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Healthcare Online Reputation Management: From Reviews to Patient Loyalty

April 29, 2024
15 mins

We all want to know what others say and feel about the goods and services we consume. Healthcare is a rather sensitive domain prone to human reactions revealed as patient feedback or reviews. The truth is that your hospital reputation management directly depends on patient reviews.

You’ll need to implement search engine reputation management (SERM) as part of your healthcare marketing strategy to leverage this often underestimated asset. 

While search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex strategy, take SERM as an integral component of your healthcare practice promotion online. 

Healthcare online reputation management embraces the path from reviews to lifelong patient loyalty to your practice. This is how you enhance the lifetime value of your patients vital to digital marketing efforts. 

Today, Promodo healthcare SERM marketers share first-hand tips about leveraging patient reviews to boost your medical online reputation management efforts. 

Why Medical Online Reputation Management is Important 

First things first, you should realize the value of patient reviews for further growth and development of your healthcare business:

💉 More than 7% of daily Google searches are healthcare-related, making more than 70,000 searches per minute or over 1b. searches a day. 

💉 87% of patients who discover healthcare providers online, schedule appointments.

These convincing stats from our 2024 Healthcare Marketing Benchmarks Report prove the fact that more than 90% of patients make rational decisions while choosing healthcare providers based on online reviews. 

Patient reviews are essential in the realm of healthcare industry digitalization. Patients trust peers who’ve undergone hands-on experiences with the same healthcare providers. 

Online reviews are also crucial for generating loyalty and engaging new patients in your practice. 

Building a reputation in the healthcare domain is vital to expanding your healthcare business beyond local reach. 

Patient Trust

A solid online presence depends on how seriously you take SERM, and your efforts to solidify patient trust and satisfaction. On the contrary, negative reviews will adversely affect the reputation of your healthcare practice, while patients will pass to your closest local competitors. 

Beyond word-of-mouth recommendations, prospective patients browse for reviews online. They serve as prime signals to the prospective patients likely to schedule appointments with your practice.   

According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of internet users trust online reviews before choosing a healthcare provider.

Patient reviews are beyond a mere reflection of your medical expertise. These are real-to-life proofs of evidence sincerely shared by your grateful and loyal clientele. Feedback and review snapshots are trusted bits of information that best prove patient experience. 

The power of positive online reviews is in:

💉 Highlighting patients’ hands-on experiences 

💉 Proving successful treatment outcomes 

💉 Emphasizing the quality of treatment

💉 Confirming efficient appointment scheduling

💉 Complimenting friendly staff members. 

That all shows how people perceive your practice. Take patient reviews as first-hand signals about the necessity to enhance the quality of your healthcare services.  

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Healthcare Online Reputation Management Strategies to Increase Patient Loyalty

While patient reviews are about valuable insights to improve the quality of your healthcare services, we would like to focus on the issue as a strategically important precondition of your practice’s improvement. 

The following strategies will help you pass the extra mile towards reputation management for hospitals by ensuring enhanced medical treatment and outstanding patient experience. 

1. Applying Medical Reputation Management at the Beginning of the Patient Journey

Before contacting a business, purchasing a product, or ordering a service, customers search online first. That’s what we call the research online, purchase offline (ROPO) effect in marketing.

That means that first impression is of paramount importance. If the first thing they spot is negative information about you, you are a dead duck.

That’s all about the value of maintaining online reputation management as the surest way to create a positive image online. 

As part of the first touch experience with your clinic, prospective patients will come across the reviews about your healthcare practice at: 

Highligh Your Healthcare Practice

Above placements are the core areas where you should carry out search engine reputation management (SERM) and build up a positive corporate image and boost brand awareness. That’s how you’ll:

💉 Convert more real patients from online prospects

💉 Build patient trust

💉 Turn loyal patients into your lifetime customers.

Implementing the best SERM practices is not less important when there's negative information about your brand online.

Positive reputation of medical websites is critical for patient trust while it directly affects their health and choice of treatment. The reputation also affects the site's SEO performance. Oksana Babenko, SEO Speciaist at Promodo.

2. Getting Positive Reviews from Patients 

Gaining more positive reviews is strategically important as they will also serve your healthcare facility as proven testimonials from satisfied patients. Moreover, they are the surest triggers to attract new patients to your practice. Once they see that the quality of your healthcare services matches their expectations, they will decide to call you or schedule an appointment. 

Given the harsh rivalry among healthcare providers, positive patient reviews are vital in generating a ripple effect. 

Once patients share positive experiences with your practice online, you start winning word-of-mouth referrals among your prospects. 

