email notifications of your mentions via Google’s database, based on your preferences: as they happen, at least once a day, and at most once a week.

2. Social Mention

Social Mention monitors more than 80 social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The results also display the following information to help you measure, monitor, and improve your brand’s reputation:

  • Strength: The likelihood that your brand is discussed on social media.
  • Sentiments: The ratio of positive mentions to negative mentions.
  • Passion: The likelihood that people talking about your brand will do so repeatedly.
  • Reach: The number of unique authors who write about or mention your brand.

Here’s what it looks like:

 

Another reason to use it: Social Mention is free.

3. Trackur

Trackur calls itself the “broadest social media monitoring” tool — a debatable claim. In trying to live up to such a lofty promise, it has several features to help you monitor your brand online.

 

Trackur offers full monitoring of all social media and mainstream news sites, insights like trends, keyword discovery, and influence scoring.

For example, this is what the dashboard looks like when I type in the keyword “Facebook.”

 

Additionally, if you offer social media monitoring as a service to clients, you can pay to customize your dashboard with your logo, URL, and your own colors.

4. SentiOne

SentiOne helps you to pay attention to what your customers or others generally are saying about your brand. With SentiOne, you’ll get access to not just real-time data but historical data too – what people may have said about your brand in the past before you began using SentiOne.

You can track mentions of your brand, social profiles, or other keywords.

 

If you feel you’ll experience information overload, since SentiOne scours thousands of web sources to find mentions of your brand, you can easily filter the number of keywords you’re tracking.

Plus, you can filter results into positive or negative mentions, where the latter can help you act quickly to avert crisis where necessary.

 

5. Reputology

Reputology is a review management and monitoring platform for multi-location businesses. Put simply, it helps businesses manage and monitor reviews online.

 

Apart from social media sites, you can “listen” to what customers are saying about your site from industry-specific review sites in the hospitality, dining, healthcare, fitness, and real estate niches.

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To ensure you handle negative reviews efficiently, Reputology converts them into customer service tickets.

6. Review Push

This online review management software helps businesses with multiple locations to monitor social media and popular review sites (e.g., Facebook, Yelp, Google, Yellowpages, Foursquare).

 

The best part isn’t only that you’ll get all reviews from any site in one place, but when you set up email alerts, you can respond to any review, positive or negative, directly from your inbox with Review Push.

 

You can also see the review sites on the web or in your industry that your business is not yet listed on. Then Review Push ranks your stores’ review performance online so you can easily see which store should improve its product or service delivery.

If you’re wondering how you’ll get reports from multiple locations, there’s multi-level reporting where you can get reports from corporate, regional, or store level.

7. Chatmeter

Chatmeter was designed to help companies collect and analyze customer feedback and improve customer experience for multi-location brands and agencies.

 

It notifies you via email of any reviews found on over 20 local search and review sites. In addition, you’ll get notifications when there’s new content about your brand.

Chatmeter has tools that enable you to spy on your local competitors to see how you stack up against them and what you can learn from their activities.

 

Their widget allows you to share reviews from external sites on your website and store’s pages. And if you create a new profile on a listings’ site, your profiles on other listings sites are automatically updated with any current information.

8. Reputation Ranger

Created for four niche industries — restaurants and bars, hotels and travel, automotive sales and services, and plumbers and home contractors — Reputation Ranger monitors Facebook and industry-related sites to create alerts and reports.

 

Broken down by niche, it comes to:

  • 15 websites plus Facebook in the hotel and travel niche.
  • 12 websites in the restaurant and bar niche.
  • 9 websites for plumbers and other contractors.
  • 12 auto-related review websites and blogs.

So you’ll largely get real-time monitoring and alerts of the review sites that matter most to your business, depending on your niche.

9. Reputation Health

If you have a medical practice, or you offer SEO and other online marketing services to medical practices, you may need Reputation Health.

 

t offers reputation management and online review monitoring for physicians. It monitors 23 review sites related to the medical practice, including DrScore, HealthGrades, UcompareHealthcare, and Vitals.

The software collects online mentions and reviews of what patients are saying about your practice and sends you email alerts.

10. Meltwater

What started as a press clipping service that scanned news sources to get keywords relevant to customers has since evolved into a full-blown media monitoring tool.

 

Today, Meltwater goes beyond press monitoring by adding social media listening into the mix with real-time analytics. It still offers the largest global media database, so you can be sure you’ll see all your mentions in the news media too.

 

If you’re keen on who’s talking about your competitors or where they’re getting features, or how many mentions they’re getting daily, weekly, or monthly in comparison to yours, you can track that via Meltwater too.

 

While you can see your reports and analytics from your Meltwater dashboard, you can also transform these reports into presentations directly from the dashboard and also share them with internal teams.

Conclusion

You can manually perform searches for your brand’s name on search engines or social media sites, but you’ll likely find a handful of results at best. Not to mention the sheer drudgery and valuable time you’ll need to spend on such an undertaking daily, weekly, or monthly.

 

The tools above will help you more easily and efficiently monitor your online reputation. Choose one that works best for your brand.

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RepuGen Is Now Fully Compliant with Google’s Review Policy Update

RepuGen Is Now Fully Compliant with Google’s Review Policy Update | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

RepuGen’s review generation process is in full compliance with the updated Google review policy. that clearly states their stance against review-gating.

 

Now, on the Thank You page for positive, neutral and negative feedback, we will always show the review sites where the patients can click to post their review. With that, unhappy patients now also get an option to submit their review directly on Google (and other review websites) right off the bat. You will still be notified when negative ratings are made, but due to Google’s policy we can’t avoid asking unhappy patients for reviews.

We’ll explain the new RepuGen review process later in this blog. First, let us re-acquaint you with the respective Google review policy update.

