Your reputation online has never been so important.
Research shows that patients now mostly choose their doctors online. Primarily basing their decision on reviews, and chats within special interest groups, such as those found on Facebook.
This can bring a variety of new challenges to hard working professionals, already strained with primary care and compliance.
So what can be done to reduce the workload for busy practitioners?
First thing’s first. In order to control your online reputation, you need to be aware of it. This means knowing what people are saying about you online, and where.
Thankfully, there are now tools and services which can be used to help manage your Online Reputation. Some use artificial intelligence (AI) others use bespoke services offered by specialists in Online Reputation Management. A combination of both can be very effective.
Prospective patients will often read your online reviews before you have the opportunity to deal with them appropriately. This increases your risk of a negative online reputation, and if left unchecked, will ultimately reduce your clinical income.
Why is your Online Reputation now so important?
The majority of prospective patients will use online reviews to choose their doctor.
78% of patients trust online reviews just as much as they would trust a personal suggestion from someone they know. After reading excellent reviews, most people are 68% more inclined to visit a medical practice.
A survey by Repugen found that a bad reputation is considered the most significant business risk.
In fact, 87% of respondents believed that the risk of a bad reputation was a more substantial concern than other strategic business risks.
Excess negative reviews can cause your medical practice to be “de-indexed” (eliminated from search results) or to fall down the rankings if it does remain listed.
This further jeopardises your ability to attract patients, and restricts your online presence.
Conversely, increasing your overall rating from say three to five stars, can cause a 25% increase in search traffic for your medical practice, resulting in increased visibility and turnover.
Why should I get help managing my Online Reputation?
Your online reputation is a vital component in the success of your career or practice, and it’s hard work to build or maintain it properly.
Increasingly, top surgeons are turning to specialists in the field for professional reputation management online. Quite simply, they will look better online, and rank more highly if they do.
Medical Marketing has reached a point where those who don’t seek professional representation, and adopt best practices with regards to their Personal Branding, will be left behind. Irrespective of their ultimate skill.
Being proactive, and creating a positive image online can be very lucrative (as any social media influencer, or makeup brand will tell you). Conversely, it only takes a few negative reviews to significantly degrade how you’re perceived online. Which in turn can seriously affect your bottom line.
The sad reality is that a bad online reputation often isn't reflective of your skill as a practitioner or entrepreneur, rather, it can be linked to something as simple as parking, or your receptionist having a bad day.
If left unmanaged, these negative reviews can create “negative social proof” causing others to agree with the unfavourable review, or to write their own.
It’s vital then, to respond to every review you get, or better yet, let the experts (and no we don’t mean your practice manager or receptionist) do it for you.
In response, the use of artificial intelligence in health care has been a hot topic in recent years, and there's no sign of this slowing down anytime soon.
Many medical professionals have been reluctant to experiment with AI due to privacy concerns, data security problems, or the multiple organisational barriers that make data exchange nearly impossible.
Nevertheless, AI has proven to be a useful tool for many doctors. It can be used to help with mobile coaching solutions, drug development, surgery tools, and now even Online Reputation Management.
Warning: There are limits to how much we should trust our reputations to a machine.
How reviews are responded to online is a crucial factor in managing your Online Reputation, and often requires prompt, professional, personal assistance.
Only 25% medical practises say it's challenging to respond to online reviews, yet 65% of patients say they are not getting the response they expect. Clearly these practices simply aren’t managing the responses as well as they think they are.
Automating review replies, for example, simply lets the world know you don’t care.
Whether true or not, It sends a message that you’re far too busy to care about the people engaging with your brand online. Likewise, asking people to leave a review for you with AI driven technology (like auto booking or reminder systems) can be disasterous.
You simply don't want to ask ALL patients to leave a review. Especially the ones who couldn’t get a park in the middle of a downpour.
Using Artificial Intelligence to Protect Your Reputation
Most medical practices neglect their online reputations to some degree, since managing them requires a considerable amount of time and skill.
By identifying trends, when deployed correctly, artificial intelligence can help us identify problem areas. It can automate responses and send mail to current and prospective patients (again, DO NOT ask for reviews though through this method).
Since 2020, advanced technologies now handle 25% of patient service engagements.
The AI deployed by YESpbm on behalf of their clients, can locate essential information, respond to customer enquiries or complaints, and index findings into something accessible and usable for medical practices.
This technology can quickly analyse huge quantities of comments on the internet and identify general trends that would otherwise be difficult to detect manually.
This feature will help protect your online reputation as YESpbm will be alerted if there is a trend of negative comments about you or your medical practice. Once alerted, AI can help YESpbm identify the most common negative comments so they can deal with them accordingly.
Essentially, this system picks out the bad apples.
Once negative comments around your brand are identified by the AI, they’re resolved by one of our specialist account managers, your online reputation will improve, and so will your bottom line.
Using AI to combat the spread of fake reviews
Doctors' reputations, and income, can suffer greatly as a result of fake or unfair reviews.
Due to the growing number of social media platforms, it’s easier than ever to spread false information about you or your practice. So how can you effectively manage your online reputation?
One of the key strategies YESpbm employs to combat the spread of fake reviews for their clients is using Artificial Intelligence.
Alerts can be established around your personal name, clinical brand and keywords of interest (such as your address or building name).
When someone mentions you, whether good or bad, you (and your team) can be alerted and, time permitting, deal with the issue.
Incorrect information tends to spread faster than accurate information. So deal with it fast.
According to a new survey published in the academic journal, Science, accurate information takes six times longer to reach 1,500 individuals on Twitter than misinformation.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to defeat the spread of incorrect information.
When working with a practice, YESpbm uses AI to identify fake reviews by using a system that employs "language processing methods to detect unusual patterns of text, writing style, and formatting".
Their self-learning AI is capable of detecting fake reviews by comparing the reviews of a medical practice to the industry's standards and competitors. It also identifies reviews that don't fit in with the majority.
If your medical practise is regularly receiving positive online reviews, the AI technology YESpbm deploys, is able to identify rare negative reviews, and process them using the methods mentioned earlier.
If the review passes the test, to confirm that it isn't a fake review, it will be flagged for human analysis and response.
At this point YESpbm would respond to the negative review appropriately (if it's genuine) or complain and have it removed (if it's fake).
Monitoring online review systems by using AI has become a popular practice among top companies globally. It's proven to be effective. For example, Amazon "is using artificial intelligence to combat fake product reviews and inflated star ratings" (Guardian).
The bottom line
AI is a fantastic tool that can improve your practise's online reviews and reputation when used correctly, and, if used in conjunction with good old fashioned human interaction, skill and care.
Even a company so large, and technologically advanced as Amazon, has a team of people dedicated to working alongside AI to achieve their Online Reputation goals.
It's important to remember that the more AI is used, the less personalised the patient's experience is. Although AI might be the best method when identifying fake reviews, it isn't the best option when replying to online reviews.
Automating customer responses often backfires as it's a well known fact that people dislike interacting with machines.
Some human connection is essential, and without it, your online reputation could be harmed instead of helped.
YESpbm is the worlds leading, dedicated, Medical Reputation Management agency.
We serve the reputational needs of top medical professionals the world over. It’s our speciality.
A combination of personal account management and AI allows us to monitor, manage, and build the Online Reputation and Personal Brand of some of the worlds leading practitioners in their field.
Get in touch, mentioning this article, and receive a free confidential consultation to see how YESpbm can free up your time, restore your mental health, and build your bottom line through a careful combination of expert Personal Brand Management and leading edge AI.
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