3 Reasons Why ENTs Must Focus on Their Online Reputation

dr_EHR / April 12, 2016

Medical professionals rely heavily on referrals and word-of-mouth to grow their business. But people are increasingly turning to the web for information about doctors and medical practices.

If people have a negative perception about you as a professional or your ENT practice, it will harm your business. Managing the perception of what people think about you is what is called reputation management. In a nutshell, it refers to the collective perception and image that people have of you.

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Here are three reasons why otolaryngologists must focus on their online reputation management:

Opinions on the Internet are Democratised

If someone says negative things about you in a newspaper, magazine or on television, you can request them to clarify their statements or possibly have them retracted if they are libellous and injurious to your reputation.

On the Internet, however, this is different. If a former patient anonymously mentions your ENT practice adversely on a health score website, you have no way of getting redress. In the face of this uncomfortable fact, it is critical that you much protect and grow your online reputation.

There are effective ways to manage negative feedback. One way is to respond to such comments cordially and even offer to provide some form of remedy to the aggrieved party. This approach has been found to be effective in countering negative comments on physician review and rating sites.

Going after positive reviews

Most patients that you have treated at your ENT practice are happy. They love you and value your services. The only down side is they aren’t saying too much about their feelings on the Web.

Sure, they’ll tell their friends and co-workers about you, but they may not be moved to write a testimonial on a rating or review website. To help manage your reputation as an ENT, you’ll need to recruit your existing patients to become advocates for your practice.

Find a few of your most loyal patients and ask them to write a recommendation about your practice or you as a practitioner. Then ask if you can publish those comments on your practice website or if they can post those comments to a few medical review and rating sites.

If you can get your patients to regularly post positive comments online, you’ll have a great asset working towards building up your online reputation.

The Internet Never Forgets

This is one of the most challenging things about the Internet is that it has a long, long memory. Positive or negative material gets indexed and lives forever on a server somewhere. In some cases, it may be republished elsewhere, which means that content is visible multiple websites.

If you want to manage the reputation of your otolaryngology practice, try to keep as much feedback from your patients as possible within your control. Offer them easy feedback channels that you control such as your website or a chat application. Handle problems or disputes before the patient feels the need to post their issue online.

Finally, when responding to comments online, never get caught up in a war of words. Keep your cool and always be respectful. Your reputation is determined not only by what people say about your online, but in the manner you respond.

Your response will remain online for future potential patients to see, and can help or hurt your future practice growth.

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