By Aaron Clifford
By Aaron Clifford
As a chiropractor, you’ve worked tirelessly to improve your patients’ quality of life and build your practice – and then you get a two-star rating on Google. No one likes a bad review and you don’t want it affecting your business.
Patient feedback is changing the business of health care. Patients are spending more and more time online researching practitioners to select the best provider. A recent U.S. national survey conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Binary Fountain, found that 75 per cent of consumers say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a provider. For instance, consumers are using patient feedback from rating and review sites like Healthgrades, Vitals and Google; social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and hundreds of other sources to help select a provider just as they would utilize reviews on TripAdvisor to find the best hotel or restaurant. With the increasing amount of online ratings and reviews posted to third-party rating and review sites and social media, it’s important for chiropractors to be vigilant about monitoring their online reputation. For many prospective patients, their first impression and potentially final decision may be based solely on online ratings and reviews.
Although online reputation management creates new challenges for chiropractic offices, it also provides practices with the opportunity to better inform and guide patient choice. Health care organizations are now managing and promoting their online ratings, reviews and surveys as a way to retain existing patients and acquire new ones. To remain competitive in the new era of health care consumerism, below are a couple of tips and best practices to help chiropractors manage and enhance their online reputation.
1. Increase your online presence
Online patient feedback has created a highly competitive landscape where star ratings and reviews on chiropractor online profiles can be a differentiator. The volume of these reviews matter, too. Would you give more consideration to a restaurant with 50 reviews or one that has three reviews if they have the same rating? Encouraging patient feedback is crucial for increasing online reviews that can help market your practice and capturing valuable insights to help you understand where you can (or need to) make improvements.
To turn intentions into actions, consider sending post-appointment follow-up emails or text messages, with links to recommended third-party websites and your own site, asking patients to rate and/or review their experience. It’s recommended to send the request soon after their visit. Asking permission to send them a text message or email can help increase response rates among those who opt-in. Some practices even have collateral they provide patients on how to leave a review online. Keeping the frequency of your requests for feedback to no more than once every six months for each patient. Asking them too often can turn them off from providing a review.
2. Respond to online reviews
Responding to both positive and negative reviews is vital for health care practices to showcase that patient experience is a top priority. Engaging with both positive and negative reviews provides practices with the opportunity to spotlight and thank the positive reviews, and conduct appropriate service recovery on the negative ones. Prospective patients looking for a chiropractor are reading these reviews, so it’s an opportunity to influence their decision.
When a patient leaves a negative review, it’s especially important to quickly reach out and address the concern with the patient. A best practice for negative reviews entails responding to the patient online, thanking them for expressing their concern, and having them reach out to your office by phone or email to resolve the issue, rather than resolving the issue publicly online. When negative comments are addressed in a timely manner, health care practices can turn negative experiences into positive ones. As a result, patients may return to the negative review they previously left, and update it with a positive response. By encouraging, promoting and engaging with all types of patient feedback, chiropractic practices can establish a prominent online presence that serves as a public portfolio for all new and existing patients.
3. Build your provider profile page
As vital as it is to manage your brand or practice’s online reputation over social media and third-party review sites, creating a detailed provider profile on your website is important, too. Your credentials, location, hours of service, contact information and reviews posted to your site are important and help prospective patients make their selection. Having a high volume of fresh reviews on your site can help with improving your position in search results. Not every review you receive will be a five-star review and you shouldn’t be afraid to have them on your site. People prefer honesty from those they’ll do business with. It’s strongly discouraged to re-post your reviews from third-party rating and reviews on your site. Google doesn’t like content being duplicated on different sites and it can hurt your review page search rankings. It’s also a good idea to offer patients a way to schedule their appointments online. Not only is it an efficient way to schedule, it can also let you know the appointment request came from your website.
4. Take action on your findings
With the vast amount of patient feedback available online, practices need to monitor, analyze and act on the data provided by patients. With the right tools and strategies in place, practices can dig deeper to identify the health care touchpoints that are consistently ranking high on patient experience scores (provider bedside manner, front desk staff, etc.). They can also isolate the more problematic components of the practice, like scheduling an appointment, wait time, parking, billing, etc. Today, more and more providers are leveraging patient feedback data as a means of benchmarking their performance. There is no better time than the present to start gathering, reviewing and analyzing patient feedback to improve online ratings and reviews and ultimately increase patient acquisitions and referrals.
Online reputation management has become an essential part of health care marketing and patient relations for all practices within the medical field. Effective online reputation management can preserve and enhance a chiropractor’s brand as well as provide transparency and clarity for consumers searching for a specialist. When put into practice, health care reputation management will become a catalyst for the overall success of chiropractic offices.
Aaron Clifford is the senior vice-president of marketing at Binary Fountain.