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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4 Ways Patient Feedback Can Help Improve Your Healthcare Practice

4 Ways Patient Feedback Can Help Improve Your Healthcare Practice | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Such is the importance of feedback in a business setting that a person could travel down a seemingly endless rabbit hole at Harvard Business Review on the topics of giving feedback and receiving it — if they were so inclined.

 

Feedback is critical for all healthcare providers to understand how their patients perceive them. This, in turn, helps improve the quality of care and patient satisfaction — and ultimately aids in new patient acquisition and retention. Once all of this is working in a virtuous cycle, healthcare practices will see increased revenue and growth.

 

Here are a few ways patient feedback helps physicians and their practices.

Feedback Helps Providers Understand Patient Wants

Having a clear picture of patient expectations is one of the main reasons why practices should seek feedback. It’s entirely possible that patients expect to schedule appointments online, or that they find bills confusing and the waiting room drab. Perhaps there’s one member of the front office team that is a quiet rockstar who always goes above-and-beyond for patients.

 

Without knowing the likes and dislikes of the entire patient experience — from how patients find your practice and schedule appointments to the care they receive — there is no way for practices to implement changes to better serve patients. Improving patient satisfaction and engagement is the surest way to retain patients.

Patient Feedback Can Help Providers Boost Online Reputation

A positive online reputation can help healthcare practices attract new patients. The opposite is also true: A negative reputation can deter prospective patients from entrusting your practice with their health.

 

Some 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations. This means ensuring that patients who are satisfied with your practice share testimonials on social media or review websites are crucial to success.

 

Asking patients for reviews is easier than you might think. With automated patient feedback surveys, it’s simple to encourage patients to post positive reviews online.

 

Patient Feedback Helps Providers Give Better Care

Physicians typically only have a short window in which to connect, catch-up, and address any and all patient needs. That’s difficult under even the best of circumstances.

 

Without knowing how that patient encounter went — Did you provide the necessary care? The right advice and counsel? Did the patient think you seemed rushed or too focused on the EHR? — you will never be able to step back, assess your performance, and work to improve it for the next time.

 

Providers should always be striving to specifically understand how their performance impacts how patients perceive the quality of care given. This is crucial not just for a practice’s online reputation but especially if and when it begins to take on value-based reimbursements.

Feedback Can Create a Culture of Open Communication and Continuous Improvement

The only constant is change — an appropriate aphorism in today’s healthcare landscape if there ever was one. The best strategy to stay relevant is to build a culture of open communication amongst staff of all levels and continuous improvement where any idea that might benefit the practice is debated.

 

Openly sharing and analyzing feedback given by patients on the performance of the front office and providers is one of the best ways to create the psychological safety inherent of the highest-performing teams.

 

Once that safety amongst teammates is established, constructive dialogues can take place that lead to how the practice’s performance can be improved for the benefit of patients.

 

Patients are the customers of medical practices. Without soliciting feedback from them on your performance, it is almost impossible to improve your business.

 

Feedback, then, is the only foolproof way for physicians and practices to truly become patient-centric.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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5 benefits of acting on patient feedback

5 benefits of acting on patient feedback | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

5 benefits of acting on patient feedback

Provide a better patient experience

When you analyze patient comments, you’re able to recognize patterns that need your attention. 

 

Common patient complaints — such as unpleasant staff, problems scheduling an appointment, and difficulty or delays getting medical records — can cause people not to return to your practice.

 

Dentists who fail to provide a positive patient experience can face serious consequences. More than half of Americans have decided not to go through with a planned purchase or transaction due to bad customer service, according to American Express.

 

Furthermore, 33 percent said they would consider switching companies after just one instance of bad customer service.

Make patients feel valued

It’s discouraging for patients to voice their opinion and not feel heard. Requesting patient feedback is nice, but it doesn’t mean much unless you actually do something with it.

 

Nearly half of Americans (45 percent) claim appreciation for them as a customer is a very important component of providing excellent service, according to American Express. Choosing not to take action on common patient complaints inadvertently sends the message you don’t care.

 

Using critiques to make meaningful changes is a gesture that goes a long way, so don’t underestimate its value. Make patients confident they chose the right dentist by showing them the appreciation they deserve.

Improve patient satisfaction ratings

There’s a good chance you send patient satisfaction surveys after every visit. In fact, this is probably where you’re getting most of the feedback about your practice.

 

If scores aren’t as high as you’d like, the comments you’re receiving essentially guide your path to improvement. Boost your ratings by implementing as many suggestions as possible and resolving any problems that seem to be a widespread issue.

Achieve higher retention rates

Common complaints noted in patient feedback — surprise bills and long wait times, for example — can cause people to seek care elsewhere. In fact, one in five patients has changed doctors because of long wait times, according to Vitals.

 

If your retention rates aren’t great, simply listening to your patients and taking their suggestions for improvement can make a world of difference. It doesn’t get much easier than having people tell you exactly what’s causing them not to return.

Get more positive reviews

Reviews are an important part of dental marketing. For consumers to believe a business’s star rating is accurate, it needs to have an average of 40 online reviews, according to BrightLocal.

 

Of course, quantity isn’t everything, as positive reviews make 68 percent of people more likely to patronize a business, while negative reviews are a turnoff to 40 percent of consumers.

 

If you don’t have the high quality or volume of patient reviews you’d like, acting on comments can make a world of difference. Satisfied patients will be happy to sing your praises, especially when you took the time to rectify a concern they voiced.

 

The more positive reviews you’re able to generate, the better your dental practice will look to prospective patients.

 

You’ll almost certainly notice an increase in patient volume when you gain a reputation of truly caring about the people you serve.

 

Patient feedback is only effective when dentists use that feedback to make changes for the better. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by carefully analyzing comments and using them to improve your dental practice.

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Is word-of-mouth marketing best to attract new patients?

Is word-of-mouth marketing best to attract new patients? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

4 reasons why word-of-mouth marketing is not enough to grow your practice

1. Patients still conduct online research even after being referred

A referral might help you attract new patients, but that alone probably won’t seal the deal. Nearly all patients (91 percent) always or sometimes conducts additional research after receiving a referral from a healthcare provider, according to the 2018 Patient Access Journey Report conducted by Kyruus.

 

If your online reputation isn’t great — or is non-existent — people probably aren’t going to take the recommendation. With so much information readily available online for other providers, it’s easy for patients to find a doctor who meets their unique needs.

 

2. There is a limit to how many people word-of-mouth marketing can reach

Online reviews and your practice website can be accessed worldwide on a 24/7 basis. Word-of-mouth marketing has a much smaller reach, as it relies on the discourse between two people.

 

“There’s a limit to how many people you can access through your existing patients, and even if a patient refers me to a friend, that person will look for me online,” said PatientPop customer Dr. Nicole Mermet. “No matter how good your dentistry is, or how strong your staff is, or how well you run your business, you’re invisible if you don’t have a strong online presence.”

3. You’re not in control of the conversation

Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of people make recommendations because of a great experience, according to the Chatter Matters report. This is a good thing, but even when patients rave about your practice, you don’t know what they’re saying.

 

Just because patients praise your practice, it doesn’t mean they’re speaking to an audience who requires your services. Even if they are, their recommendation might not include the information needed to convince the other person to give your practice a try. If they go online to learn more about your practice but don’t find anything, they might opt for your competition.

4. Growth can take a long time

When trying to figure out how to get new patients, growth is something you’d like to see sooner, rather than later. Unfortunately, you don’t know when referrals will be given or when recipients will need to use them.

 

Your practice might be referred by a patient today, but it could be months or even years before the other person actually makes an appointment. If you want to grow your practice now, this method might prove to be of little help.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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How to Respond To Negative And Positive Patient Reviews [The HIPAA Compliant Way]

How to Respond To Negative And Positive Patient Reviews [The HIPAA Compliant Way] | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Even though patient reviews have a critical role to play in the success of your healthcare practice, they don't work in solitude. They are a conversation initiated by one of your patients that asks for your participation to present your side on the matter. You would provide the final viewpoint on the situation.

 

Not responding to a negative review will give the impression that you don’t listen to what your unhappy patients have to say and aren’t proactively addressing areas where you may be struggling. Whereas, not responding to positive reviews can make you look like you only care to address patients when there’s a damage to your reputation. In both cases, it will be your reputation that suffers.

 

When responding to your patients’ reviews, it’s important to comply with HIPAA regulations. HIPAA compliant review responses keeps you safe from any data privacy-related troubles. Data privacy is a big violation that can bring unnecessary financial and legal problems.

How to Respond to Negative Patient Reviews

Negative reviews are not always a bad thing. In fact, you need a few negative reviews from your patients. Replying to a few negative reviews appropriately can help draw attention toward your business’s positive qualities. Think of this concept as quality control.

