In today’s healthcare industry, customer service has a major influence on how consumers judge the quality of the care they receive, and with the increasing relevance of tech in the healthcare space, patients are relying on review sites more than ever before to choose their providers. Here are our top five marketing techniques to help you take control of your practice’s reputation.
The results of one recent study, which looked at reviews for the U.S. News and World Report’s 20 top-ranked hospitals, really put this into perspective. Even though these hospitals had great clinical outcomes, around two thirds of them had poor-to-middling reviews on Yelp. And out of 2,700 reviews, 84 percent of complaints involved customer service issues like billing problems or lengthy wait times.
What does this mean for you and your practice? It means that online reviews have never been more important.
Benchmarking is all about evaluating where you stand now, in comparison to where you want to be. To get started, choose several of the most popular review sites for your area. Then, check out the profiles and reviews for your practice and a few of your competitors.
Look for patterns in the reviews. Do patients complain about the same things over and over again? How do the highest-rated practices handle complaints?
This technique will help you set goals for the future. You might find that you need to make major service improvements, or you might just need to encourage your happy patients to leave positive reviews.
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Now that you know where your practice is listed, you can take ownership of your listings, and there are various platforms on which you can do so. In addition to the usual Yelp and Google Business, as of 2017, there were at least 65 websites devoted specifically to medical reviews.
Many of these review sites will allow you to claim your practice’s listings in order to verify that you are a legitimate business. For example, you can use Google My Business to claim your listing on Google.
When your profiles are complete and verified, your patients will be more likely to engage with you online. This will not only help you boost your rankings in search results, but also give you the opportunity to get feedback from current patients and make a good impression for prospective ones.
Help patients put a face to the name. One of the simplest ways to build engagement online is to use photos and profiles of the people who work in your practice. In fact, research shows that photographs of faces can make consumers feel that your business is more trustworthy.
Check out Luma customer Sanova Dermatology’s Google listing to see how it’s done. They do a great job of using professional photos of their practitioners and staff members to get more personal with patients and build trust.
One of the simplest ways to build engagement online is to use photos and profiles of the people who work in your practice.
When you break down tasks and interactions, you can find the patterns that lead to failure or success. That’s what makes service blueprinting such a powerful marketing technique. It’s a process of documenting the interactions between patients and your practice, all from the customer’s point of view.
A typical service blueprint uses a type of flow chart called a swim lane diagram, with “lanes” that represent things like:
- Patient actions, such as calling to schedule an appointment
- Customer-staff interactions, like welcoming a patient when they arrive
- Behind-the-scenes actions, such as pulling a patient’s file
- Support processes, including steps like processing payments
- Fail points, or the common issues that you are trying to solve
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This technique can reveal the ways that behind-the-scenes actions determine whether patients are happy or frustrated when they leave your practice. For example, we know that long wait times are one of the main things that patients complain about, which makes it all the more important to pay attention to if that is one of your practice’s fail points.
According to a 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates, the average wait time for a new patient to get scheduled is 24 days. This means that updating your scheduling system could make a big difference. That doesn’t just lead to happier patients – it could also have a real impact on your practice’s reputation.
Processes, metrics, and strategies are all important elements of reputation management, but to build and maintain a great online reputation, you’ll have to be both proactive and consistent.
Luckily, Luma has built-in reputation management tools to help you stay on top of it. To see them in action, take a look at our client Lake Washington Physical Therapy. Since using Luma, they’ve seen a big increase in Google reviews, and the process of following up on those reviews has never been easier.
Other ways to stay in the loop and stay on top of your practice’s reputation could include setting up Google alerts or using social media tools to track what people are saying about you online.