“Reputation Management and the Age of the Consumer” might sound a little like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but there’s nothing magical about the damage your healthcare organization can sustain by ignoring what people are saying online.
These days, consumers determine the value of brands and have considerable hold over them. Managing your reputation should be an essential part of your marketing strategy.
The Shifting Power Dynamic
At one time, medical institutions were considered all-powerful and untouchable. Now, from small, individual practices to large hospitals and clinics, the power of social media and online review sites has shifted power to consumers, who can make or break a provider through online feedback.
Reputation is particularly significant in most service industries, of which healthcare is an undisputed member. Expectations from healthcare institutions differ from other service industries purely because service is related to human health. This makes maintaining reputation more critical than in other businesses.
Doubling Down on Reputation
As healthcare brands increasingly awaken to the new reality of their situation, many institutions are doubling down on reputation monitoring and management. Failing to do so can be disastrous, regardless of business size. Effective reputation monitoring can be extremely beneficial.
Reasons why you should track and manage your reputation include:
- Credibility: Customers believe their peers more than the most carefully-crafted marketing, and whatever is posted online lives there forever.
- Learning from failures: Monitoring what’s said online about you can provide lots of information. It’s like a giant focus group is at your disposal. You can ask about their likes and dislikes without having to pay them.
- Investor nurturing: For any healthcare organization that aims to grow through funding, it’s crucial to have a strong, positive online presence. Most investors will avoid companies with a poor reputation, regardless of how excellent their products or services are.
- Engagement: The digital environment enables you to engage one-on-one with consumers, regardless of your organization size and the number of online followers. You can thank reviewers for positive feedback and respond with concern and care to the negative.
- Employee retention: Healthcare institutions find even their internal culture is on display these days, with employer review sites like Glassdoor giving a voice to employees. A negative reputation can impact an organization’s ability to attract top talent, as well as hinder growth opportunities.
Healthcare brand perception begins online, and research confirms reviews are essential to the healthcare consumer’s decision-making process.
Key Reputation Management Factors
Research from Reputation.com shows key findings to be the content, volume, recency and average star rating of a healthcare provider. These have the highest impact on consumer choice, with 82 percent having read reviews to help evaluate a provider. Eighty percent of respondents admitted ratings and reviews influenced their choice, and 68% have chosen one provider over another as a result of the reviews.
Trust increases for providers who respond to reviews, with 26 percent of consumers believing engaged responders are more invested in offering quality service. The verbiage used in reviews provides context and credibility. Two-thirds of consumers are prepared to wait longer for an appointment with—and pay higher fees to see—a healthcare provider with higher reviews.
To learn more about why reputation management should form part of your healthcare marketing strategy, call Wax Custom Communications at 305-350-5700 or visit waxcom.com.
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