 

When you see a negative review, don't immediately write a response. It's better to take a short break, analyze the situation, think of a strategy, and then write your response. Below are the “do’s and don’ts” of responding to negative reviews:

Do Not Even Think of Ignoring Them

When patients are irate, it’s natural for them to sound more dramatic while writing reviews. They’re upset and want the world to know about it. Take it with a grain of salt and never take it personally. However, do not ignore negative reviews.

According to a study, the majority (65%) of patients said that it's highly expected of doctors to respond to patient reviews. Responding shows that you take patient feedback seriously and are committed to improving the patient experience. The key here is to be understanding and sincere.

See if the Review Violates Terms and Conditions of the Website

Another thing to do before you respond is to check if the review is violating the terms and guidelines of the review website. If the review turns out to be objectionable, such as written by someone else, promotional in nature, sexually explicit, contains third-party names, harasses, abuses, or threatens to harm, etc., you can simply “flag” or “report” it. Let the review site know about it so they can investigate it and consider taking it down. Consider writing to the review site. However, remember that they are inundated with these requests and may not get back to you for weeks or months.

If the review is not objectionable and it correctly points out your fault, it's your responsibility to think of a strategy to respond to it.

Here's what you should keep in mind while responding to a negative patient review:

 

Examine the situation: Analyze the situation from all perspectives; the patient's point of view, the legal point of view, and the public point of view. After analysis, consider a professional HIPAA compliant response that not only solves your patient's concerns but also minimizes the damage to your reputation.

 

Begin with an apology: Even if you don't recognize your patient's claims, start your response with an apologetic and sympathetic tone. Next, explain your stance on the matter and let your patients know that you're serious about listening to their concerns. For example – “We are sorry to learn about your bad experience. However, this is not something that goes with our standards. Our representative will connect with you to learn more about it."

 

Passively market your service USPs: There is no harm in providing a little bit of extra information that explains what your patients usually experience. This will insert a little bit of marketing in your response to the bad review. For example – “We are normally known for our exceptional attention to detail, and we regret that we missed the mark.”

 

Note: Don't include your practice name or relevant search terms, like category and location, in your response as it can make your negative patient review appear in the relevant search results.

 

  1. Keep it anonymous: Make sure that your team responding to patients' reviews is aware of the HIPAA guidelines. HIPAA requires providers to respond to patient reviews without disclosing the patient's identity and/or their personal health information; such as, but not limited to, phone number, email address, appointment dates or times, diagnosis or test results. Failure of HIPAA compliance can invite hefty fines and even court-related troubles.
  2. Offer to move the conversation offline: Provide contact information of someone at your practice whom unhappy patients can contact to discuss their problem in person. For example – "Hi! My name is [name], and I'm the [provider/practice manager] at our practice. If you'd like to discuss this further, please call me at [phone number] or email at [email address] during regular business hours."

How to Respond To Positive Patient Reviews

Just because positive reviews don't cause any trouble (if they are genuine), should you just sit on them and do nothing? Absolutely not. First, that would be like ignoring someone when they give you a compliment, and secondly, don't you think you should amplify the goodwill using those positive reviews? Obviously, yes! Also, it's a great way to spread positive messages about your brand’s online reputation!

The good news is there are a few best practices and guidelines to follow when it comes to positive reviews; these are very important to remember.

Here’s how to respond to positive patient reviews, the HIPAA compliant way:

  1. Start with 'thanks’: Just like you start off with an apology in case of a negative review, you should also thank your reviewer when they praise you. Example – “Hi! Thank you so much for your kind words. We appreciate you taking the time to share your great experience!"
  2. Keep it ambiguous: While thanking, don't use phrases like, "It was great to see you," or "Thank you for visiting the office." Such phrases sound more declaring or affirming and may be used against you for indirectly exposing the identity and actions of a patient.
  3. Boldly market your practice: Inserting your business name, category, location, and your service-related keywords may help these positive conversations, about your brand, appear in the relevant Google search results. For example – “The team here at [your practice name] are delighted to hear your feedback, and we're proud to be the most trusted [service category] provider in [location name].”

Tips to Get the Most Out of Positive Patient Reviews

  1. Amplify it on social media: You should amplify all positive reviews through social media. Try using a graphics tool like Canva or PicMonkey to create engaging graphics of your testimonials and share across social media. Make sure to cross-promote the testimonials on all social channels you’re active on. This is known as social proof.
  2. Promote it on your website: You can also create a separate testimonial page on your site and showcase positive patient reviews for promotion. Doing so will also help your page get better search engine rankings.

 

Note: To get the most out of positive patient reviews, you should strive to get more overall positive reviews.

 

Incentivizing reviews isn't a great option, it's not ethical, and most review sites don't approve of it. However, you can always ask and facilitate your patients to write reviews in an ethical manner.

Handling patient reviews requires time and effort and an understanding of the policies. It's one of the significant tasks under healthcare online reputation management.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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inquiry@technicaldr.com or 877-910-0004
www.technicaldr.com

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How Urgent Care Centers Can Benefit From Patient Testimonials

How Urgent Care Centers Can Benefit From Patient Testimonials | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

A significant percentage of prospective patients landing on your website don’t take the desired action—like scheduling an online appointment or calling your office. Of the many probable factors, it’s the fear of the unknown and the resulting lack of trust that may prevent them from selecting you as their urgent care provider. The best way to eliminate apprehension and instill confidence and trust among your prospective patients is to let them hear your happy patients’ stories about their great experiences. That’s where patient testimonials come into the picture.

 

In this blog, we’ll tell you all about patient testimonials—what they are, their importance, and how you can use them to drive new patients to your urgent care center. Keep reading!

What Are Patient Testimonials?

Patient testimonials are the written or spoken statement of recommendation from happy patients about the quality, character, and competence of healthcare service and/or provider. Effective patient testimonials aren’t just about praises and appreciation, but they also try to conclude stories that inspire and motivate prospective patients from reading them.

 

Different studies have already shown how these positive remarks and comments can help your healthcare business prosper. According to a Software Advice report, 48% of patients would go out of their insurance network for a provider who has a better review history. The search engine giant Google also stated in one of its partner’s presentation videos that patients prefer to watch testimonial videos to hear other patients’ stories before reaching out to any provider. Here’s how urgent care providers like you can grow their practice using patient testimonials.

Use Testimonials to Improve Patient Acquisition Opportunities

Patient testimonials have a crucial role to play in turning your prospective patients’ decision making in your favor. Including testimonials on your site can raise its personality and trust-worthiness; therefore, boosting your site’s conversion rate. This helps in improving patient acquisition opportunities for your urgent care practice. Let’s see how a patient testimonial page can help you boost acquisition for your urgent care:

    • Boosts search engine ranking

      Google loves content and a testimonial page is a great opportunity to feed Google with relevant and updated content that can get indexed regularly. Selecting the right testimonials will allow you to get specific value points included on the page. Those words are added up to the weighted pages that help you with your search engine rankings.
    • Increases trust

      Prospective patients looking for an urgent care center may come to your site via Google searches, or through some reference channels. If they find compelling stories of experience from happy patients, it will help in alleviating their fear and anxiety of choosing a new provider for the first time.

How to Keep Your Testimonials Page Up-to-Date

Having a separate testimonials page on your site is great. However, to leverage it for driving new patients to your practice, you should keep it up-to-date with your newest reviews. You cannot expect your prospective patients to trust you by showing them reviews from months or even years ago. Sending flowers or arranging a thank you event are not practical (or even affordable) ways for urgent cares to collect new patient testimonials. It’s better to develop a process where you systematically request, collect, and utilize testimonials.

 

You can use an online reputation management software like RepuGen to ask your patients for feedback through text and email. As the feedback comes in, it will be easy for your urgent care marketing team to keep selecting and adding the positive ones to your testimonial page on a regular basis.

 

If you want a more automated solution where you don’t have to manually update your testimonial page, RepuGen also provides a solution for that. You can generate a free testimonials page on your website that will automatically fetch positive reviews from your Facebook, Yelp, and Google My Business accounts.

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How to Ask For a Google Review

How to Ask For a Google Review | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

How to Ask for a Google Review: 6 Proven Techniques to Use

1. Email

A simple way to reach customers is in their inbox. By delivering a request for a Google review through email, you can easily layout the steps and provide simple links for the customer to do so. All they really need to do is open the email and write a review.

 

The obstacle you may encounter with this technique is cutting through the email inbox clutter. People receive massive amounts of emails per day, so make sure you use email marketing best practices to improve the open rate and click-through rate. Another way to make sure you’re practicing these techniques as effectively as possible is to have specific criteria customers should meet before you send out the email. A great way to figure out which customer is ready to leave a review and which is not is to calculate Net Promoter Scores.

