3 important factors that make or break your practice’s online reputation


Julie Gough-Nelson shares the three important things worth remembering in an era of online reviews for best-practice management.

Myriad companies have attempted to win your business, but choosing what is best for the business can be difficult. Julie Gough-Nelson shares three key factors when considering reputation/review management of your company.

Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Julie Gough-Nelson, marketing director, Shepherd Eye Center, North Las Vegas. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica.

When my health communication career began in a small town in Wyoming in 2003, the idea of reputation management consisted of merely reading the daily newspaper and noting the letters to the editor –even then, word of mouth played a large part in a consumer’s choice of physician.

Now, research shows that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. While it may be impossible to patrol every outlet for patient comments, consumers’ trust of online reviews makes it essential to monitor the company’s reputation, while at the same time be proactive in the acquisition of positive reviews.

Certainly, in marketing, myriad companies have attempted to win your business, but choosing what is best for the business can be difficult. Here are three key factors when considering reputation/review management of your company.

  • Summarize trending patient challenges with opportunities for improvement
    Look for a company that provides a summary of the feedback collected from patients. While positive reviews and upward-trending ratings are the goals, one should not overlook what patients are saying. Whether acknowledging positive feedback or addressing concerning segments of the practice, knowing patient feedback sets a suitable course of action to take in practice management.

  • Actionable patient feedback
    As marketing directors, our time spreads across many dimensions of business communication.  (Wouldn’t it be nice to have emails sent directly to you from patients seeking a follow-up to their review?)  When there is immediate access to the most pressing patient reviews-such as those who reply unfavorably about recommending your business to others-actionable feedback is a necessity.

  • Drive positive, concise online site reviews
    The best review platforms don’t burden patients with long surveys but instead move them quickly to the point where patients leave positive comments on their choice of social media review sites.  For example, the Promoter Strategy review request model focuses on just one question: “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” Happy patients (answering an 8, 9, or 10) are led to a screen where they can click on an online review/social media site and make their feelings public.

People who rate the business less than an 8 are given space to share their experience, as well as asked whether they’d like to be contacted by the business. The hope is that, in allowing these patients to share their frustrations, it will also prevent them from speaking out negatively in an online public setting

The Takeaway

While managing the practice’s reputation may seem a daunting task, it is my hope these three tips are a refresher. Find a company committed to obtaining new, positive reviews while preventing bad reviews. A business’ online reputation can’t be left to chance. The “set it and forget it” motto is definitely not a wise way to approach reputation management in the quest for a favorable online reputation.

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