 

Google’s Update to their Review Guidelines
On April 12, 2018, Google updated its online review policy, according to which, businesses are no longer able to “discourage or prohibit negative reviews or selectively solicit positive reviews from their customers.” The move was to ensure that businesses gather reviews from all its customers, irrespective of whether they were happy or unhappy with the service, and that online reviews of a business on Google are an accurate reflection of the kind of service they can provide.

 

RepuGen’s Review Requesting Process [Updated]
All user accounts with RepuGen have been updated to be in full compliance with Google’s review policy, providing the patient the option to directly leave a review on Google regardless of their sentiment, positive or negative.

 

The process is the same for happy patients who rate their experience positively. That way, patients will see hardly any difference between a negative rating and a positive rating, but at the same time we’re not limiting the benefit of some of RepuGen’s best reporting features – specifically sentiment analysis and word clouds from the comments that patients write.

 

At RepuGen, we are committed to protecting our clients' businesses by keeping them always up-to-date with the latest industry guidelines and standards. The online reputation industry is constantly evolving, and with that these changes are often necessary to make.

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Online Reputation Management for Doctors 

Online Reputation Management for Doctors  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

As patients are increasingly turning to search engines and review sites for evaluating the quality of care, it's time that doctors should also be there to provide the answers that patients are looking for. With a proactive reputation management, doctors can leave the right impact that will convince patients and eventually acquire them. This article will guide you step-by-step in developing and managing your online reputation. The success of your healthcare practice depends on how positive a reputation it has with its patients. If that’s the case, then how do you determine your reputation? Referrals and word-of-mouth are still a well-known and common factors that relate to your reputation and patient acquisition, but then how many of your new patients rely on just these two factors to choose you? As a matter of fact, even after getting referred by their friends or family, or even by another physician, one of the first things that your patients will do is to research your or your practice and its reputation online to see what other patients are saying about you. 85% of (healthcare) consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. - BrightLocal While displaying positive patient reviews can certainly help your practice influence opinions in your favor, it doesn't mean that reviews are all that matters for your practice's online reputation. Users check, on an average, 12 different sources including content from review sites, social media, on-site testimonials, blogs, etc., before finally picking a provider. – Google All this sum up into two things: first, many other factors (apart from reviews) are responsible for your online reputation. Second, reviews and testimonials form a major part of it. The process that takes care of all these is called online reputation management. Related Blog: Why Doctors Should Pay Heed to Their Patient Reviews Online


What Is Online Reputation Management?
“Online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of crafting strategies that shape or influence the public perception of an organization, individual or other entity on the Internet. It helps drive public opinion about a business and its products and services. – Techopedia The definition encompasses almost every online marketing activity that directly or indirectly adds to the reputation of your practice and you. So, in those terms... ORM may involve utilizing your medical expertise to engage with your online patient community on Facebook to answer medical questions and concerns. Or, using the same expertise to provide relevant answers to your patients' health-related inquiries via content marketing, to establish yourself as an authority in the eyes of your audience and Google (by improving your search rankings). However, as the term 'reputation' exhibits more about your patients' beliefs or opinions, it's arguable that in its core, ORM strategy deals more with taking control of the online conversation. That way, ORM may involve using Twitter or Yelp to jump in on conversations and tackle negative or defamatory comments about your practice. Or, it could involve soliciting positive reviews from happy patients to improve the search engine rankings and the public-facing online reputation of your practice. With online reputation management, you can ensure your healthcare brand is decently positioned (and represented) not only on review sites, but on other important places like search results and social media timeline/feeds. If you are interested to see how these are done, we will explain later in the article. Before that, you should introspect whether your practice really needs reputation management or not. For that, you'll need to self-assess your current online reputation. How?


How to Assess Your Current Online Reputation
Have you ever Googled your practice or your provider's name to see how they appear in the search result? If you haven’t, do it now! A stellar online reputation starts with a robust internet presence. After all, if you are not properly visible, how can anyone say anything about your reputation? While you Google your practice, look for these in the search results: [Note: Try 'incognito' browser setting. It will ensure that the search results aren't influenced by the previous search activities on your desktop.] Your website: Ideally, your website should appear as the first result for a direct search (someone directly entering your brand name) on Google. If your site is well-optimized (with proper keywords), is well-indexed, isn't serving any penalty from Google, then it'll rightfully appear in the first result. Of all other content links in the search results, at least some should be the predominantly “owned” ones (i.e., those where you control the content). For example, your blog page where your brand owns the content. Appearing with more predominantly “owned” links means a high reputation in the eyes of Google. Review snippets: Google can fetch results from review sites too. Remember the review snippet in the search result.

 

If the review snippet appears, check for these:

 

  • Aggregate review scores are appearing from how many review platforms?
  • Is it only from Yelp, or from other review platforms such as HealthGrades and Facebook?
  • Are the aggregate review scores positive or poor?
  • Is there parity in the aggregate review scores of different review platforms?

 

To appear with review snippets from different platforms, your review profiles will need to be well-optimized for local online presence. For a high reputation, they'll also need to be mostly positive. Google Knowledge Graph: Appearing in the Google Knowledge Graph means you have a high online presence and reputation. The Knowledge Graph sums up the most useful information about your practice such as your picture, the map, the business address, telephone number, patient reviews, etc., all in one place.