Don’t make your customers hunt for your page to leave a review

Use the Google Review Link Generator. 

2. Social Media

To successfully collect reviews, show up where your customers are hanging out. This may require a bit of audience research. Come up with a list of social media platforms your customers use frequently. This list will probably include platforms Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter or Pinterest.

Online users respond to aesthetics. Try creating a well-designed, branded graphic that will catch your customers’ attention. You can post it to Facebook, Instagram stories, Snapchat, etc. The graphic can include steps for leaving a Google review to simplify the process.

3. Ask In-Person

A slightly different approach to take is requesting testimonials face-to-face. Depending on what type of business you run, you might have the opportunity to interact with your customers in person. This can provide a better gauge on whether or not they’re likely to leave you a good review. If they’ve been purchasing from you for a while, or you’ve maintained a strong relationship, this can be an effective strategy. You might say something along the lines of, “You really seem to be enjoying [product/service]. We’ve actually been working on building up our reviews on Google. Would you be open to leaving a review on [product/service]?” If they say yes, have an info card on hand such as the one you created for your social media accounts, that lists out how to do it and is easy for them to hang onto.

4. In-Store Kiosk

It can be difficult to get an in-store customer to take action online, but it can work with the right strategy. An in-store kiosk can be helpful here. By using kiosk mode, you can lock an iPad or another device to one app, so your customers can write a review right in the store if they choose.

5. CTA

Call-to-actions jump out at people on websites, in advertisements, and on landing pages. With the right and design, and the right copy these can be extremely effective. If you decide to run a testimonial campaign, including a CTA at different touchpoints in your website, social media platforms or digital advertisements may increase the likelihood of people writing Google reviews.

6. Boast

Finally, make use of tools available to you. Boast stores all testimonials in one easy-to-access location, and allows you to filter testimonials based on different factors. We’ve written several blog posts outlining different ways to identify people ready to write a review and how to collect more reviews. By using Boast’s automated processes, you can ask the right customers for Google reviews automatically and save time.

Google is an important part of every business in the Information Age, and you can use this essential tool to your advantage. Ask your loyal customers for Google reviews, and you might be surprised at how many are willing to vouch for you. With your good reputation on display, you can use Google and your customer’s loyalty to bring in more business.

 
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How you can manage Google reviews

How you can manage Google reviews | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

More consumers are now turning to online reviews to help in their buying decision process. With Google reviews, you can enhance your online presence by making sure your business ranks well in search engine results pages (SERPs). Here’s what you need to know to make that happen.

 

How Google changed search results

Google now automatically aggregates and includes online reviews to display in the Knowledge Panel found on the right side of the search results. This useful panel displays information like address, hours, web address, and more.

Which review sites does Google include?

Relevant sites vary between industries, so if, for instance, you manage a restaurant, reviews from Yelp or Zagat will likely be displayed next to your online listings. If your business is a bit more niche, however, there are a few steps you can take to determine which review sites affect you.

 

To determine these sites, go to Google and type the following:
“[your company name] reviews” – to locate sites that already have reviews on your business
“[industry] reviews” – to determine industry reviews sites you should be listed on
“[industry + location] reviews” – to find review boards where you can boost your local presence

Then, list the review sites you found on the first page of each search query and categorize them based on their search ranking and your company’s current rating on them.

 

After creating the list, write down an objective for each review site. This can range from getting listed on the site to improving your rating.

 

To narrow down your choices, focus your review-generating efforts on the five most popular websites on your list, especially those that include negative reviews of your business.

Getting reviews

Regardless of your objectives for managing reviews, the most important thing is for people to write reviews about your products and services. With that in mind, here are a few strategies to encourage people to rave about your business.

Send follow-up emails
You could send a short message thanking them for purchasing your product or service, with a request for a review.

Simplify the review process
Many customers skip writing reviews due to the complex steps and instructions involved. You need to simplify this process by having a review site widget that customers can easily access, asking them to comment on your service before they leave your website.

Offer rewards for reviews
Another way to encourage people to rate your business is by presenting them with a chance to win free goods or services if they submit a review.

 

There are a lot of steps involved in managing your online reputation, but starting early is the key to enhancing your SEO, attracting new customers, and improving your bottom line.

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Signs of a Trustworthy and Reliable Testimonial

Signs of a Trustworthy and Reliable Testimonial | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

7 Signs of Trustworthy and Reliable Testimonials

1. A Reliable Source

Some disreputable businesses pay freelancers to post about products or services they’ve never tried. Other businesses create fake profiles on review sites themselves and attempt to write fraudulent reviews. These practices violate review sites’ terms of service, and they break the law. However, there are several ways to validate a real customer’s identity;

 

  • They have a non-generic name and picture, or videos.
  • Their testimonials are attached to other sources, like a business website or a Facebook page.
  • They have reviewed other products or businesses fairly.
  • Their location, job, or other details fit with the business they’ve reviewed.
  • They have a presence on the site, such as friends or other connections.

2. Pictures or Videos

A video testimonial shows the customer’s identity, making it much more difficult to fabricate reviews. Similarly, many review sites now allow customers to post pictures or videos with their reviews. While a reviewer might still be paid for a review, a picture or video of them using the product proves they at least tried it. This, along with other signs, can help to determine if a testimonial is reliable.

3. Verified Purchase

Realizing that deceptive reviews hurt Amazon’s sales and reputation, the company set out to find and stop fraudulent reviews. In 2015, Amazon sued over 1,000 alleged fraudsters and amended their terms of service to take a stricter stance on fake reviews. Now, reviewers must have a valid credit card and $50 worth of purchases before writing a review, making it harder to create fake accounts. Amazon’s “Verified Purchase” note also helps to validate authentic reviews; “verified purchase” means the reviewer bought the item on the site.

4. No Alerts

Yelp also sued fake reviewers, changed their terms of service, updated fake review filters, and instated new policies to crack down on fraud. One of these was an update to their “Consumer Alerts” feature in 2015. These “Consumer Alerts” now put red flags on businesses suspected of making up or buying reviews.

5. Well Worded

Since fake reviewers generally write a large volume of reviews for low pay, the reviews are short and sound generic. A fake review or testimonial will use a lot of dramatic language like “great,” “awesome,” “best,” or “loved it.” An authentic reviewer will likely take a more even stance, mentioning some things they liked and some things they didn’t. The review will be longer than four sentences, and mention results, features, or applications the reviewer enjoyed or disliked.

6. Good Spelling and Grammar

A review doesn’t have to be a college-ready essay to be authentic, but the spelling and grammar should be mostly correct. If it’s full of errors, it indicates the reviewer was in a hurry (perhaps because they were hired to write a lot of reviews) or the review was outsourced from outside the country. Correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar are simple and obvious signs of a trustworthy and reliable testimonial.

7. Specific Details

Someone who really used a product or visited a business will remember specific details about their experience. The customer doesn’t have to remember everything, but at least one of the following should stick out;

  • Size: Size and proportions tend to be memorable. If a testimonial says a room was too small, a dress too big, or a plate very large, they’re more likely to be real reviewers.
  • Features: Testimonials that mention specific features are more likely to be authentic. A note about an experience might be; “the contractor was always on time,” “the hotel room was a bit too warm,” or “the dress was so soft.”
  • Story: A testimonial or review with a beginning-to-end story is unlikely to be fake. The reviewer might mention how they found the product, a feature they especially liked, and why they will continue to use it or come back again.
  • Incidents: A reviewer that writes about something that went wrong, but then was resolved, such as delays compensated by a coupon or an incorrect delivery compensated by free shipping, is most likely real. This is one of the best hidden positive effects of negative reviews.

 

 

To make sure reviews and testimonials are trustworthy and reliable, many sites have tightened their rules. When asking for reviews on specific sites, make sure you’re not only following FTC rules, but also the site’s terms and conditions. This also rings true when collecting your own video testimonials for your website. Making sure your testimonials are authentic and helpful is an important part of building trust. With honest business practices, you’ll be protected from legal repercussions and prevent damage to your reputation.

 

 

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12 Signs It's Time to Request a Client Testimonial

12 Signs It's Time to Request a Client Testimonial | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Developing a collection of outstanding client testimonials means not only delivering a great experience but also knowing how and when to ask your client for their thoughts. If you ask too soon, they might not be ready, but if you delay too long it might be too late. Look for one or more of these 12 signs it’s time to request a client testimonial and you’ll know when to get your testimonial request emails, phone call or face-to-face meeting ready.

 

12 Signs It’s Time to Request a Client Testimonial

1. The Praise Email

If you consistently impress your clients, you’ve no doubt received more than one email full of praise. Your client has already gone out of their way to tell you what a great job you’ve done. This is the perfect time to ask for a customer testimonial. Make it easy for your client to submit a testimonial online and you can turn your high praise email into an official client testimonial.

