Warren Buffett once said it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. While it’s a phrase you’ve surely heard many times over the years, it begins to ring a deeper truth as online resources provide more transparency.
A brand’s online reputation management (ORM) refers to the public’s opinion of the organization as reflected by what consumers are saying about them on the internet, as well as how the brand interacts with those comments. In today’s digital age, a brand’s online reputation becomes an extension of themselves, whether they like it or not. Consumers are paying attention too, with 93% saying that online reviews impact their purchasing decisions (source).
This resonates strongly across multiple industries, but especially the health care industry. The average consumer isn’t a medical expert, but when faced with a medical need, they want to get the best care that they can. 84% of patients researched new medical practitioners before going to their first appointment (source). These reviews hold a lot of power, with 85% of consumers saying that they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (source). By simply Googling “best doctors near me,” a consumer can select or eliminate a potential healthcare provider in seconds, just based off of other people’s opinions. As with many industries, in healthcare, having a strong online reputation isn’t just important, it is necessary for success.
Online reputation management gives a healthcare brand a chance to be authentic before and after the patient’s experience, possibly turning them into brand advocates themselves. It also shows future consumers that a brand is credible, and when dealing with issues that could literally be life or death, credibility and reliability hold a lot of weight. While it may seem obvious, the top priority of patients when reviewing a potential healthcare provider is quality of care. However, consumers are reviewing healthcare providers against qualifications that stem well beyond that. Ratings, patient experience, friendliness of staff, and ease of payment and scheduling are all examples of criteria that an individual may use to assess a provider (source). With all this analysis happening before a patient even walks into the front door of a practice, it is more important than ever for the healthcare industry to take online reputation management seriously.
There are several ways to stay on top of a brand’s online reputation and manage reviews, but the most important strategy is to simply ask for them! Consumers are constantly checking sites like RateMDs.com, Google, and Yelp. So, why not make sure your potential patients are getting an accurate depiction of you when they do? Another important component of this strategy is responding to these reviews, whether positive or negative. Especially in the case of a negative review, it’s important to follow up and try to move the discussion off-line so the company can resolve the issue.
Marbury Creative Group has a very effective reputation management process that asks for reviews at the appropriate time, feeds them to the platform where you need them most, and responds when a review is posted. If you’re looking for help managing this process, or setting one up in the first place, we would love to help! Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to help build your brand’s presence online.