 

healthcare client as it appears in Google's search result. We have blurred the photo, phone number, website and address because of privacy reasons)[/caption] However, appearing in the Knowledge Graph requires a well-optimized site and proper online listings of your practice on different third-party online directories, including Google My Business. [Read: Everything about online business listing and its relation with patient experience] Note: Google Knowledge Graph is the box that appears to the right of the search results and that contains information such as a map, the business address, telephone number, and also Google reviews. Tip: Search differently as patients will do. It means replacing related words around the keyword. For example, substituting “Dr. ABC Neurologist” or “Dr. ABC McArthur Boulevard” for “Dr. ABC, MD” will expand the search results. Search results for all these terms will slightly differ, and ideally for all these terms, you should appear decently parallel to make sure that your reputation is on terms with related keywords. While search engine reputation matters the most, social media reputation is no less important. That's why you'll need to assess your social media reputation as well. One of the best ways to assess your reputation on social media is by manually checking your social media profile pages and comparing them with your competitors. If you have been visiting your social media pages daily, you should already be aware of the situation. However, if your profiles are being handled by a social media marketing person or your practice manager,


Why You Should Focus on Facebook
Facebook is the most important platform as it's a highly sociable place where you get to learn from your patients' perspectives. For learning about your reputation with other stakeholders, such as referring physicians, pharma people, and medical industry influencers, Twitter and LinkedIn are the best. For now, stick with Facebook, as that's the place where you directly get to interact with your patients online. Also, in terms of monthly user traffic, Facebook is already the highest review generating site with 47% of its surveyed users having written a review in the last year. How do you assess your reputation on Facebook? Look for these: Review frequency: It's important that your profile page should be receiving reviews on a regular basis. An outdated database of reviews doesn't help patients in their decision making. Also, regular reviews help in increasing engagement and keeping up with the algorithmic actions on your profile.

 

also get a closer look at the content of the reviews, especially the negative ones with less star ratings. That will help you understand the factors that are causing a bad reputation among your patients. Review responses: Also, check how your reviews are being handled from your practice's end. If you find that reviews, especially the negative ones, aren't being handled carefully and tactfully, it means you need a reputation management team dedicated for the job. Engagement & interaction: Check for how the posts on your Facebook profile page are performing. Are they getting a sufficient number of responses in terms of likes, comments, and shares? You should check the quality of those comments too. That's because these metrics can indirectly affect the frequency and quality of your reviews. With these informative steps, you should be able to get an idea of where your current online reputation stands. If it needs improvement, don’t hesitate to make the changes necessary to optimize your practice’s reputation.

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Controlling The Message for Better Outcomes and Medical Practice Reputation

Controlling The Message for Better Outcomes and Medical Practice Reputation | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

We have yet to find an online physician and medical practice rating system that is “perfect.” Are you aware of how you rate on HealthGrades.com, or ratemds.com, or Vitals.com, or any of the dozens of other physician rating websites that populate the Internet?

 

If someone has taken the time to post a comment, does it represent your practice fairly or is it a one-time unflattering rant? And if the overall impression is “positive,” a practitioner may embrace the results. But “negatives” that don’t reflect well on the physician’s marketing, branding or reputation are frustrating if not infuriating.

 

If, for example, a patient feels that they’ve been rushed through an appointment or believes their concerns are being ignored, they may express their own frustrations and disappointments online. And once the unflattering comments are posted on the Internet, they are difficult to challenge or change, even when they are false or unjustified. (Contrary to what some paid services would like you to think, there’s not much that can be done to remove or erase such comments.)

 

Proactive control begins with the patient experience.
The most practical approach to positive patient comments is by being proactive. While you can’t control reactions to patient care, you can implement a deliberate program of communications and engagement that gives every patient the means to feel heard before turning to online social media.

 

The foundation, of course, is in consistently delivering an overwhelmingly positive patient experience. And when patients feel that you’re listening to their concerns and addressing them, they are more likely to become ambassadors, and make referrals to friends and family.

 

Communications strategies to enhance patient experience and physician marketing


The most effective communications programs include a variety of media and methods. Here are several strategies for showing your patients you are listening.

 

Learn how your patients prefer to communicate: While you may or may not like the idea of using email, text messaging or online scheduling, your patients might prefer to engage electronically. While it can be hard to monetize the time spent communicating outside the examining room, consider this an aspect of your marketing program. (And, yes…this all can be done within HIPAA guidelines.)


Collect email addresses and mobile phone numbers: Request this information on patient information forms and ask for written consent to contact them by email or text messaging when appropriate.


Use scripts for welcome, interaction and parting: Don’t leave your verbal communications to chance. Implement and train everyone in communications skills for positive interaction. Scripts are powerful tools to inspire patient feedback, clarify questions or concerns, and assess patient understanding of medical instructions, etc.


Text messages: Consider how to integrate a standardized follow-up text message to remind patients how to contact the office with any questions about their visit, diagnosis, medication or treatment.

 

Follow-up contacts: Utilize letters or survey questions following a visit to help assess the patient’s level of satisfaction. Even if they don’t reply, you’ll let them know you care enough to contact them, and to connect with new patients after their first visit.

 

Follow-up calls: A follow-up call a day or two after a patient’s first visit (or treatment or surgery) provides a clear and direct channel for questions and encourages treatment or medication compliance.


Post an FAQ page on your website: Provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions to further understanding and patient education. Remind patients during their office visit that the website is an information resource for their use.


E-newsletter: Regular communication by email/newsletter promotes your accessibility as well as your ideas.

 

Relevant educational materials: Empower your patients with relevant and research-based articles about health conditions. A reliable and authoritative source of your own is superior to potentially erroneous information online.

 

A consistent communications program has the potential to create the kind of advocates who are encouraged to go online and post glowing reviews of your services, as well as refute negative ones you can’t address yourself.

 

The good news is that some surveys say that most online comments are positive. More importantly, well-informed and engaged patients are more likely to experience better health and outcomes.

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10 Commandments of Online Reputation Management for Physicians

10 Commandments of Online Reputation Management for Physicians | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Across the board, reputation is an ever-present ingredient in health care marketing.

 

Informed and empowered consumer/patients do their homework, researching symptoms, medical conditions and hospitals. From branding to public relations (and everything in between), a physician’s reputation is a key component and influence factor.

 

And as many as 8 out of ten people will look online for information about individual doctors. And all of that happens long before they make an appointment…and what they find—positive, negative, neutral or nothing at all—influences their decision to call or not to call.

 

Perception is the reality: Who you are online is who you are to most people.

 

Many doctors fail to appreciate that their reputations extend far beyond their immediate circle of professional colleagues and current patients. In fact, far more people—the consumer public, prospective patients and many other physicians—know you first (and sometimes exclusively) by your online reputation.

