If you’ve been paying attention to the consumerization of healthcare, you’ve seen how both positive and negative reviews can affect your bottom line. Your prospective and current patients are paying attention to your online reputation, and those reviews help them decide whether to choose your organization… or not.

Did you know 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more? To compound the issue, 55% of local business never even ask for reviews!

So, you see the business case for reputation management, why it’s worth your time and budget to get a handle on your online reputation. But, just like how when you buy a new red sedan, you suddenly see the same make and model red sedan everywhere, once you turn your attention to your online reviews and ratings, you start seeing more and more comments to address and sources where these reviews exist. With this backlog to address, how do you know where to get started?

Start Small
The first step is to figure out where your patients are already sharing feedback online and start monitoring those reviews. Once you have a feel for common themes and areas for improvement, you can build your strategy to focus on the sources with the most reviews and the biggest impact on your healthcare community.

Begin Responding to Patient Reviews – Positive and Negative
When and how you respond to reviews says a lot about the trustworthiness of your brand to your prospective patients. In a timely manner, craft your responses to be relevant to the patient who left the review, thanking them for positive feedback or acknowledging their frustrations when negative (more tips in this article on responding to negative reviews). As you begin responding to reviews consistently, other consumers will take notice and begin to trust you’d treat them with the same care and respect.

Increase Positive Reviews
You can’t just respond to existing reviews and address negative comments and expect your online reputation to improve. You need to have a strategy in place to increase your positive reviews at the same time. The easiest way to accomplish this is to ask your patients. Soliciting positive reviews should be a built-in process for your providers and their office staff. Your marketing team can also include review requests in your email campaigns, include links to leave reviews on your website, and share the results across channels as well. Not all those reviews you request will be positive, but it’s a process that helps your patients feel truly heard, which will build positive momentum over time.

Choose the Right Strategic Partner
Hopefully, you’ve decided to invest in a reputation management service, so you don’t have to manage the heavy lift of addressing negative reviews and soliciting positive ones on your own. These solutions – part technology, part managed service – can do more than drive positive sentiment for your brand. They can help you rank better in search, so you’re top of mind when consumers are looking for care, and they act as an extension of your busy healthcare marketing team.

The right strategic partner will help you monitor the right review sources, can help you craft a collection of scripts to respond to reviews that are appropriate for healthcare and don’t breach PHI, measure the success of those efforts over time, and provide ongoing support as digital trends, policy, and consumer preferences change.

Want to learn more about how your healthcare organization’s reputation stacks up against your competitors online? Request a free healthcare marketing assessment.