Healthcare Reputation Management Isn't Just for a Crisis | Binary Fountain

December 10, 2019

Why Reputation Management in Healthcare is Not Just for Crisis Management

By: Kieran McQuilkin

Cartoon graphic of halting downward trend

What you will learn in this post:

  • How reputation management relates to patient acquisition and engagement
  • How content creation can boost your brand reputation before a crisis occurs
  • How maintaining your reputation can prevent or mitigate crises in the first place

The world has become much more transparent in recent years, in large part thanks to the prominence of social media. Information travels at lightning speeds and online users can express their opinions whenever they feel like it. As a result, a brand’s actions are now scrutinized more than ever before. This means that when something goes wrong publicly for an organization, the issue is quickly amplified and spreads like a virus.

Crises come in many forms, and some threaten a company’s survival more than others.

Still, even a single mistake can undermine or destroy your healthcare organization for good. Reputation management certainly plays an important role in smoothing over these crises. But if you only tend to your reputation when the walls are closing in, you are missing out on opportunities to attract and engage new customers, establish your authority and discover problems before they worsen.

Here we will discuss why you should focus on healthcare reputation management beyond just crisis management.

Patients Always Looking for Providers

Those seeking medical services usually begin their search online, where they will browse search engine results pages, doctor review sites and healthcare social media profiles. Unsurprisingly, providers with a well-maintained digital presence and good reviews attract more patients than those who lack them.

That means your healthcare reputation management strategy is an integral part of your overall marketing strategy. You should be present on all relevant and popular platforms so potential patients can easily discover the good things about your practice. You should also work towards obtaining more reviews so online users can get to know you via previous patients’ experiences. This way, an infrequent screw-up will look small next to a cadence of positive reviews.

Reputation and Customer Engagement

The more you interact with your patients, the more they will trust you. Therefore, patient engagement is directly linked to your brand’s reputation. You can engage with your audience in several ways.

Responding to reviews, for instance, shows onlookers that you take feedback seriously and want to provide the best experience possible. You might also answer questions in the Q&A section of your Google My Business profile or various healthcare review platforms. Many healthcare providers also offer chatbots and other accessible customer service tools to help users set up appointments, check coverage, learn about specialties and more.

Be an Authority in Healthcare

Maintaining a strong online reputation also depends on establishing your expertise and authority in the industry.

By regularly producing high-quality, varied content, you can keep patients engaged and informed and build greater trust – not only with your audience, but with Google’s search algorithm as well. Publish blogs and news pieces on your website, social media profiles and other platforms to drive conversations in the health industry.

Being human is one of the best defenses for an organizational error that could turn into a crisis. Create video content to vividly show patients who you are and what you can offer, and focus on stories and human connections in everything you produce to keep users engaged on a personal level.

Insights Into Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Understanding what your practice does well and what you need to change is the best way to keep improving patient experience in the long term, which goes hand-in-hand with your brand reputation. So, the more feedback you can obtain from your patients, the better. And while you might solely wish for positive online reviews, negative reviews can benefit your organization, too.

A major part of your healthcare reputation management plan should be acquiring more reviews so you can gain valuable insights that lead to operational changes. You can do this by sending out post-care surveys via text message or email that drive users to specific review platforms. By constantly adapting, you guard yourself against potential future crises and build goodwill with your audience in the process.

Be Prepared for a Crisis

No matter how well you maintain your reputation, crises can still occur. But by taking this continuous, long-term approach to reputation management, you can put yourself in the best position to face these issues and recover gracefully. Have a strategy and team in place to manage crises. Maintain an open line of communication with your patients, stakeholders and online audience. And deliver updates on a regular basis as events develop to maintain transparency.

Do not wait until something breaks to repair your reputation. Your healthcare reputation management strategy must be a major part of your overall marketing efforts if you wish to not only survive, but succeed.

About the Author

Kieran McQuilkin
Content Marketing Specialist

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