 

It is the “management” side of Reputation Management that is most often neglected.

 

A physician carefully stacks the familiar building blocks, carefully aligning data points that include education, training, experience, academic papers, presentations, recognitions, etc.—all the stuff that fills a multi-page Curriculum Vitae (CV). And for the sake of conversation, let’s assume the CV is “sterling,” and the provider is a skilled communicator, has a caring “bedside manner,” and is trusted, well-know and well-liked by close colleagues, staff and patients. All good stuff.

 

The First 10 Rules. (What would you add to this list?)

 

Although there’s very little cost involved, the Internet has many facets and reputation management requires a systematic commitment of time and effort. (You may want some professional help, particularly to get things going at the outset.) Here are some of the essential concepts for effectively managing your online status:

 

Your reputation lives in two places: online and in-person. Pay attention to both daily. Few things have a higher priority for doctors…concern for their professional reputation is hard earned and constantly protected in their daily work. Physicians need no reminder of the “in-person” part. But the “online” part—which is often out-of-sight-out-of-mind—deserves equal concern and attention.


What’s online can hurt you and it can help you. The Internet is the home of “digital word-of-mouth.” Comments—either good or bad—tend to be seen as a form of endorsement, crowd sourcing, or social proof. Patient recommendations and testimonials can, and often do, significantly influence the decision process and provider selection of other patients.


The Internet never forgets. Never. It’s frustrating to think that user-generated comments often remain online (and available) even when they are incorrect, inaccurate, and often undated. Because things are “continuously available” online is further reason to keep your figurative stethoscope on this vital sign.


Proactively work your online presence at least once per week. It’s just good business sense to see yourself as other see you. Carefully examine these primary (and slightly overlapping) information arenas…


Search Engine Results – use a variety of keywords and search with Google, Bing, Yahoo! Search, Ask, Aol Search and others. Pay particular attention to listings or results that have a community connection.

 

Local Directory Listings – regularly check “find a doctor” sources with online Yellow Pages/SuperPages, business listings, insurance-provider lists, hospital databases, Google Plus pages, community, “area connect” or “city search” directories, medical society listings and the like.

 

Social Media – Primarily your own faces such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. Keep your own material fresh and engaging, and don’t overlook mentions that might appear in the social media platforms of others (such as discussion groups, events, blogs, etc.)

 

Physician Rating and Review Sites – Compile a list (and check each listing regularly) of online listings. A 2011 study of 4,999 online physician rating sites identified these 10 as the most commonly visited sites with user-generated content: HealthGrades.com, Vitals.com, Yelp.com, YP.com, RevolutionHealth.com, RateMD.com, Angieslist.com, Checkbook.org, Kudzu.com, and ZocDoc.com. (That leaves only 4,989 others.)

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Increase Patient Conversion With These Facts About Online Reviews

Increase Patient Conversion With These Facts About Online Reviews | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

A 2018 study published by ReviewTrackers found that online reviews are changing – for the better. Literally, reviews are getting more positive. They also found that people are using fewer characters to get their point across and that review-only sites are not growing as fast as social media and Google. We’ve talked before about how important it is to get good reviews on Google and how social media is the first place many go to find out about your practice. Below we present three of the findings that ReviewTrackers highlighted about the direction online reviews are going this year and how they can grow your practice.

 

More poetry than prose

Reviews are getting shorter. This is good news. People don’t have to slog through a rambling review to find out what the person wants to say. ReviewTrackers reported that “Reviewers are writing simpler and more to-the-point reviews. The average review has gotten 65 percent shorter since 2010 and is now roughly the size of a tweet.”

 

How this helps: With the rise of the tweet, people are learning to write succinctly about the businesses they visit. In this time-constrained, mobile world, we just want to know the facts. It also means that the barrier to entry is lower. We can ask patients to write short, factual posts quickly. It also means that people can read more positive reviews about your practice in less time (see point three below).

Rise of social and search

Review-only sites like TripAdvisor aren’t seeing as much growth in reviews as Google and Facebook. In fact, ReviewTrackers reports that Google and Facebook are now the No. 1 and No. 2 for online reviews.

 

How this helps: People & Practice dedicates its marketing efforts on a client’s Google MyBusiness profile and Google reviews. We also help practices develop and maintain an engaging and robust social media presence on Facebook – including targeted educational advertising. The data supports our findings that these are prime online channels for patient outreach and referrals.

 

The future is bright

Reviews are more positive than ever before. ReviewTrackers said in its report that “reviews are increasingly shifting from being a place where consumers air their grievances to being a place to recommend businesses after a positive experience.”

 

How this helps: Positive reviews convert people into customers. Other surveys have shown that half of consumers look for a 4-star rating at a minimum before they choose a business and 73% said that positive reviews make them trust a business more. Reviews are a serious business.

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Online Reputation Management for Doctors

Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

This is a sponsored post written by SearchReputation.net. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

 

Most doctors can manage their reputations informally through customer relationship management and how they treat their patients. But most are unfamiliar with more practical ways of managing their reputational risk.

 

Word of mouth is no longer local. Although most doctors operate locally, happy patients (your clients) now head online to tell their friends and family about their positive experiences.

 

The same applies to a poor experience.

 

Google works similarly to the human brain. It will put much more emphasis on bad results than good results. Likewise, the human brain has a negative bias that is more sensitive to negative news.

So, one bad result that manages to make its way on the first page of the SERP can ruin a doctor’s whole reputation.

 

There are many factors to assess:

  • How are you currently viewed by patients?
  • How often are you getting referrals?
  • Are you meeting the bedside expectations and practical expectations of patients?

 

Answering these basic questions should help doctors determine where they stand with their community.

Perception is reputation. Managing beliefs and perceptions will favor a healthy reputation – online and offline.

The Anatomy of ORM for Physicians

While medical treatment is necessary for our society and doctors for our health, doctors with bad reputations are definitely seeing fewer patients walk through the door.