An organic promotion like this is essential for attracting new patients who would otherwise never heard about you. Positive reviews are also at the core of cultivating a network of loyal patients as major advocates for your practice.

3. Leveraging Negative Reviews

On the contrary, negative patient reviews assume serious reputational challenges to your practice. With low recognition online and a negative brand image, you cannot possibly count on patient loyalty. This means you’ll hardly scale your healthcare business beyond local reach.  

The sad truth is that dissatisfied patients will immediately start seeking alternatives. In marketing terms, this means lower patient acquisition rates. 

Once you get a negative review, that’s not the end of the world. Approach negative feedback personally and with great care and attention. Keep in mind that healthcare is a sensitive domain per se, and your mission is to pursue a patient-focused relationship at all stages.

Take negative reviews as invaluable insights to improve your service.  Pay attention to what your patients say and write about your practice as part of crafting a detailed patient portrait. That is how you’ll better learn about and accustom to individual healthcare concerns and wellness needs shared by your target audience.

The secret to standing out above the competition is in improving the core areas of your practice.

Negative patient feedback will help you improve your services and the quality of treatment. 

Take every bit of negative feedback not as one’s attempt to kill your business, but rather as a constructive critique of your performance.  

Respond to negative reviews professionally and with a touch of empathy. This will considerably mitigate their negative impact over time. Once online users see that you take patient feedback responsively and with care, they will treat your practice with far more confidence. 

Your ability to resonate with negative feedback individually shows respect for every patient. This is also a sign that you value patient opinions and are committed to providing the best possible experience in the future. 

Such a proactive approach will help you regain trust and build loyalty among dissatisfied patients over time.

4. Encouraging Patients to Leave Reviews

While reviews make a dear asset for your healthcare business, you should spend extra time encouraging your satisfied patients to highlight their positive experiences with your practice. 

Getting reviews at the point of care is far more effective than asking patients on popular review platforms. Still, the latter option is relevant and effective, so make sure to register your practice across popular healthcare listings. 

More feedback can actually be obtained by the clinic directly aftermath a patient's visit. This information, under patient's permission, can then be effectively used for online postings on various resources. Oksana Babenko, SEO Speciaist at Promodo.

Your strategic task here is to continuously monitor online platforms. This way, you’ll stay updated about how your patients feel about the quality of your services and track the areas of improvement.

Monitoring online platforms is the best way to know what patients are saying about your practice. That’s how you’ll cope with major concerns expressed by individual patients. On this solid background, you’ll make informed decisions to improve your treatment and make your services far more patient-centered.

5. Responding to Patient Reviews and Saying Thanks

Prompt responses to patient reviews are essential. Make sure to employ an in-house review manager to address both positive and negative reviews. This practice will once again position your healthcare practice as a professional facility. 

That’s the best proof you respect patient feedback and are committed to delivering quality care.

Every patient wants to be valued, it is important to thank them for their efforts. They took time to leave a review, so make the very best use of it. Failure to appreciate your patient’s time and effort will eventually result in a lack of loyalty to your practice over time. This means that: 

💉 A patient will hardly ever schedule an appointment with your practice 

💉 Fewer prospective patients will contact you

💉 Online users will take it as a sign of negligence. 

Responding promptly to patient reviews is the best way to retain them and earn longstanding loyalty. 

Tips for Managing and Responding to Patient Reviews

Dedication to improving patient care and attention to personal patient needs are at the heart of success. 

As a neverending process, managing and responding to patient reviews will work much better once you follow these evidence-proven tips: 

Monitoring and responding: to feel the beat of what patients say about your healthcare practice, monitor review platforms daily.  On average, a patient expects your response within the first 24 hours after leaving a review.

Sharing professionalism and empathy: whatever the review may sound, positive or negative, always maintain a professional tone and show empathy to individual patient sentiments about your practice and healthcare concerns.

Praising positive feedback: always send a thank-you message to the patients who invested their time and effort to honor your healthcare services with a review. This way, you’ll encourage more reviews and gain patient loyalty to your brand.

Coping with negative reviews privately: while getting negative reviews requires extra consideration, address and discuss them one-on-one with a dissatisfied patient. Your professional commitment and empathy to their case may get things right and save complaining patients for your practice.

Communicating negative feedback offline: whenever you stick with negative reviews online, pass further discussion to offline mode to discuss all the issues with a complaining client vis-a-vis. A phone call or an e-mail message will work well to solve the issue and regain your reputation.

Ensuring a seamless review process: do your utmost to make your patients leave reviews by ensuring user-friendly options with clear and no-brainer options. Available review platforms and healthcare listings will help you collect more patient reviews. 

