Review Management for Healthcare Businesses


A good reputation is one of the most valuable assets a business can possess.  Building your professional reputation is a lifelong goal, and for private practice medical clinics and other healthcare businesses, you achieve this in a variety of ways.  The first and most important way is to provide quality care for your patients.  Other ways include providing a convenient, annoyance-free experience for patients during in-person and online interactions; this can include many aspects of the experience, including but not limited to scheduling appointments, navigating your website, making payments, and even the layout of your office waiting room or parking garage.  Like it or not, your reputation has as much to do with how customers respond to you as with how you behave toward them.  Online reviews, some including negative ones, are an inevitable part of operating a medical practice or any other kind of business.  The good news is that review management software packages can help you with some aspects of reputation management.  The medical website professionals at Medical Marketing Network can help you incorporate review management software into your comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

What Do Online Reviews Have to Do With Marketing and SEO?

There is a lot more to marketing than advertising through billboards, fliers, print media, and search engine ads.  You can promote your business simply by being easy to find online.  This is especially important in business sectors like healthcare, where demand for your business depends on factors largely outside your control and outside the control of your client base.  If you are a dentist, it isn’t up to you how many people in your city get cavities or which employers offer dental insurance benefits as part of their employee retention efforts.  A Toothbrush Tuesday promotion is not going to bring people flocking to your door.  What is more important is that, when people in your city need a dentist, they find your website more quickly than they do your competitors’ sites, and the information online about your business is accurate and builds prospective patients’ confidence in you.

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What Do Online Reviews Have to Do With Marketing and SEO?

There is a lot more to marketing than advertising through billboards, fliers, print media, and search engine ads.  You can promote your business simply by being easy to find online.  This is especially important in business sectors like healthcare, where demand for your business depends on factors largely outside your control and outside the control of your client base.  If you are a dentist, it isn’t up to you how many people in your city get cavities or which employers offer dental insurance benefits as part of their employee retention efforts.  A Toothbrush Tuesday promotion is not going to bring people flocking to your door.  What is more important is that, when people in your city need a dentist, they find your website more quickly than they do your competitors’ sites, and the information online about your business is accurate and builds prospective patients’ confidence in you.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science of making Google place the listing for your website as high as possible in the listings of organic search results for search queries related to your practice, such as “Fremont podiatrist” or “Fremont foot doctor.”  User experience, HTML tags, and above all, content, all affect your site’s SEO rankings.  Your website is not the entirety of your online presence, though.  Many businesses also have social media accounts, as well as a presence on business listing sites and local service ads (LSAs) on Google.  Some business listing sites enable customers to leave public comments reviewing your business.  It is good if prospective patients of your medical practice find your business listed on multiple business listing sites, but it is even better if they see that customers have left reviews that increase prospective patients’ trust in your practice.

What Should You Do If Your Medical Practice Gets Negative Reviews?

You are bound to encounter a few dissatisfied customers here and there when you operate any business, and unfortunately, the unhappy clients are usually the most outspoken.  On sites that simply allow clients to give you a numeric rating, a few low ratings don’t drag down your average score very much.  Patients may even trust a doctor with a good score more than a doctor with a perfect score, because mixed ratings are more likely to be genuine.  Reviews that contain narrative comments are more useful to prospective patients.  Even with narrative comments, you will find lots of generic praise (such as “great doctor”), some genuinely useful and specific comments about what makes your medical practice stand out, plus some negative comments that you may consider unfair or even inaccurate.

Responding appropriately to online reviews, including negative reviews, is an important part of reputation management.  It’s nice to thank patients who leave positive reviews, but what do you say to the ones who leave negative reviews?  You should not ignore them, and you should not respond in kind to ad hominem attacks or sound so defensive that it lowers your credibility in the eyes of the people who find these reviews when searching for a medical practice like yours.  Crafting tactfully worded responses to negative online reviews is a lot of work, and it is best left to review management professionals.  The good news is that there are some popular review management software packages, such as Podium and Birdeye, that can make the task easier.

How Does Review Management Work?

Review management involves keeping track of which platforms, such as Yelp, Angie’s List, and Google My Business, list your business and allow patients to leave reviews.  The first step is to find out which sites get the most traffic from your current and prospective patients; these are the review sites you want to concentrate on.  Managing reviews involves writing appropriate responses to favorable and unfavorable reviews and flagging reviews that are obviously fake.

Which Review Management Software Should You Choose?

Podium and Birdeye are two of the most popular review management software products available for businesses.  Each of these companies offers a variety of packages of business tools, with the subscription price increasing with the number of features involved.  Both Podium and Birdeye enable you to track, respond to, and report customer reviews.  These are some additional features Birdeye offers:

  • Business listing management – ensuring that your name, address, and phone number (NAP) data and hours of operation are accurate on more than 100 business listing sites
  • Creating a branded microsite for your medical practice
  • A social media dashboard that allows you to schedule postings of content on several popular social media platforms

By contrast, Podium offers several features related to payment, such as the following:

  • Creating and sending itemized invoices
  • Processing refunds
  • Connecting to bank accounts
  • Accepting payment through credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and bank transfers

Healthcare is an extraordinarily competitive business sector, because you and all the other doctors in your medical specialty are competing for the same patients in your city, and no amount of marketing can expand the range of services you offer or the number of patients who need treatment from a doctor like you.  Therefore, in order to get the greatest possible amount of business, it isn’t enough to be good at just one aspect of online marketing; you must be good at all of them.  Investing your entire marketing budget in professionally written long form content for your website may boost your SEO rankings, but if you do this to the exclusion of review management, then you are asking for the patients who search for a doctor on business listing sites or who research reviews extensively to choose one of your competitors instead of you.

Every private practice doctor’s office or other healthcare business needs online reputation management.  Medical Marketing Network provides review management services for medical offices.  Online reputation management should be part of your strategy to build up your web presence and send a consistent message that your healthcare practice is trustworthy.  Contact Medical Marketing Network to find out more about adding reputation management to your complete marketing strategy.

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