 

Before identifying the signs of an unsavory online reputation for doctors, we at Searchreputation.net explain to doctors in “medical terms” what a good reputation looks like in the eyes of patients.

 

The SERP can be divided into three parts:

The Brain & Heart

The brain and the heart represent the first three results in the SERP.

 

Depending on the patient, they will think with their head or their heart when they see a bad review or result that high up about their doctor.

 

Whether they think with logic or emotion, neither is good in this situation.

The Stomach

The stomach is where things may shift in perception often oscillating from good one day and bad another.

 

It takes a lot of traffic behavior change for Google to shake the first couple of results. So, it will test what’s in the middle first.

 

Most individuals will be less phased by what they see in the middle. The click-through rate from position 1 to position 5 drops by 24.13 percent on desktop and 17.1 percent on mobile phones.

 

On phones, people are much less likely to scroll. So, the CTR for the first three results in mobile phones has skyrocketed recently.

The Rest of the Body

The last couple of results – and everything after that – are the rest of the body: the supporting functions (or, in this case, the supporting results).

 

The everyday consumer won’t be as influenced by supporting search results as they would be by higher ranking results.

Interestingly enough, most people will simply change their search if they don’t find what they are looking for within the first eight results.

Vital Signs of a Bad Reputation 

Unfortunately, the anatomy of online reputation management is not as well defined as it is for doctors who study the human body.

Google’s algorithms are much more complex and constantly changing.

 

So, what determines the reputational risk of doctors?

  • The gap between perception and reality.
  • Changing expectations and perceptions.
  • Operations and communications.

 

When a reputation crisis hits, it’s hard to quantify how much damage it will do in the short and long terms. The best gauge is quantifying qualitative responses.

 

  • Are you a doctor who has no bedside manners?
  • Do you make your patients wait an hour and a half with an appointment and only see them for five minutes?
  • Are you reliable?
  • Are your secretaries and nurses unresponsive?

 

Depending on your answers to these questions, evaluate how you meet the expectations of your clients. An accumulation of poor experiences will reenforce the unreliability of a doctor.

Don’t overestimate how much people may or may not like you. Looking yourself up is the best way to tell.

 

How? Enter your name with various keyword combinations.

 

Start with your full name and dr. in front. Then, drop your first name, add your city on the end and interchange words like reviewscomplaintspissedratingscomments, and news.

 

Anything bad come up? Your lifeline as a doctor running a business with “clientele” might be cut short.

What Now? 

So you’re a doctor with bad reviews, perhaps a minor disciplinary action, but you can still practice. How do you restore trust in clients?

  • Evaluate your practice. 81 percent of Americans believe that the first impression of a physician is extremely or very important. This is strongly associated with bedside manners, how much time they spend getting to know their patients, and quality one-on-one time.
  • Replying to reviews. While many ORM firms might suggest removal (always an option but not always the most ethical method of changing up the SERP), try responding first. Not only does it respond to the user, it shows anyone who comes across the result that you’re reaching out and willing to start a discussion.
  • ORM, PR, SEM, SEO, every acronym you can think of. A combination of online reputation management, social media, public relations and press releases, search engine marketing, and search engine optimization will contribute to better shaping your online image.
  • Maintenance: Don’t ever stop. It’s nearly impossible to not have an online presence. Often times, patients create that online presence for doctors themselves.

 

While removing reviews and negative results is neither ethical nor guaranteed, it is a possibility. Speak to a lawyer or your online reputation managers about these possibilities.

 

Take control of your online reputation by managing what is being said about you online. The moment you stop engaging online, you’ll quickly lose control of your online reputation. One post can ruin it all.

 

Again, the negative bias Google has can ruin your whole image with one post, one comment, one review. Always be ready to counter it and get ahead of the game by spreading positive and attractive content.

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How Good Reviews Can Help Grow Your Business?

How Good Reviews Can Help Grow Your Business? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Ever order a poorly-made kitchen gadget and then leave a bad review with the company in an effort to help other consumers avoid purchasing that gadget? Likewise, ever find the best salsa or Greek yogurt and want to share it with everyone you know? Leaving these reviews affects an organization's reputation, and the same way you felt about that gadget or yogurt is the same way patients feel when they've had a great — or poor — healthcare experience. They want to share or spare others from the same experience.

 

Of course, you want your overall healthcare organization's reputation to be good, but reputation is important for individual physicians as well. In fact, physician reviews play a significant role in a patient's decision to choose a doctor. Up to 77 percent of patients use an online review as a first step to finding a new doctor. And a study published in the Journal of General Medicine found that 53 percent of physicians look at physician review websites, “likely to understand their patients' experiences and to improve their practices."

 

Clearly, reviews are increasingly important in healthcare, but what can you do about such a self-motivated activity? How do you manage the content you can't control? Good or bad, there are strategies that can help you with reputation management.

 

How Do Good Reviews Help?


Reviews are often the first thing a patient sees or knows about a physician, and online reviews contribute to a positive reputation – to a prospective patient, you’re only as good as what others say about you on Google, Healthgrades or other public directories. A good online review history can bring patients to your door, increase referrals, confirm the recommendations given by friends/family and can even bring out-of-network patients in.

 

Beyond the importance of patient reviews as a selection criterion for prospective patients, reviews are also an important local ranking factor in Google. Search queries from "cardiologist near me" to "pediatrician in Atlanta” will bring up just 3 options out of the tens or hundreds of healthcare practices and physicians – with a major boost given to local listings with the strongest patient review signals. These signals include review volume, review sentiment, review recency and diversification of reviews on other top local directories.

 

While physicians focus primarily on the quality of care, doctors must also acknowledge that patients are looking for the best healthcare experience, and all steps from intake to follow-up care is fodder for review. Reputation management begins by being proactive about the information available about you. When you have happy patients, you can send follow-up emails soliciting a review or encourage sharing positive experiences on social media and third-party review sites through other marketing outreach efforts.