2. A Stellar Meeting

When you meet with your client, sometimes everything just goes smoothly. Maybe you’ve delivered great news or you’ve reached a milestone together. For whatever reason, you know your client will leave your office feeling satisfied. This is a good time to ask for a client testimonial. Have question prompts and a way to record their testimonial ready, so you can get their information right away.

3. Tremendous Results

Some clients experience results that are even better than expected. When you deliver these results to your client, or when they see them for the first time, they’ll be likely to give a client testimonial. Explain the impact of the results if it’s not clear and give your client a moment to enjoy them before asking. Keep in mind that lawful testimonials must give an accurate representation of expected results; you may need to mention that this client’s results, though possible, aren’t typical.

4. Other Reviews

It’s good practice to audit your business reputation online and see what customers are saying. This might be a business review site like Yelp or an industry-specific review site like lawyers.com. As you regularly check in, you may notice previous clients that have talked about your good work unsolicited. If you recognize the name on the review, contact them again to thank them and ask for a client testimonial you can use for your website or marketing materials. If you don’t recognize the name, look at the date the review was posted and see what clients you served near that time.

5. Problem Solved

It doesn’t always take tremendous results to make a big impact; you just need to make a big impact on that client’s life. If your product or service solved a problem your client had, ask them to explain their experience in a client testimonial. Remember, your solution doesn’t have to be earth-shattering to be impactful; you may have simply saved them time, given them confidence, or explained a system they didn’t understand.

6. Parting Ways

Ideally, you would like happy clients to return to your business or maintain an ongoing business relationship, but this isn’t always possible. In many cases, your job has a beginning and an end. Your client may also be relocating out of the area, or their needs have changed. If your business partnership is near its end, ask your loyal customer to mark the occasion with a client testimonial.

7. Contract Renewal

In some industries, clients may work with their preferred businesses for years. If they renew their contract with you or make another long-term commitment, they clearly enjoy working with you. As you thank them for renewing and outline the plan for another fantastic year, ask if they would answer a few questions about your work so far and give a client testimonial.

8. Plan Upgrade

If you offer tiers of service and a customer decides to upgrade, their needs may have changed, they may have new confidence in your business or both. Take this opportunity to reconnect with your client; thank them for their business, explain the new capabilities of their service, and ask for a client testimonial.

9. Recommendation

The goal of testimonials is to show the quality of work you do and inspire confidence and trust through social proof. If a client’s friend, family member, or business associate contacts you, your client has already made an informal testimonial. When you thank them for their recommendation, ask if they will repeat what they said to their associate in an official client testimonial.

10. Positive Customer Survey

Conducting regular surveys on customer happiness is a good way to make sure your business relationships are strong and your own performance is on track. When customers fill out a positive survey, send a response with a client testimonial request. You can even automate this process with email triggers and a testimonial gathering landing page to save time.

11. Implementing Changes

Whether you make a small change to your terms of service, you add new services to your office, or you completely revamp your business model, it’s essential to keep your customers in the loop. Hopefully, the changes you’ve made are informed by the feedback you previously received. Once your clients have had a chance to use and adapt to the new changes, ask them how they feel. Reply to the positive sentiment with a client testimonial request.

12. After an Event

If you see your client at a tradeshow, convention, or another industry event, ask them how business is going. This extra familiarity can go a long ways towards gathering testimonials. During or after the event, follow up and ask them to submit a client testimonial.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs, it’s time to ask for a client testimonial! Asking for testimonials can be difficult at first, but it helps to have a system in place and to know when the timing is right. Make it easy to submit testimonials, continue to deliver a terrific experience and you’ll quickly develop a list of client testimonials.

 
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5 Trends in Online Reputation Management in 2019

5 Trends in Online Reputation Management in 2019 | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Now more than ever, customers look online to find where to eat, what to buy, even what doctor to go to or what car to buy. Good reputation management has become even more important in recent years, and 2019 is no exception. Whether you’re just starting to take charge of your online reputation, you want to stay ahead of the pack, or you’re a marketing agency offering valuable reputation management to clients, take a look at these trends in online reputation management in 2019.

5 Online Reputation Management Trends in 2019

1. Good Mobile Search is a Must-Have

You’ve probably already searched for yourself on your laptop, but have you done a search on your mobile device? Mobile searches first eclipsed desktop searches in 2015, and the number of mobile searches has risen sharply since then. This is an important trend in online reputation management in 2019, especially for restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, and similar consumer-facing businesses.

Remember that mobile searches are competitive, and getting to the top of a search like “restaurants near me” will be tough. However, you want to be sure that customers who are looking for your business can find it, and find all the information they need. When you search for your business, make sure the following are accurate and easy to find, no matter what type of business you operate. If this information doesn’t come up, it doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on your online reputation, but it can give customers the wrong impression about your attention to detail or your availability.

  • Store or office hours
  • Location
  • Website
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Facebook page
  • Attractive images of your business, products, or your work

If you do a mobile search and any of this information is incorrect, or if negative reviews or unattractive pictures show up, it’s time for a mobile search results overhaul. Businesses that may not have the time, staff, or aren’t sure of the skills needed to tackle this issue often work with a marketing agency. To diversify marketing services and revenue, many marketing agencies provide reputation management services separate or in addition to marketing campaigns. Agencies may help businesses claim and manage Google business listings, post positive photos and videos, and encourage customer reviews. Agencies that understand what customers are looking for and what inspires them to share provide valuable services to businesses seeking to revamp their mobile search results and reclaim a good reputation.

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2. Reputation Management Needs Tools

Searching for your business name and combing through social media mentions isn’t an efficient way to conduct reputation management in 2019. There’s a wide range of tools that can help you automate this process in a variety of ways. To manage your reputation effectively, you’ll need to invest some time at the start, then you can let these processes mostly run themselves.

There are dozens of free and subscription-based tools available to help fulfill any of these tasks. The following are just a few examples. You might find other tools that work better for you.

  • Social media monitoring: Hootsuite, Zoho Social, and Sprout Social are just a few examples of social media monitoring tools that will comb through keywords, mentions, and more across a variety of platforms.
  • Email automation: when requesting reviews, thanking customers, or following up, you don’t need to write the same emails a thousand times. Use email automation software like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
  • Monitor the web: Google Alerts is one of the best tools for monitoring your name, brand, or other keywords across the world wide web. Choose keywords or phrases, set an alert (for free!), and you can get individual or digest emails whenever the words come up.
  • Testimonial gathering: Organize text, picture or video testimonials all in one place with Boast and display them on YouTube, Facebook, on your website, or use them in your marketing materials. Boast integrates with the most popular social media platforms, mail automation programs, Google analytics and more, so it fits right into your existing tech stack.

Marketing agencies offering reputation management and repair in 2019 know the power of a quality tech stack. With the right set of tools, you can target sources of negative feedback, fix them, and replace them with quality, compelling reviews faster. By automating as much of this process as possible, you can give more personal attention to clients, and focus on growing your business.

3. Video on the Rise in 2019

Over 100 million hours of video content is consumed daily on Facebook alone. By some estimates, video content can help to increase conversions by as much as 80%. These and many other compelling statistics about video all indicate that video content is rising fast, getting more attention, more shares, and winning more customers. If you want to not only manage your reputation this year, but to put your good reputation to work for you, video content can help you do it.

You don’t need fancy cameras and a studio set up in your office to capitalize on the benefits of video content. Use a video testimonial gathering platform like Boast and you can start using video content just by asking your customers to submit their videos. You can post videos of your customers using your product, visiting your business, or showcase your company culture. Always get your customers’ (or employees’) permission before you use the video, and be sure to thank them or reward them for participating.

Businesses may choose to create or manage videos in-house, or work with an agency to save time. If you’re an agency using to video to boost your clients’ reputations in 2019, intuitive tools like Boast can help you gather customer stories and develop authentic, compelling videos faster.

4. Social Media is a New Business’s Best Friend

Many businesses monitor their online reviews and consider their reputation management done. While review sites are important, they aren’t the only place that customers are talking about you online. More and more customers are taking their outings, experiences and complaints to social media, which can mean winning over customers’ friends, or keeping them away.

Social media and online reviews work in different ways, but they are both important to online reputation management in 2019. Consider when and how customers interact with online reviews compared to social media. Online reviews are important when customers are actively looking for you and nearly ready to make a choice. By contrast, social media works passively, introducing your business to people who may never have heard of you, and may never have searched for you. This makes social media a powerful tool for businesses that are not yet well-known, as your first few followers and fans can quickly encourage organic growth.

A variety of tools (see point 2 above) can help you monitor the social conversation around your brand, even if you don’t have an account on these platforms. If you notice a lot of conversation buzzing on a particular platform, consider making an account and connecting with your customers.

