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How Doctors Manage Their Reputation in a Digital World

Reputation management for doctors can be tricky in the digital world. That’s because the internet—along with its pros—definitely has its cons.

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For example, one of the first things disgruntled patients do these days is find where online they can post about their negative experience. Oftentimes, this is a doctor’s personal website or review page (think Yelp or Google reviews).

So what can you do to better manage your online reputation and how do you respond when you do in fact receive a negative review?

Managing Your Reputation from the Get-Go

A big part of your business lives online, so you should be prepared to take the proper steps to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward from the start.

Your Website

Populate your website with positive reviews from happy patients. You can have a dedicated testimonials page if you like, but I recommend having them sprinkled throughout your website. A few on your About page, a couple more on your Contact page, etc. will make them visible no matter where a visitor goes on your site.

Your Social Profiles

The most important social network to pay attention to in terms of reviews is Facebook. That’s because Facebook has a built-in section where people can review you. When it comes to these reviews, respond to them immediately, both positive and negative. There’s nothing worse than leaving a negative review unanswered, and for a long amount of time, on a popular social network.

Review Websites

Review websites include the sites I mentioned before, Yelp and Google, but also physician-specific review websites like RateMDs, HealthGrades, and Vitals. First of all, if you haven’t claimed your profile on one of these sites yet, do so now. You want to be able to manage your information on all of these sites before someone tarnishes your name without you even knowing about it!

Responding to a Negative Review

Unfortunately, at least one negative review is bound to come your way. This can be disheartening and feel personal, but it’s important to always respond in a professional manner.

Here’s a recommended course of action when you see you’ve received a negative review:

  1. Respond ASAP: The sooner you respond, the less harm will be done. Instead of someone solely reading the negative review, they also get to see your response. In the case I mentioned earlier, if someone were to read the negative review of the doctor’s office, the office manager or doctor could quickly respond that it was a problem with that person’s individual insurance plan, not the doctor. These quick responses and resolutions may even move the reviewer to remove the review entirely.
  2. Always be professional: As I mentioned earlier, we are human; we take things personally even if we maybe shouldn’t. Don’t let that turn you into a raging internet troll! Take a few hours, maybe even a day, to absorb the review and formulate a response. I know in #1 I said respond ASAP, but it’s always better to take a little bit longer and respond appropriately than to respond immediately and unprofessionally.

Being a professional in today’s world can mean people splashing your name around the internet, saying whatever they want with impunity. Don’t take it to heart, and don’t let it affect your business. Try your best to be on top of your digital reputation management from the get go, and when that inevitable negative review does come your way, take it in stride.

Published on
Mar 05, 2019

Written by
Keisha Dunstan