 

What about Negative Reviews?


Though you might prefer to deal with the challenge of soliciting positive reviews, the reality is that negative physician reviews happen. You may be tempted to ignore these negative reviews, but consumers prefer a response. Not all review sites allow a physician or organization responsible, but posting a well thought-out reply when possible can help acknowledge a complaint or concern and show that feedback is taken seriously – and where necessary share “the other side of the story”. When crafting a response you should:

 

  • Be gracious
  • Thank the patient for their comment
  • Consider the patient's complaint or concern
  • Address any changes that can or will result
  • Respond privately, if warranted, to correct the situation and discuss further
  • Above all else, protect PHI

 

A gracious response can go a long way toward making a negative review less weighty, while also showing prospective patients that you are engaged with your patients and provide a personal experience.

 

What do Patients Focus on in Reviews?


Quality care and accuracy of diagnosis are high on patients' lists of healthcare review metrics, followed closely by listening and explaining skills. Don't forget that office environment, staff, and overall experience will also often be noted in online reviews. In fact, everything that happens in your office from the first phone call for an appointment through the waiting time, exam, and interactions with staff, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care is up for review.

 

If you do happen to receive negative feedback, you can look at this as an opportunity to grow in any of these areas as necessary.

 

Managing your Reputation


Since having a large volume of five-star reviews is an excellent way to ensure a good online reputation, ask your current patients if they would review you. Some ways to accomplish this are to include a link to a review site in your email signature, provide a tablet for patients to sign-up to receive a request via email to leave a review upon check out, or direct them from your website to your favorite star rating sites.

 

If you still need help managing this important task, there are experienced services teams and technology solutions that keep tabs on your reviews, alert you when a response is required, provide best practices for responding, help solicit reviews, and more. Focusing on your online reputation will serve to build trust, credibility, and a positive online presence – while also helping to keep your employed physicians happy.

 

Reviews are an unavoidable aspect of today's healthcare consumer experience.

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Your Online Reputation and Six Best Practice Ways to Make It Better 

Your Online Reputation and Six Best Practice Ways to Make It Better  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Successful medical practices recognize that their online reputation is a source of new business—almost like a referring doctor’s office. Here’s how the best of practices influence this resource and manage their reputation, to produce the greatest number of new patient calls and appointments.

 

Every doctor has two professional reputations to constantly manage:

 

  • The “CV version” for colleagues, and
  • The online reputation version for the public

 

The first version is what he or she believes professional colleagues know or think about—in person, or as a CV write-up, or what fellow professionals might say when you’re not in the room. This version is based on close, personal contact…occasions when doctors meet and/or work together. Interactions and observations might be clinical, business or perhaps social. It is this first type of reputation that professionals regard as most important and absolutely critical to manage. Indeed, it’s a critical foundation for a professional existence.

 

But it is the second type—your online reputation—that is widely seen and recognized by the general public. Curiously, the patients and prospective patients have almost no means to judge the clinical skills that represent the abilities of a medical practitioner. (The clinical particulars are usually the mainstay of the CV-type.)

 

The larger audience forms an understanding, or online reputation, by what they find on physician rating boards, practice and practitioner reviews, and comments and discussions or other patients. And it is in this “reputation arena” that carries the most influence with other members of the public.

 

 

How to Craft a Sterling Online Reputation

 

Collectively, the online reputation management has the greatest public influence on capturing, or losing, new business into the practice.

  • More than half of consumers list reputation first in the selection process
  • Positive, or excellent, online reviews inspire trust in a practitioner or practice
  • Patients usually read four or more reviews before they trust a practitioner
  • Over 90 percent of patients will select a local doctor with a five-star rating
  • Close to 40 percent of patients would not select a provider with negative reviews

 

The professional’s online reputation forms in the mind of the prospective patient. Their selection process is shaped largely by the reviews and ratings of others. That process—following by the actions of others—is the powerful dynamic of social proof or social influence at work. Assuming that your patient experience is world-class, here are some of the steps to shaping a sterling online reputation.

 

#1. Don’t be modest about asking for testimonials.


It’s easy enough to do, but many practitioners neglect the simple action step of asking. Make it a habit to ask for comments, provide a simple instruction card with review site directions, or provide a brief survey that’s geared to service improvement. The majority of comments will be positive. Occasionally, a comment may reveal something in need of improvement.

 

#2. Take advantage of any negative comments.


Even the best of practices may draw an occasional not-so-flattering review. Although the majority of patient comments are positive, the real opportunity to improve and exceed is to address patient concerns. The first steps are to:

  • Demonstrate concern
  • Quickly respond and embrace the issue(s)
  • Be a caring leader, anxious to resolve the concern

 

Being quick to discover and quick to respond is important with negative problems. The silent approach (even if you were not aware of the comment) implies that the issue or problem is being ignored. Trust is at stake. Take the issue off-line if necessary, but be proactive about a resolution.

 

#3. Install a system to diligently monitor your online persona.

 

Like it or not, consumer ratings are now an influential part of healthcare delivery. As with professional referrals, have an operating system to watch the places that influence patients and your reputation:

 

  • Assign the monitoring as a regular staff responsibility
  • Install Google Alerts, Social Mention or other pulse-checker
  • Routinely check your listing on review and comment sites
  • Respond to positive as well as negative comments


#4. Check and correct your N-A-P information.

 

A surefire way to cut off inbound calls is to have out of date NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE info listed. Check these constantly for accuracy in directories and online listings.

 

#5. Expand and enhance your online profile.


In addition to fundamental directory listings (NAP), take every opportunity to complete (and regularly update) the profile section of social media and online descriptions. Here’s where you have an opportunity to shine. Prospective patients respect a doctor’s experience, training, awards, and expertise.

 

#6. Actively jump into (or lead) the conversation.


Don’t be a bystander when you can be an active participant in social media discussions. Seek out timely and relevant topics and inspire or lead discussions. Ask questions, provide new information or respond to questions within a group.