Incorporating patient reviews: part of your digital marketing performance, integrate the best patient reviews on your website, and social media channels, and highlight them as part of your content through blogging. These real-time proofs of evidence will reinforce your brand name's credibility and help you retain more loyal patients.

Motivating patient reviews: you may also offer various incentives for individual patient feedback ranging from one-time discounts to seasonal offers as a token of appreciation.

Following up on your patients with review requests: as part of your email marketing effort, send personalized follow-up emails to patients right after their visit. That’s a great way to receive hands-on feedback. You may further leverage these reviews in composing the section of real-life case studies on your website. That’s also the proof of evidence to potential patients of how you managed to cope with patient cases. successfully leveraged patient reviews to enhance their reputation. 

Upcoming Trends and Technologies for Healthcare Online Reputation Management

According to Statista, the following trends will dominate digital marketing in 2024: 

While we share this forecast at Promodo, we want to stress the importance of reviews as major referral triggers that help businesses get more customers.

Here’s a deeper glimpse into the future development of patient reviews boosted by emerging technologies and AI-generated solutions.

Focus on Niche-specific Review Platforms

Along with your business presence on local listings like Yelp and healthcare platforms, niche down to highlight your core services on industry-specific review sites for dentists, cardiologists, or surgeons. These are targeted spots to drive your core patients to leave first-hand reviews highlighting their hands-on experience with your clinic. 

Leverage AI-powered Tools 

AI relies on prompts, enabling you to better understand healthcare concerns shared by wider demographics of your potential patients. 

Benefit from relevant prompts to make ChatGPT and other AI-generated tools expand your patient’s portrait. The compiled AI knowledge throughout the Internet will help you better resonate with your target audience and satisfy their healthcare needs.

AI analysis of positive and negative reviews is also how you may tailor your core medical services to the individual expectations of your immediate patients from local neighborhoods and communities. 

Also, take these artificially generated snapshots as valuable insights and sentiments to improve the quality of your healthcare practice. 

Make Use of Telemedicine Reviews

As part of your medical reputation management strategy, embrace telemedicine reviews. This is how you’ll review how your patients feel about virtual consultations and other online care options. 

While online consultations are highly demanded in healthcare domain, video reviews are more eye-catching and engaging compared to text reviews. Therefore, this type of service and testimonials will serve as a significant competitive advantage over your closest rivals. Oksana Babenko, SEO Speciaist at Promodo.

Adapt your digital marketing performance to telemedicine as a trending delivery of remote clinical services. Monitoring patient experiences with real-time two-way communication with your healthcare providers is another feasible approach to grasping patient feedback. The practice will tell you what works best and where you need to fill the void. 

Protection Tools in Healthcare

How Promodo Can Help You

Promodo healthcare marketers are at hand to help you cope with patient reviews. We apply evidence-proven SERM tools to bring you more loyal patients. 

Our tried and tested digital marketing solutions will help you build an outstanding online reputation in the healthcare industry. 

As part of search engine optimization (SEO), our in-house SERM experts will tailor the best-fit strategy to match your marketing targets and strategic business goals.

At Promodo, we concentrate reputation marketing on coping with negative patient reviews by removing or remediating them. Proven personalized approaches to individual patients turn into positive feedback over time. 

Reputation audit: we make a SWOT analysis of the current state of your online reputation and develop a relevant strategy to enhance it.

Coping with negative reviews: we gather all negative mentions of your practice and eliminate them by contacting dissatisfied or complaining patients. 

Removing negative reviews: we know how to move pages containing negative information about your practice to lower positions in search engine results pages.

Enhancing reputation marketing in search engines: we bring positive reviews about your healthcare brand to the first page of search results. Creating positive reviews on various authoritative platforms helps us displace negative reviews. 

Creating a positive image: we will help you post positive reviews and publish influential PR materials.

Leverage the Finest Reputation Management Solutions!
Book Promodo Expert for Free Consultation.

Written by
Taras Bereza

Content Marketing Manager at Promodo

Taras has 16 years of hands-on copywriting experience overseas with 3000+ unique copies.

Accredited with Certificate of Proficiency in English (C2 level) by Cambridge University. Studied at Writing Launch Academy (United States) and owns an Academic Writing Certificate from Oregon University. Author of 12 dictionaries with Apriori Publishers.

Written by
Oksana Babenko

SEO Specialist at Promodo

More than 7 years in SEO. I have processed SEO projects in healthcare, apparel and footwear, cosmetics, and legal services.

April 29, 2024
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