5. Good Reviews Require Active Participation

It’s no longer enough to simply monitor your online reputation. If you want to improve or maintain a good reputation, you have to be an active participant.

Doing good work and giving customers a positive experience is a large part of the online reputation battle, but it doesn’t guarantee that customers will share their good experiences. To benefit from the work you put in every day, you have to close the loop and incentivize customers to share their experiences. There are a variety of ways to do this, and which you choose will depend on your industry, customers, and the time you can commit.

  • Add social sharing information to the bottom of receipts or coupons.
  • Offer exclusive discounts or coupons on social media for everyone who shares your post.
  • Offer rewards to customers who share their thoughts.
  • Run a contest or giveaway for customers who write reviews.
  • Request review through automated emails.
  • Meet with your clients directly and ask for a review.

If they are struggling with negative reviews or they’re having trouble getting reviews at all, many businesses work with marketing agencies to improve the situation. Reputation management is now, more than ever before, a multi-layered project that many businesses don’t have enough time or skills to completely manage. Marketing agencies may offer reputation management and improvement campaigns using the strategies above, as well as many others.

If you’re wondering how you can get the word out or improve your business reputation this year, test out these online reputation management trends in 2019. With a new approach for the new year, you may find yourself getting more notice and even beating out the old standbys in your industry.

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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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Testimonial are the Rules of Effective Social Proof in Healthcare Marketing

Testimonial are the Rules of Effective Social Proof in Healthcare Marketing | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Puppy dogs (and kittens) are cuddly cute. Babies (and kids) are scene-stealers. But in healthcare marketing, there’s nothing more convincing-and downright effective-than an excellent testimonial.

Sorry canine cuteness, but testimonials have been called “the single most powerful marketing tool.” They are a close relative to word-of-mouth advertising, and they are effective in “closing the sale” for many of the same reasons.

 

After all, what people say about you is many times more convincing than what you say about yourself. (With that in mind, see this page of comments.)

 

What’s more, testimonials are highly versatile. They can be used in brochures, printed materials, on your website, as well as in video format online (website, YouTube, etc.) and in many marketing, advertising and promotional applications. Testimonials are often key elements in television broadcast commercials such as these examples.

 

Unfortunately, testimonials are often done wrong; well intended, but next to useless.

 

Of course we recognize that this is a tool that is not ideal for every medical marketing or healthcare delivery situation. What’s more, HIPAA considerations have many practices and hospitals a bit “gun shy” about anything that approaches privacy boundaries. (If you’re curious but cautious, talk to your legal counsel.)

Nevertheless, testimonials—when they are done properly—can provide an energetic element of convincing “salesmanship” to the marketing message of many healthcare products, services and situations.

 

Why testimonials are effective.
Testimonials work for many reasons, and chief among these is that they are a form of “social proof.” On a psychological level, most individuals want to know that others, like themselves, have made this same choice and benefited from that decision. Testimonials build trust and reinforce the buyer’s inclination or decision to purchase a product or service.

By extension, the consumer takes comfort in joining his/her peer group, and further, can anticipate achieving the same benefits. The process reduces or overcomes doubt. In short, the consumer is empowered by a lower sense of risk and a greater sense of reward. Further, this assurance originates with a third-party.

 

Four ingredients of powerful testimonials.
An unguided and spontaneous testimonial can be enthusiastic but ineffective:

 

“I was really delighted to find [provider] and just loved


!! I don’t know anything like [it/him/them] anywhere!!! Much better than [something else.] Gracious sakes…it’s really the best!!!!”


Subtract the energetic tone (and the four exclamation marks) and this comment doesn’t actually say much. Mindful of policies and regulations, here is a list of slightly overlapping key ingredients that produce powerful and effective testimonials.

 

BENEFIT-DRIVEN – A good testimonial clearly describes how the recipient derived benefit from the product or service. What was the problem, need or compelling circumstance that was overcome or resolved?


SPECIFICITY – This is what or how the product or service produced tangible or quantifiable positive results. The more specific the better.


PERSONAL – Preferably a testimonial is first person; about themselves and not others… and in their own words or voice.


EMOTIONAL TOUCH – An audio or video testimonial can help communicate the positive energy, sense of satisfaction, and/or pleasure related to the product/service. How did this produce some form of happiness…feel better, look better, able to do things?


CREDIBLE/BELIEVABLE – Where possible and appropriate, a good testimonial will include a person’s name, location, photo and other details that allow the reader to relate to this being someone like them. Are they someone from a similar locale, situation or demographic?


Highly effective testimonials can reinforce your branding and further differentiate what you have to offer from the competition. Of course you’ll need signed permission to use the words, image and/or voice of the person who provides the testimonial.

 

Finally, have a system that guides and gathers testimonial comments. (Although many people may genuinely appreciate your products or services-and would welcome the opportunity to say so-they need a channel to express their thoughts. Help them.

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Physician Ratings and Reviews on Sites Can Never Be Ignored

Physician Ratings and Reviews on Sites Can  Never Be Ignored | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

All too often, the love-hate attitude about online physician rating sites comes down to a strong desire by doctors to simply ignore them.

 

After all, doctors are too busy to attend to the largely imperfect and unreliable noise and chatter of patient comments. Even the “positive” reviews are rarely qualified to speak to clinical competency, which patients have little means to assess.

As for the rest of the online static, many doctors say they have zero time to listen to patient chatter–ranging from minor gripes about parking or paperwork to perceptions of an impersonal front desk.

 

Nevertheless, patient reviews and experiential feedback are not to be ignored. For one thing, it is simply good business to be in touch with the “voice of the customer.” Admittedly, it’s an imperfect system, but it’s part of the doctor-patient communications process, and a means to better understand the needs and wants of patients.

 

Then there’s the bottom line to consider. The purchase decision of about one-third of patients searching for a health care provider will be influenced—positively or negatively—by online reviews. And many patients would select an out-of-network doctor with better reviews than in-network doctors.

 

Fortunately, studies routinely find that positive reviews continue to outdistance the negative ones. But a growing number of patients also use online review to evaluate their current doctor, or the doctor they have selected, according to the 2014 Software Advice IndustryView study.

 

“[The] majority (61 percent) use them prior to choosing a doctor. However, a slightly greater percentage of patients in 2014—20 percent, up from 19 percent in 2013—say they use online reviews to evaluate their current doctor.


“Doctors should be aware that both current and new patients may be using reviews to evaluate their performance, and thus having a positive online presence on review sites is a step toward not just attracting patients, but retaining them.”

Where to begin…

 

There are dozens of online review sites, but the Software Advice study finds that “Yelp is the most popular online review site (27 percent), but ties with HealthGrades for most trusted.”

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Manage Online Reputation With a Patient Feedback System 

Manage Online Reputation With a Patient Feedback System  | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Reputation is everything in business, and in today’s digital era this includes your online standing.

 

When choosing a new healthcare provider, people have plenty of options, so many browse the internet to find the practice with the best reviews.

 

An overwhelming 82 percent of U.S. adults read online customer ratings or reviews before making a purchase decision, according to 2016 data from the Pew Research Center.

 

More than half (54 percent) focus on the extremely negative ones, so unkind words can actually hurt your practice.

 

If you’re trying to attract new patients, it’s time to take control of your online reputation. Here are four ways to generate reviews with an effective patient feedback system.

Send a quick survey

Your patients are busy people. They don’t have time to complete a lengthy post-visit questionnaire, so make giving feedback easy.

 

After each visit, send a short patient satisfaction survey via text or email. Serving as a post-appointment follow-up of sorts, promptly reaching out allows you to connect with them while they visit is still fresh in their mind.

 

The key to attracting new patients — and retaining existing ones — is finding out what people liked and disliked about their visit. Everyone won’t complete the survey, but automatically send one to each person incites a higher response rate.

Handle issues privately

You strive to provide patients with the first-class service, but no healthcare practice is perfect all the time. In fact, 62.4 percent of providers have had at least one patient post a negative review online about their practice, according to our 2018 Online Reputation Management Survey.

 

When you have a robust patient feedback system in place, you’re able to learn about the problem before the person writes a negative review online. This allows you to manage the issue offline, so it doesn’t play out in a public sphere.

 

Taking the time to rectify the issue will make the patient feel valued. When it has been resolved, it’s possible they’ll write you a positive review that will help attract new patients.

Invite patients to share

People like to voice their thoughts and opinions. When patients have a positive experience with your practice, many are happy to write a review but need a little push.

 

Results of the recent PatientPop survey revealed that 52 percent of healthcare providers ask patients to share their experience online. However, 71.3 percent of practices receive reviews from no more than 5 percent of their patients.