 

You can shape your online reputation.


These are some of the ways that you can influence the information—and manage the reputation—that people find online. Because your influence is slightly indirect, it can be a challenging task. But the time and effort that’s invested can often realize an immediate return. People tend to see and absorb the first few entries in a physician review page. And newer comments usually float to the top of the page.

 

How well are you monitoring your online reputation? Remember that positive information and ratings are a significant influence in generating new business. But negative online reviews about their existing provider can cause them to change to an out-of-network physician. Further, nearly half of searching patients would go out-of-network for a physician with more positive reviews.

 

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11 Online Reputation Mistakes You Should Avoid 

11 Online Reputation Mistakes You Should Avoid  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Raise your hand if you scan the web for reviews about your business on a consistent basis. My guess is that very few of you are doing this.

 

When you’re wearing a thousand or more hats while managing your business, it’s easy to forget one of the most critical things you should be paying attention to: your online reputation.

 

Let’s face it, most business owners don’t pay enough attention to their online reputation, even though it’s a critical piece of an effective digital marketing strategy. While it’s important to be paying attention to your topline KPIs like new customer acquisition, percentage of new traffic, click-through-rates, conversions, revenue, etc., ignoring your online reputation can be detrimental to your business.

But WHY?

I can’t tell you how many times business owners ask me why online reputation is so important. Search behavior has changed over the years, and many of your customers are going to be typing in generic search terms to discover companies that cater to their needs. After discovering companies within that niche, your customers will do additional research to decide what business to work with, and they will likely pick the one with stellar reviews and ratings. If you’re not shining above your competitors in search results with those 4 or 5 yellow stars, your potential customers will scan past you and go with your competitors instead.

 

This just goes to show that reviews have become more important than ever to facilitate the decision making process for customers. In fact, Search Engine Land published a Brightlocal survey results that shows 88% of customers trust online reviews more than word of mouth recommendations.

 

So what does that mean?

 

Online reviews are more powerful than reviews that customers personally receive from friends and family.

 

Managing reputation is actually a lot more than just scanning the internet for reviews–it’s about building relationships with your customers, spreading positive sentiment, and taking negative feedback to heart to improve your product or service.

 

I cringe when I scan through potential clients’ social media profiles and listing pages and see how they claim to “manage” their online reputation. I like to tell potential clients that I don’t focus on the management aspect of reputation, I focus on developing a strong online presence that showcases consistently outstanding customer service.

 

With that being said, I asked some individuals who work in the digital marketing and online reputation space about the biggest ORM mistakes they see businesses make with their reputation. Here we go:

1. Not Responding to Complaints

It’s important to remember that no business is perfect and it is impossible to please all customers. With that being said, having some bad reviews is not the end of the world. When I see a company with 5-star ratings and over 50+ reviewers, something looks fishy and some potential customers may question your integrity. No customer expects you to be perfect across the board. As long as you respond to complaints and show potential customers how you handle those complaints, it will be enough for potential customers look past it and do business with you.

2. Not Realizing YOU Have an Online Reputation

You may have a Yelp profile with scathing reviews and not even know it! Customers are free to post reviews about you even if you don’t set up your own profiles — keep that in mind. A word of advice: set yourself up on all review sites so you can claim ownership and respond to reviews. If you don’t claim your review sites, you will not be able to address reviews written about your business.

 Not Dealing With Negative Feedback in Public

I have some digital marketing clients that avoid responding to negative reviews because they don’t want to “feed trolls.” Many people think that when you respond to negative reviews, you are adding fuel to the fire, and the negative reviews will show above the positive ones. This is an old-school mentality that needs to stop.

 

Every review site has an algorithm that determines the placement of reviews, but generally, the most recent ones show up at the top. It’s important to address negative reviews in public so potential customers can see how you handle criticism and can be reassured that if they have any issues with your product or service, you will provide them outstanding service to rectify their issue

 

4. Ignoring Good Reviews

Some people think that reputation management only pertains to damage control — meaning responding solely to negative reviews. ALL reviews need a response. You should thank your positive reviewers for taking the time out of their day to express their positive sentiment toward your business. This will help you strengthen your relationship with them and let them know that you appreciate them.

5. Not Generating Enough Content to Position YOU

Here’s a strategy for you! If you are being inundated with negative reviews or there are negative threads about your business online, curate content to overshadow the negativity. Be sure to include your name everywhere so you can be indexed in search engines for it.

6. Posting Fake Reviews

This is a big no-no. You can try it, but Yelp and Google My Business have developed sophisticated algorithms that will filter out reviews that come from individuals who are not active on their sites. They’ll also detect your IP, so forget about creating 50 fake email addresses to write fake positive reviews. They will likely be flagged or thrown in a sandbox. Earn reviews the honest way, even if it takes significantly longer.

7. Handing Responsibility to the Under-Qualified

You can manage your reputation on your own or pass it onto someone else in your organization, but make sure to exercise caution. If you are giving authority to a junior level executive at your company to manage your online reputation, make sure that you have trained them on replying with your brand’s voice in different scenarios. Consider creating a style guide and training manual that can be passed to whoever is managing your reputation.

8. Being Defensive

I’ve seen this too many times — companies getting “smart” or “defensive” with customers. Never argue or point fingers at a customer, even if they are blatantly wrong. Issue a response that is empathetic and let them know that you are willing to do whatever is reasonable to rectify the situation and offer your phone number for them to call you directly to take the conversation offline.

9. Not Developing a Process to Generate Reviews

Happy customers will often not willingly go out of their way to write a review after a positive experience. It’s simple, you need to just ask. Whether you ask via RepuGen‘s online reputation development platform that texts or emails customers after their experience or implement a review card system, you need to set a process in place to generate reviews. Generating positive reviews takes time, and never happens overnight. All you need is to add a couple positive reviews a week, and that should do enough to counteract negative reviews and drive a consistent flow of new customers through your door.

