84% of people put online reviews on the level of a referral from a trusted friend.
As a healthcare company, your reputation matters. A bad reputation makes recruiting new employees cost 10% more. One search results page 1 blemish can cost a business as much as 22% of their revenues. Ouch!
And yet, 50% of entities who “Google” themselves are shocked to find that the results are less than favorable. What’s your reputation costing you? How can you fix it?
Let’s explore 8 healthcare reputation management tips that could literally make or break your reputation.
1) Don’t Be Afraid to Take a Look
In reputation management, what you don’t know can hurt you. Like cancer, it may start as one damaged cluster of cells. But as they multiply, they can take over the entire body.
When people read bad reviews online, they’re more likely to start thinking bad thoughts. One bad review can breed more bad reviews.
Find out what you’re dealing with. Google yourself. Track mentions on social media. Assess your current reputation.
Realize that the Internet is your friend, not your enemy. Without Internet reviews, it would be harder to figure out what people really think about you.
Knowing is better than not knowing because you can do something about it.
2) Identify Your Point of Power
You’re undoubtedly aware of the Serenity Prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous. In paraphrase: You need to accept what you cannot change. Change the things you can. And you need to know the difference.
This is incredibly true in healthcare reputation management. Before you start diving in, resolve to focus on the things you can change.
Your reputation online is how people see you. Everyone will see you through their own filters. People will project. Your job is to put your best foot forward so that more people see you in better light and want to share about it.
It’s not to try to defend yourself or dispute every little bad review you receive. This will usually backfire.
3) Give Your Reputation Some Attention
Whether you’re a DME provider that sells wholesale diabetic socks, a hospital system or a private practice, an unmanaged reputation is likely to be a bad one.
Not putting systems in place to get more good reviews? Then the only time people think about writing a review, or getting vocal on Facebook, is when things go wrong.
Your reputation is your most valuable business asset. Treat it as such by investing some time into it.
What are your patients/customers saying? Where do you need to make improvements? How can you change the way some see you?
Ask the tough questions and then spend some time implementing solutions.
4) Invest in Employee Training
You wouldn’t put someone on the floor to do phlebotomies without training. And yet, medical professionals of all kinds are expected to somehow uphold your reputation without any training in healthcare reputation management.
Healthcare is not somehow immune to the need for exceptional customer service. It doesn’t get a pass just because it provides medical products or services.
Set up training sessions for your employees that help them:
- Communicate effectively
- Explain the complex in simple ways
- De-escalate tense situation
- Avoid escalating emotionally-charged moments
- Representing the institution well to both patients and guests
Roleplay with your teams, walking throug common scenarios so that handling situations with care becomes second nature.
Healthcare reputation management may end online. But it starts with the actions your employees take every day.
Everyone who encounters the patient/customer should do their part to build the right experience.
5) Value Your Employees
Employees who are mistreated will mistreat patients/customers. Employees who are well-compensated and appreciated will demonstrate a higher level of care for those they treat.
During hiring, don’t just bring people in because of their technical skills. During interviews, screen people for empathy, passion and communication skills.
These kinds of individuals will bring out the best in everyone. But one bad apple can ruin the whole barrel.
6) Be a Storyteller
You can show people stats and tutorials all day long. But people connect with stories.
Who are you as a healthcare company? Who are your employees? Who have you helped live a healthier, more quality life?
Never make up stories. Rather, be on the lookout for stories that can become the centerpiece of your brand image.
If involving employees or patients, use with permission, of course. Many people will love the spotlight. Others will loathe it.
Stories show that you’re about more than just the bottom line. You’re in healthcare to be a part of the community and to make lives better.
7) Amplify Your Image
Healthcare reputation management is important. But if no one sees your amazing reputation, it might as well not exist.
Utilize marketing and advertising tactics to get the word out about how great your reputation is.
This isn’t a time to be arrogant. You’ll be opening yourself up to attack. Instead, the focus should be on people — your employees and patients.
You should show how they make you who you are and how you’re helping more people because of how you do things.
8) Plan for PR Nightmares
Regardless of how well you manage your organization, PR nightmares can attack.
Someone in your employ may make a mistake. A high profile board member could be caught up in a scandal. A video showing you in bad light may go viral.
Patient information may be stolen in a data breach.
The best thing you can do in these situations is to have a plan for communicating with the public. Who will represent the organization? How will they provide timely information without jumping to conclusions?
How will you demonstrate that you’ll make it right?
Healthcare Reputation Management
Managing your reputation is about more than just doing a good job. It’s about listening to your customers/patients and putting systems in place to show yourself in the best light.
It’s about connecting with people and treating your employees the way to want patients to be treated.
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