 

Clearly, most providers aren’t using an effective patient feedback system. Investing in a tool that invites patients to post reviews and makes it easy to do so will generate a higher response rate.

 

For prospective new patients, nothing weighs greater than the opinions of those currently under your care. Positive reviews build trust. If patients sing your praises, readers will be more inclined to call you, instead of a competitor without those reviews.

Send friendly reminders

Feedback from existing patients is a fantastic way to attract new patients, so if you don’t succeed the first time, keep trying. Give people multiple opportunities to respond to your patient satisfaction survey, because their opinions matter.

 

Let patients know how important it is for them to complete the survey and how much you truly appreciate their taking the time to do it. Even those who truly intended to fill it out on the first try can easily forget, so a gentle nudge can make all the difference.

 

Getting a handle on your online reputation management is a must for attracting new patients. People put a lot of stock in online reviews, so giving current patients a voice can seriously boost your practice.

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5 holiday healthcare marketing mistakes practices must avoid

5 holiday healthcare marketing mistakes practices must avoid | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

1. Not marketing your practice during the holidays

If you associate the holiday season with a lower patient volume, you may think healthcare marketing is less important this time of year. But choosing not to market your practice is perhaps the biggest healthcare marketing mistake of all.

 

By not marketing your practice, you’re counting yourself out of the decision-making process for those patients who are seeking care. A successful healthcare marketing strategy can also help you mitigate against a slower season for your practice.

 

You’ve also missed the opportunity to incorporate creative campaigns and content topics into your healthcare marketing ideas. Timely and relevant content can make your campaigns more effective because you’re providing your patients with the information they find useful. Campaigns and blog posts that are tied to a specific event like a holiday are also more likely to be shared with others, so the right content can help you reach more people.

 

Plus, even if fewer new patients are coming into your practice this season, the holidays present an opportunity to use healthcare marketing to reach and retain your current patients, to wish them well, and to thank them for being loyal to your practice.

2. Thinking there’s less interest in health toward the end of the year

The holiday season may have its share of parties and late nights, but it would be a mistake to think there’s a lack of interest in health this time of year. On the contrary, during moments where people may be indulging more, there can be a heightened awareness of healthy habits. 

 

New Year’s resolutions, for example, are often tied to health and productivity goals. According to Branded, one out of four people said they would make a resolution in 2019, and 65 percent of people said resolutions are always or sometimes an effective way to break or curb bad habits.

 

Plus, because people are more likely to have hit their deductibles toward the end of the year, they might seek care when they can minimize their individual costs. An analysis by athenahealth shows a rise in patient appointments toward the end of the year among commercially-insured patients.

 

Try a healthcare marketing campaign that targets your commercially-insured patients and reminds them of end-of-the-year care deadlines.

3. Not being inclusive in messaging

When planning your holiday healthcare marketing strategy, it’s important to create messaging and content that is inclusive of everyone. Patients celebrate many holidays toward the end of the year depending on their culture or religion, and you may risk alienating some by only focusing on a single holiday.

 

Being inclusive with your healthcare marketing allows you to reach more people and is especially important to younger patients. According to Accenture, Millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers. This was cited by almost 70 percent of all Millennials.

4. Not updating your website and web profiles

The holidays often mean changing schedules for both patients and healthcare providers alike. If you have special holiday hours, make sure that communicating them to current and prospective customers is at the top of your healthcare marketing strategy this year. This gives patients the transparency they need to book an appointment.

 

An accurate and prominent web presence is an essential component of your healthcare marketing strategy, and this is even more important during the holidays when you may have less time to field questions.

 

Update your hours wherever they exist online, including your website and web profiles. You may also want to include your holiday hours in an email to your patient list well in advance, so they can make the proper arrangements.

5. Waiting until the last minute

Do not wait until the week before major holidays to start your holiday healthcare marketing. Give your patients ample time to understand any changes to your schedule or promotional offers. This also gives you a chance to share important messages multiple times, so you can ensure more people see them.

 

Plus, if you’re offering holiday-related tips — like how to eat healthy during the holidays, how to best avoid getting sick while traveling, or how to stick to your New Year’s resolution — waiting too long may make your content less relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. According to Yes Marketing, conversion rates for holiday-themed emails in November 2018 were double those sent in December, so getting an early start can mean better outcomes, especially if you’re selling gift ideas.

 

Healthcare marketing is a year-round effort. There’s always an opportunity to connect with your patients and make your practice stand out from all other care options.

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5 Surprising Facebook Tips for Healthcare

5 Surprising Facebook Tips for Healthcare | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Sick of posting the same types of updates over and over again to your healthcare organization’s Facebook page? It’s a fun marketing tactic for your team to take on. And yet, many businesses’ Facebook strategies tend to grow stale over time.

 

We’ll be the first to admit that organic Facebook activity is not a primary source of lead generation for healthcare organizations. 

1: Use plenty of video

It’s probably not surprising that you can post video to your feed. But it may be surprising how much of a difference video makes in your social media advertising strategy.

 

According to Hootsuite, 71% of people have increased their amount of time spent watching online video since 2018, and it is the dominant form of media on the internet today. Additionally, Facebook video can increase brand awareness to about 67%—as long as it’s optimized for a mobile device.

 

Use video as often as you can if you want to reach more people, both organically and in Facebook ads. On average, people watch video 5 times longer than they look at text posts or image posts online. 

2: Expand video to your cover photo

You don’t have to limit your videos to your news feed. Make your business profile stand out with a video cover image. People on the fence about following you may be drawn in by movement, whether it’s video of happy patients or shots from around the office.

 

Here’s a tip: you don’t have to have each video professionally made. Your cover photo (and your online ads) could be improved even with a simple animation. Use a site like Animoto (or any of dozens of apps like it) to make video creation a lot simpler. Any amount of movement is proven to be more effective than a static image.

3: Animate your profile picture

You could have movement in both your business profile’s cover photo and profile picture. You’ll simply upload a GIF as a profile photo using a tool like GIPHY to create it from a video clip.

 

We’d recommend against having too much movement on the top of your page—you might consider picking either an animated profile picture or video cover photo. You don’t want to distract from your ultimate message—that people should follow your page or, more importantly, call for an appointment.

4: Pin posts to the top of your page

Got a big announcement to make that you want everyone to see? Chances are high that you’ll keep posting and re-posting about a new practice location, a new service line, or something else that may be of interest to a prospective patient. And that’s a solid strategy.

 

But there’s another easy way to make sure this announcement is the first thing people see when they click on your page. Simply pin your announcement to the top of the page by clicking the ellipses at the top of the page.

 

5: Don’t leave out the little things

One of the most surprising things we see in Facebook business pages for healthcare organizations is how much is missing. 

Many businesses don’t realize how important a call-to-action is. People need to know what action you want them to take after visiting their page.

 

Should they “Call Now” or “Book Online?” Business pages have the option of adding a call-to-action that links to a phone number, website, or booking tool. 

 

Otherwise, just make sure your profile is completely filled out. Include links to your website and YouTube channel. Fill in your “About” information and make sure people know how to find you with your full address and contact information.

 

Optimize your Facebook even further with the help of social media advertising experts. Contact Healthcare Success at (800) 656-0907 for a complete online advertising strategy that includes mobile-optimized video ads that reach your target audience.

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Online Reviews: 5 Things That Leave a Negative Impact on New Patients

Online Reviews: 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.

 

The statistics above also points toward the idea that consumers are relying more on recent reviews. It is becoming a clear trend with the figure rising from 69% in 2015 to 73% in 2016. 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. Result – less visibility on web.

 

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.

 

There are 60 review websites focused on healthcare in the US. It's difficult and expensive to keep up with all these platforms manually. That's why it's recommended that medical practices and doctors invest in a healthcare reputation management solution for the job.

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Dentist Reputation Management: Why It Is Needed & How to Implement It

Dentist Reputation Management: Why It Is Needed & How to Implement It | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Do you know that the healthcare industry ranks third amongst the list of industries for which reviews are most read? Also, 82% of patients consult one or more review sites with some frequency to view or post comments and ratings of healthcare staff.

 

Paired with the effect that online reviews have on the search engine rankings of local business’ websites (you will learn about this as you go through this blog) and you’ll understand why reputation management is crucial for your dental care practice. In this blog, we’ll tell you about the crucial role of dentist reputation management in growing your practice and also give you a complete checklist of how you should implement it.

Why Dentists Require Reputation Management

Online reviews are the primary component in reputation management. In fact, all reputation management efforts are focused on improving the overall picture of reviews that appear online. Patients make their decision almost wholly based on reviews (for most people, online reviews are as much trustworthy as personal recommendations). Reviews and star ratings also affect click-through-rates** for your website, which is an important factor in your website’s Google search ranking. ** Click-Through-Rate (CTR) refers to how many people click the link to your website after seeing it in the search results. A BrighLocal study suggests that going from a 3-star rating to a 5-star rating gets a business 25% more clicks from Google Local Pack, the most coveted section of Google’s search results that shows local businesses (like your dental practice) to the user query.