10. Thinking it Takes Too Much Time

Going back to point number 9, it may take some time in the beginning to get the team to jump onboard and understand the importance of why you’re requesting reviews from customers and get used to the new workflow, but after that wrinkle is ironed, it should be smooth sailing from there. It shouldn’t take you too much time, but where you will be investing the most time in is responding to positive and negative reviews.

11. Not Actively Listening

You need to be EVERYWHERE your customers are. You need to make sure you see a review within a day or so after it has been posted. The longer to wait, the worse it will make your company look in the public eye. Timeliness is the key.

 

That’s it folks, that was a handful of common reputation management mistakes business owners make with their reputation. Make sure that you are not making these mistakes or else you’ll lose out on new potential customers for your business.

 

It’s time to jump on the bandwagon and take control of your reputation.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

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

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 5 Things That Leave a Negative Impact on New Patients 

 5 Things That Leave a Negative Impact on New Patients  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Patients are increasingly relying on online doctor reviews for verifying about your practice’s reputation. According to a report by Software Advice, almost three-quarters (72 percent) of patients use provider ratings as their first step in finding a new doctor. It confirms that your online reputation is often a first impression for your new patients.

 

This calls for a dedicated work on your online reviews to avoid a negative first impression on your patients regarding your practice.

 

It’s not just the quality of reviews (positive or negative) that matters. But there are other related aspects such as their age, volume, and whether you’re responding to them or not, that affects how your (or your practice’s) online reputation would personify before its audience.

 

The importance of first impressions in healthcare can never be denied.

 

Because reviews reflect the kind of patient experience you’re able to provide, you need to be serious about what impressions the online reviews are leaving on your prospective patients.

 

Reviews come first in the search results and stand in the forefront in providing that experience to your prospective patients. In addition to reviews, your organization’s online experience is also a key component of patient satisfaction.

 

Always know about the various aspects of online reviews that may hamper your healthcare business by presenting a negative first impression of your practice online. You have to acknowledge them so that you can focus on eliminating them.

 

Here are the 5 online reviews mistakes that leave a negative impact on your patients’ first impressions about your healthcare practice and affect their decision.

1. Reviews That Are Too Old

Patients appreciate finding lots of reviews about you. It adds credence to your presence and popularity in the respective locality. However, even the high quantity of reviews can’t save your online reputation for long if they’re not flowing in frequently.

 

A BrightLocal study cited ‘recency’ as the third most important factor of reviews. It concluded that reviews that are older than 3 months aren’t considered relevant by your consumers. This means that your prospective patients are more likely to leave looking for you any further if you don’t show up with recent reviews (within 3 months) by your patients.

 

After all, you cannot expect your prospective patients to judge your quality of service today based on reviews from months or years ago. Instead, it turns out to be very confusing for them to understand why reviews suddenly stopped when there were so many before.

2. Too Many Negative Reviews or No Reviews

Zero reviews are as bad as negative reviews. Sometimes, even worse. On one hand, too many negative reviews will suggest a bad reputation for your practice. On the other hand, no reviews will suggest a non-existent reputation with zero credibility on the internet.

 

Time-poor consumers (your prospective patients) who can’t find any reviews about you will instead check out other providers with at least an average review reputation. It’s all the same for providers who show up with too many negative reviews.

 

A whole bunch of negative reviews will also make your patients not want to use your service. In fact, according to the same BrightLocal study, 40% of local business consumers (including patients) would refrain from using your service if they find too many negative reviews about you.

 

Poor reviews leave a negative first impatient on patients and damage your reputation in the eyes of search engines. Too many bad reviews lead to lower click through rates (CTRs) in search results that tells search engines to lower your search rankings.

 

3. Too Many 5 Star Ratings

If there are too many negative reviews, your prospective patients won’t bother to scroll any further on your profile page. They’ll simply research elsewhere. If there are too many positive (5 stars) reviews, they’ll be hesitant and question the credibility of perfect reviews. Most of them won’t stick at finding more about you. As a simpler move, they’ll leave. Patients won’t spend more time than necessary to research your practice, and will instead, look elsewhere for a more credible and reliable practice.

 

According to a neuromarketing blog, 95% of consumers suspect censorship or fake reviews when there are no bad ones. This is the reason why you don’t want to appear too good to be true.

 

This is more so true for healthcare practices.

 

That’s because a healthcare business mostly drives on local patients. In most situations, these patients already have a general idea about your practice and its quality of care through news or views. Obviously, all those news and views can’t be perfect.

 

So, when they find only (or mostly) 5 star ratings with too good comments about your service quality on review sites, they cannot digest it.

4. Outdated or Inconsistent Listing

Patients go on looking at multiple reviews websites to get a better picture about you, according to a Zocdoc. Various researches have shown proofs of that too. Landing at inconsistent information regarding your practice across these different platforms will not only confuse them, but also make them angry.

 

Many of our existing healthcare clients were having some or other form of listing inconsistency on different review websites when they came to us.

 

These were simple errors like not being consistent with updated information (changes in email address, phone numbers, location of business, etc.) on all platforms. However, these simple errors were causing severe damage to their online reputation.

 

After we updated and made all information consistent throughout the review platforms, with some time, we started seeing a positive shift in conversion rates.

 

It’s necessary to ensure that your business information is consistent across all websites, including the review websites. Focus particularly on NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) information because that’s where your patients’ attention lands.

5. Zero Response on Patient Reviews from Your Side

Unfortunately, negative reviews do happen sometimes. While responding to them tactfully and in a highly professional manner can reduce their bad effects, not acknowledging them with a response will only add to the bad impression.

 

Patients value responses to negative reviews. It gives them an assurance that there is someone on the other side who is listening to their concerns and taking care of it.

 

According to Software Advice, a majority of patients (65%) believe that it’s “very” or “moderately” important for doctors to post a response.

 

That’s why it’s recommended that medical practices and doctors invest in a online reputation management for the job.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details :

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

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