Every dermatology business needs a stellar online reputation that reflects the quality of its practice. This has never been more important. People increasingly expect an excellent patient experience from the first contact they have to the very last and they do post reviews on what they think, particularly if they’ve had a negative experience.
For dermatology clinics that means they need to pay attention to every aspect of their business and ensure quality and excellent customer care at every step. They need to look at everything, from how customers are greeted on the telephone and in person to what happens during and after treatment.
One of the most important things you can do to establish and grow your online reputation is to acquire and respond to patient reviews and that’s what we’re going to focus on here.
We’ll look at how you can still gain a stellar reputation while staying HIPAA compliant, why reviews matter, how to respond to reviews, and how our reputation management platform for dermatologists can help you navigate every aspect of managing your reviews.
Managing your reputation in today’s customer-driven world
Patient opinions and feedback have always been important, but now patients are free to shout their thoughts across the internet if they want to, for anyone else to see. For you, that gives you another task to add to your list: ensuring that you collect as many excellent reviews as possible to create the right impression, while also taking the time to reply to both positive and negative reviews.
Why reviews are important
When searching for a dermatology clinic, potential patients are naturally going to ask around and speak to friends and family for recommendations. Their next step will then be to search online for clinics near them and they will look at your reviews when they find you, whether that’s on an online directory, by looking at your website, or by finding you on social media.
Patients are always going to want to see what other people have said about your clinic and what their experience was like. They’re going to look for the best possible clinic they can find, with the highest reviews and recommendations from previous and current patients.
Not only that, but they will only look, in general, at the last few weeks of reviews. They don’t want to know if patients thought you provided a great service two years ago. They want to know what people think now, which means you need to constantly be requesting new reviews from happy patients.
In addition, potential patients want to see that you are responsive and that you take the time to interact with patients and reply to their reviews. They want to see that your patients and their opinions and feedback matter to you and that you do take notice.
Like it or not, your reviews can be the difference between someone choosing you and someone choosing a competitor’s practice.
How to build a 5-star reputation while remaining HIPAA compliant
With any other non-health related business, you could freely reply to reviews and say exactly what you want to say in response. It is, sadly, rather easier to get and manage reviews if you aren’t in a healthcare professional because other businesses don’t have to be compliant with HIPAA. However, it is still possible to ask for and reply to your reviews while still remaining HIPAA compliant and protecting your patients’ Personal Health Information (PHI). You can build your reputation online and still remain compliant.
You’ll know that HIPAA compliance involves protecting not just a patient’s health and medical information, but also anything that can identify them as a patient, including their name, contact details, date of birth, insurance information, and even details of future appointments.
You must protect all of this information when replying to patient reviews. You may find that your patients have happily given some of this information away themselves when they’ve written their review, but you simply can’t respond to that or even acknowledge that they were or are your patient.
Rules of thumb to follow when it comes to responding to reviews
- Never mention any patient PHI in your responses or even acknowledge that they did. You can’t give away the fact that someone is or has been your patient in public.
- The easiest way to stay compliant is to have your lawyer help you draft compliant review replies. You can then provide these or add them to a drop down on your marketing software so that your team can select from already pre-approved replies without fear of saying the wrong thing.
- Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that you can’t please everyone. At some point, you will get negative reviews. Don’t ignore them. Potential patients do want to see how you handle negative reviews and if you are responsive to feedback. Instead, use one of your pre-approved replies to offer to move the conversation offline to a telephone call. Don’t offer to move to email as, in many places, you need written permission from them to be able to email a patient.
- Obviously, our next point is to avoid emailing where possible. There are fines in some places if you email a patient without getting their written consent first.
- Following on from receiving negative reviews, you will also receive good feedback and requests for things patients would like to see. In all of those cases, it’s good to confirm that you are listening and that you have taken action. People want to see that you want to provide an excellent patient experience.
- Finally, don’t try to flag negative reviews and have them removed. Not only do people want to see how you respond to negative reviews, but it’s highly unconvincing for potential customers if you only have excellent reviews and no negative ones at all.
How Surefire Local can help you get more 5-star reviews
With our professional business intelligence software, we can enhance your efforts to gain 5-star reviews and build your online reputation.
We can help you request reviews, manage requests, and respond to your reviews right on our platform, and we can help you keep an eye on what people are saying about you online.
1) Connect instantly with the top review platforms
With our reputation management platform for dermatologists, we can connect with the top review platforms, including Google Business Profile, Facebook, and Yelp. Instead of having to log into each platform individually, you can instantly see all of your online reviews in one place as a timeline view.
This is a huge time saver and allows you to see at a glance how your review acquisition is going and what general impression people have of your clinic.
2) Send review requests to happy customers via text message or email
While, of course, you do need permission from your patients to do this, you can use our platform to send out review requests to previous and current patients using either text message or email.
Again, this is a big time saver. You don’t need to use your mobile phone and type texts on it to send them individually. You don’t even need to write individual emails. You can simply and easily manage everything on our local marketing platform.
3) Write and post responses to reviews from within the Surefire Local Marketing Platform
You can set up pre-approved review responses on our platform, ready to use, and you can compose and post your review replies right in your dashboard.
You don’t have to take the time to go from one individual review platform to see what responses you have and to reply on each one. Just write, post, and go.
4) Send reminder emails or text messages
With the caveat that you must have patient permission, you can send out reminder emails and text messages to any patients who have already received a request to write a review but haven’t yet done so.
That makes following up a simple process. You don’t have to keep track of who has replied and who hasn’t, because our platform will do that for you, and let you perform any follow-ups.
5) Eliminate time wasted going from platform to platform
There are many review platforms online and it would take hours to log into each one individually just to check if you have any new reviews or see where any requests are up to.
Surefire saves you time by connecting to the most popular review sites for you, so you just have to log into our marketing platform once to see everything you need to know and to respond to any new reviews or follow up with anyone that hasn’t yet completed a review.
We’re all about making things easier and more straightforward for our dermatologist clients. We want you to save time, while still being able to perform all the reputation management tasks that need doing in a HIPAA-compliant way.
6) Measure brand sentiment
Our platform provides you with a word-cloud graph that shows you the most frequently used words from customers in their reviews. This is an at-a-glance way of seeing what people think of you and your practice. You can instantly see what people are focusing on, good or bad, and then learn from that and take forward what you find to improve your business, your marketing, and your reputation.
7) Optimize your brand presence
Your brand presence needs to be consistent right across the internet. Every piece of information, especially your NAP (name, address, and phone number) must be the same and written in the same way, so that there’s no confusion at all for search engines and customers alike, that it really is your practice.
You can manage your business presence and brand across all review sites and on more than 80 local business directories right from the Surefire Local Marketing Platform. You can update your business information, add news and information about new services, add quality photographs, offers, and more, all without leaving our platform.
Save time and make your review management easier and more straightforward by using Surefire Local’s professional business intelligence marketing software.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Not only can you request reviews, manage every aspect of them, and respond to them on our platform, but you can also manage every other part of your practice marketing without leaving our platform.
You don’t need any other software. Everything really is at your fingertips with just one login.
Manage your content marketing, your social media presence, email marketing, paid ads, and so much more. Then get everything from a full overview of your marketing to the tiniest of details from our professional analytics and reports.
Stay in touch with everything that’s happening, what’s working and what isn’t from your marketing efforts.
We are proud to work with many dermatologists to help them manage their marketing and their online reputation. Why not take a look and see what Surefire Local can do for your practice? Request a demo today.