As more patients visit your website, it increases the chances that more appointments will be booked. Higher CTR = More No. of Potential Patients Visiting Your Website => Increased Rate of Appointments from Your Website Is online reputation management really effective for dentists? Can it really improve those overall star ratings and help acquire more new patients for your dental care practice? GMR Web Team, a premier dental marketing agency, conducted an extensive study to look into this. It studied review-writing and star-rating behavior of patients of its dental care clients to understand the effectiveness of reputation management efforts for its clients. The team involved in the study compiled patient review data for two different periods: Sep 2014 to Aug 2016, when these dental care clients were not using reputation management services; and Sep 2016 to March 2018, when they were using reputation management services. Data was gathered from Yelp and Google, as these are the most prominent and widely used online review platforms. 

The total number of patient reviews posted on Yelp saw a double-fold increase during this period. Its impact was also seen in the overall star ratings. which increased substantially, from 3.11 to 4.55. Similar results were found for patient reviews and star ratings on.

How Dentists Should Proceed with Online Reputation Management

Dentist reputation management involves activities that include:

Claiming or creating your business account on important review sites and other local online directories

The first step is to create your dental practice’s business account on different online review sites and other local online directories. Unless you’re a newly established practice, you may likely find an already existing account in your practice’s name on some of these websites. In that case, you’ll need to claim your accounts by filling in or completing the relevant business information. This whole process is called local business listing. Local business listing is necessary as your potential patients from your vicinity may use one, or a combination of respective platforms to gather specific information about your practice; such as, address, phone number, map location of your practice, etc. Generally, such inquiries are made by patients who are in their final phase of selecting a dentist. The most prominent healthcare-specific local online review sites where your dental practice must be listed are Vitals, RateMDs, HealthGrades, etc. Other general but highly-influencing avenues are Google My Business, Yelp, Facebook, and YellowPages. Although listing on all these platforms is a must, there are some particular reasons to separately mention Google My Business (GMB). Here is why GMB listing and optimization is crucial to the success of your dental practice:

  • Helps Google provide the most accurate answers to user queries
  • Increases your website’s local search ranking on Google
  • Helps your practice gain the prominence of appearing into Google Local Pack.

Learn More: Why listing your dental practice on GMB is crucial and how you can optimize your website’s listing there.

Maintaining NAP consistency across the different review and other listing sites

While listing your practice’s business information on various review sites and other local online directories, you must ensure that the information is consistent on all platforms, especially, the name of your business, its address, and the phone number. This is called maintaining NAP consistency. As believed by many SEO (search engine optimization) experts, Google cross-validates the legitimacy of businesses by cross-referencing a business’ NAPs as they appear on multiple websites. Failure in maintaining the NAP consistency might result in losing the confidence of search engines in your dental practice resulting in lower ranking in local searches. Also, a potential patient might use a specific review platform to access your contact number. Learn More: Inconsistent online listings; their symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Facilitating review generation from patients

Most likely, you won’t find reviews flowing in on their own to the newly created or claimed review accounts for your practice. You’ll need to facilitate the review writing process so patients can easily leave a review. RepuGen offers an easy way to consistently gather genuine patient reviews that portray the patient satisfaction picture for your dental practice most accurately. RepuGen’s review requesting process is entirely compliant with the guidelines of all major healthcare and non-healthcare specific review websites, including those of Google. RepuGen is also HIPAA-compliant as we do not use or disclose patients’ personal health information unless permitted or required by HIPAA addendum, or as required by law. Also Read: 12 Simple Ways to Encourage Patients to Leave Great Reviews for Your Practice

Responding to patient reviews online

According to a study, 65% of patients feel it’s important for doctors to respond to a negative review. Show customers that you are willing to go the extra mile by directly addressing their concerns publicly and extending a hand to solve the problem. The study also lays in some Dos and Don’ts for doctors and healthcare providers while responding to negative patient reviews. Find them in the below-given attachment.

 

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Online reviews and HIPAA: What you need to know about responding to patient reviews

Online reviews and HIPAA: What you need to know about responding to patient reviews | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

HIPAA adds extra complications for healthcare providers facing negative online reviews. The common wisdom for most businesses is to respond to all negative feedback publicly. However, HIPAA levies large fines and penalties against providers who reveal personal health information without patient consent.

 

It’s no wonder then that most healthcare providers are gun-shy when it comes to responding to online reviews. Fewer than one in five have a process for dealing with bad reviews, even though more than 80% of providers are concerned about the damage reviews can cause.

 

That said, there are HIPAA-compliant ways of dealing with patient reviews, and you should definitely incorporate review responding into your practice routine.

Why responding to online reviews is so important

Especially given that healthcare can be a life-and-death matter, prospective patients pay a lot of attention to a provider’s online reviews. In fact, 94% of people use online reviews to evaluate physicians, and 75% say that review sites have influenced their choice of provider. As such, negative reviews on sites like Vitals.com, Healthgrades.com, RateMDs.com, Google, and Yelp can be especially damaging—destroying your online reputation and turning away prospective patients.

 

The good news is that most patients tend to write positive reviews. But when negative reviews do pop up, you can often turn them into good reviews by responding promptly in a caring, professional, and HIPAA-compliant manner.

 

These online interactions show potential customers how much you care about your patients’ satisfaction, which can significantly boost your online reputation. Moreover, responding thoughtfully to a negative review can cause a two-fifths of viewers to overlook it.

 

But you shouldn’t just respond to bad reviews; you should also respond to good reviews. In fact, 70% of people believe it’s important for healthcare providers to respond to all reviews online. Doing so not only demonstrates that you listen to your patients, but it also shows that you truly value them and are grateful for their feedback.

 

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Hidden Positive Effects of Negative Reviews

Hidden Positive Effects of Negative Reviews | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

Negative reviews are tough to see. Whether the negative review was left by a particularly picky customer or something just went wrong that day, negative reviews don’t seem fair. It’s tempting to try and get rid of or cover up these harsh comments by any means necessary. However, manipulating the review system to only show positive reviews is not only unethical, but it can hurt your business. Negative reviews can actually have some positive effects.

7 Ways Negative Reviews Create Positive Results:

If you’re panicking and wondering how to take the review down or cover it up, ask yourself if the negative review accomplishes these things. It may seem counterintuitive, but negative reviews can actually help you.

1. Finding the Right Customers

If a customer says the product or service just didn’t work for them, it may be a simple matter of opinion. For example, a diner looking for a quick, cheap meal might not enjoy a cozy sit-down restaurant, and they might leave a negative review. Other customers may read this review and realize the restaurant isn’t what they want either, but that’s OK. If your business isn’t designed for these customers, it’s better for both of you if they find one that is.

2. Uncovering Problems

A business owner will never have the same experience as a customer. Negative reviews bring attention to problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. Whether you have a rude employee, a malfunctioning product, slow shipping, or something else, it’s best to know about the problem and respond to it rather than letting it drive away more customers. Make sure to regularly audit your business reputation to uncover these problems right away.

3. Creating Realistic Expectations

Negative reviews usually explain what a product or service isn’t, which will help other buyers get a realistic picture of what they’re buying. A negative review that points out a product or service’s limitations will save other buyers from being disappointed, creating a better overall experience and reducing requests for refunds. Buyers that get what they expect will be more likely to leave positive reviews.

4. Proving Authenticity

A complete absence of negative reviews is impossible and customers know it. While compliments on a job well done are welcome, negative reviews show that the comments are honest and trustworthy. If you have 50 five-star reviews without a single critical comment, customers are more likely to be dubious than impressed.

5. Showing Responsiveness

Thanking customers for their positive reviews shows that you are friendly and attentive, but this isn’t likely to stand out in a prospective customer’s mind. The best way to handle negative feedback is to address it and solve it, and this response will make an impact on new buyers. A business that addresses complaints gives buyers security, showing that they don’t have to worry if something goes wrong.

6. Making Your Business Approachable

Nobody is perfect. If a negative review highlights a mistake or a problem, it’s OK to own up and say you’ll do better next time. Reacting to criticism with a calm and constructive attitude shows customers that you are a real person and that you are honest and reasonable. This is especially true for reviews that are overly harsh or dramatic; your calm, pleasant response will be even clearer against an argumentative comment.

7. Providing More Information

A business owner can describe or display their product or service on their website or the shopping page, but they can’t provide all the details that every customer might want to know. Negative reviews, which usually target specific things, tend to be more helpful than positive reviews in this case. Negative reviews may point out that a clothing item fits smaller than normal or that a restaurant is especially spicy. These may be negative attributes for some and positive for others, but the information is helpful for all potential customers.

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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?

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The Beginner’s Guide to Online Review Management

The Beginner’s Guide to Online Review Management | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

The Beginner’s Guide to Online Review Management

Make a List

Before you can begin your online review management and improvement, you have to know what you’re up against. Block out some time to do some research and audit your online business reputation. To start, search for your business as a customer might. What comes up first? Your website? Your Facebook Page? Your Google Business listing? A third-party site? Are these reviews reliable and made by real customers?

 

You’ll probably come across some negative reviews, but don’t worry about addressing them yet. At this stage, simply try to gather as much information as you can. In your list, record the following information about each result you find:

  • URL
  • Search engine results page (SERP) position
  • Number of reviews listed
  • Overall star-rating and/or overall sentiment (positive, negative, neutral)
  • Reviews appear to be made by real customers (or not)
  • Information within the reviews is accurate (or not)
  • Complaints in the reviews have been addressed (or not)

 

After the first page of results, do a quick scan to see if there are any particularly problematic results, like a blog post or local news story defaming your business. If you find these, add them to your list. If not, stick to the first page of results. Since most customers don’t scroll past the first page of results, it’s probably not worth your time to go past the first page either.

Prioritize Online Review Sources

At this point, you probably have 8 to 10 items on your online review management list. Most likely, you don’t have the time to manage all of these. Choose the sources that are most impactful, and prioritize managing those first.

Look at your research from the previous step and find which sites showed up first, which scores were bad, or any reviews that were obviously false. If any of the sites that showed up had ten or more positive reviews, you might skip these and move on to more urgent items. Remember your own website is important here too, especially if it shows up high on the SERP.

Established Businesses

If you’re a well-established business, you may find that you already have a number of positive reviews across a variety of sites. After all, you’ve been around this long because you do a good job and customers like you! In this case, you may want to take a closer look at the ROI of online reputation management. Your strategy can always be stronger, and you can reach more customers with well-placed reviews. To start, look for holes in your online reviews; are there any places customers are looking for you, but not finding you? If you don’t have a Facebook page, website, or other top online listings, these should be your priority.

New Businesses

New businesses may find a few relevant results to start. That’s okay. A clean slate is good; you have the opportunity to control the conversation around your business. You’ll want to prioritize the top spots on the SERP. Ideally, these will be your Google Business listing, website, and Facebook page. You can control some parts of what appears on your Google Business listing and Facebook page, and every aspect of your website, so make sure this information is accurate, and your SEO is good. If you don’t have any reviews in these places yet, this is a good place to start.    

Gather more reviews

Now that you have the information you need, you’ll need to bolster the reviews on your top-priority sites. Make a plan to gather more testimonials and direct customers to the site to post their reviews. There are several ways to do this, and which you choose will depend on where you want to gather more reviews and how you best interact with your customers. Here are a few ways you can ask for reviews;

  • Automated email campaign
  • In-store tablet or kiosk
  • Facebook campaign
  • Customer appreciation event
  • Contest or giveaway
  • Other unconventional ways

With the right plan, you can automate your testimonial gathering process in under one hour. Check out the Step-by-Step Guide to Automating Testimonial Collection.

Manage Your Online Reviews

If you have some reviews coming in through emails, some on YouTube, some on Facebook, and a number of other places, it’s going to get difficult to manage. Focus your reviews into one easy-to-use platform, and make sure customers know where to go to submit them. If you use Boast, you can request, gather, approve, and display text and video testimonials all in one place. You’ll also want to use a platform that integrates with your WordPress website, Facebook page, MailChimp account, and other services so you can use the reviews that you gather in more places. With these integrations, you can continue to manage your online reviews from one place, but use them in many different ways.

Monitor Your Online Reviews

Nothing online remains unchanged for very long, and your online reputation is no different. After you boost your reputation on your top-priority sites, including your own website, you’ll want to monitor these sites. You can set up Google Alerts with your company name as a keyword to see when new mentions go up anywhere online. It’s also a good idea to check back on your review sites periodically and thank customers who post reviews, and respond (where appropriate) to negative reviews or issues. Finally, keep gathering, posting and using testimonials in new ways. Some of the top brands in the world use testimonials to maintain their industry authority, engage customers, build community, and build trust.

 

Once you have a plan to manage online reviews, the process won’t seem so chaotic. Remember that building (or repairing) your reputation takes time, consistent effort, and exemplary service. If you continue to impress your customers and make it easy for them to show their approval, you’ll start to see more reviews rolling in.

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Should Doctors Buy Google Reviews for Their Medical Practice?

Should Doctors Buy Google Reviews for Their Medical Practice? | Online Reputation Management for Doctors | Scoop.it

If you’re worried about the negative patient feedback that is drawing attention from prospective patients online, then it must be tempting to take a few shortcuts to get a quick fix. Perhaps, you may be wondering if you can buy Google reviews with 5-star ratings that can quickly bury the negative patient feedback and clear off the blemishes in search results.there is a growing market for businesses looking to buy Google reviews that are in fact, “fake reviews,” as they are posted under a random name and Google user who may or may not even be a real person. Healthcare providers who are struggling with negative reviews are increasingly getting drawn towards these 5-star review purchase services. Service providers are luring them with the promise to deliver "5-star quality reviews" from "fully completed (Google) profiles and realistic photo attached account.” They also assure to provide reviews from users residing in the US, and even from a close vicinity to make it more relevant for local businesses like healthcare.

 

You Should NOT Buy Google Reviews for Your Medical Practice. Here’s Why.
Before you buy fake Google reviews, you should know about its short and long-term consequences for your healthcare business. Read on!


Buying (fake) Google reviews isn’t ethical.
Healthcare businesses need to be ethically superior at functioning than any other business. Be it the patients, healthcare or medical communities, regulatory bodies, and even any responsible medical or general review sites out there, all of them consider selling or purchasing of patient reviews not just ethically wrong but also illegal.

 

Review selling or purchasing is also against Google’s guidelines
Google has indicated in its guidelines that it will consider a review fake and take it down if it doesn’t reflect a person’s genuine experience at a business location. The search engine giant also clearly prohibits offering or exchanging money in exchange for reviews. According to Google, businesses that do not follow these guidelines strictly are under a severe risk of getting blacklisted.

 

FTC will come after you
During the past few years, regulators have become increasingly cautious about fake reviews, and there had been instances where they cracked down on fake online reviews. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) executed “Operation Clean Turf” in which they caught and slapped hefty fines on companies that were generating fake reviews online. Out of the 19 companies that paid a total of $3,500,000 as a penalty, eight were from health and related categories.


Both your patients and Google can easily tell the difference
No matter what those “Google review traders” say, you’ll end up receiving at least a few obviously-fake-reviews, which today’s tech-savvy health consumers can easily recognize. It will erode prospective patients' trust which can result in a decreased patient acquisition. If you think you can cheat Google with fake reviews to improve your search rankings, save your skills! Google has all the information about its users, and it can easily recognize whether the review posted by a user is fake or genuine by checking their recent online activities.


Fake feedback doesn’t benefit your practice in any way
As fake feedback doesn't tell the right story, there’s nothing you can learn about your areas-of-improvement. Genuine patient feedback, when understood collectively, provides valuable insights into the common patient experience issues or problems. It’s only by knowing the real issues that you can address them.


Get Genuine Patient Reviews, Ethically
Instead of buying five star Google reviews, try to earn positive patient reviews. We’ve already written about strategies on how healthcare providers can ethically earn positive patient reviews on sites like Google. For many, simply asking (verbally or virtually) their patients to write reviews works effectively. We also suggest going beyond just asking and facilitating your patients in submitting reviews. RepuGen is an online reputation management tool for doctors that helps them get genuine reviews from their patients by facilitating patients through the review-writing process. RepuGen also allows your patients to directly submit their reviews and ratings to review sites of their choice. The review acquisition process on RepuGen is fully HIPAA-compliant, which means your patients’ personal health information is completely safe and secure. Here’s how RepuGen’s way of acquiring patient reviews benefits your healthcare practice:

 

  • You don’t always (awkwardly) have to ask your patients to write reviews. RepuGen will send texts and emails to patients asking them to leave reviews.
  • It saves your patients from manually posting reviews on review sites. RepuGen provides an option to post reviews directly from its interface.
  • You can easily track patient reviews on multiple review sites using a single dashboard.
  • You’ll always know when a new patient review goes online. This will allow you to respond (if necessary) ASAP.
  • RepuGen’s sentiment analysis technology will provide valuable insights into the patient experience issues and problems that will allow you to address them effectively and efficiently.
  • The improved patient experience, in turn, will create new patient acquisition opportunities that will help you grow your practice.
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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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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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