By Brooke Strickland
By Brooke Strickland
You likely spend a lot of time and dollars advertising to get your name out there and increase the exposure of your practice. It's important to do this ñ the livelihood of your business and practice is the patients that walk through your doors. Just as you pour effort into acquiring a stronger patient base, so should you spend as much effort in retaining these patients, keeping them happy with your staff, with you, and with the treatment they receive.
There can be a lot of ways to lose a patient. Poor bedside manner, acting rushed when you're talking to them, not actually listening to symptoms or concerns, not responding well to questions, uncomfortable waiting or treatment rooms, unprofessional office staff, or ineffective treatment recommendations, are some of the most common ways that patients may feel under served. After experiencing some or even just one of these, they may decide to change doctors. Eliminating the above issues will likely translate to a steady stream of returning patients.
There are indeed many significant ways to keep your patients. But don't let your ego get the best of you. Patients looking for a new doctor want a physician and practice that is competent, compassionate and kind. The information age brings patients that are more educated and may have done significant amounts of medical research on the Internet before scheduling a visit to your practice. Don't underestimate the importance of your practice's Internet presence or footprint, like having a website, a polished online presentation of your brand or patient engagement and marketing tools utilizing social media.
The Internet is changing rapidly due to Social Media.Most Internet companies were designed to meet some popular demand from consumers, viral growth and website traffic translating into advertising revenue based upon each unique visitor. According to Business Insider SAI's Chart of the Day; data from comScore: Company Filings; in March, 2010, Google received $18.44 per unique, AOL $12, Yahoo! $6, Microsoft $4.42, Facebook $3.09, and Twitter $0.62. In just the last couple of years these numbers have changed significantly due to the rapid advance of social media, the decline of sites like AOL and Yahoo! and the increase in Facebook and Twitter. Consumers now want and demand content, not ads. Unfortunately that's not where many companies business models get their revenue and why many previously popular sites are still dominated by numerous ads on the entire page, on the top, the left, right and bottom.
Famed investor Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners, in a CNBC interview on May 18, 2012 stated the value of the Internet is moving away from "web centric" or high traffic numbers to "high production value" or solutions and software that solve problems. The pendulum is swinging back toward content becoming a much more valued commodity. This is what a user seeks but is hard pressed to receive from "web centric" sites unless they jump through a myriad of complicated hoops. The good news is that the world is waiting for doctors who are willing to do whatever it takes to find the best practices to serve their patients.
If you are interested in the latest trends then you probably have designed and have thought long and hard about implementing a social media strategy for your practice. People love talking about themselves. They like talking about their experiences, too, whether they're positive or negative. So, when they've found an office they're comfortable with, a staff that treats them with respect, and a doctor that listens to them and treats them decently, accurately and efficiently, they'll tell people about it and do it as quickly and as easily as they can. When patients are given the opportunity to write a review for you they are more than willing and are even excited about doing it.
An Internist from Temecula, California who sees approximately five thousand patients per year had only generated six reviews online from patients with half of them negative. This was frustrating this physician who has thousand of patients but felt he was not being represented fairly by the online system. He had decided to do something about it when he discovered after asking new patients how they had found him, that they often said they had searched online, even if they were elderly. He decided to deploy Verified Reviews® hoping to get a more accurate sampling of his patients and their opinion of him for better or worse. Here's what this doctor said, "the results from asking my patients to fill out a Verified Doctor Reviews® form were amazing to me. My patients were more than happy to take a couple of minutes to write the review and mail it in or place it in a lock box in my waiting room. Nearly 50% of my patients filled out the reviews and within a couple of months I had generated nearly two hundred reviews, which were verified and posted online. The results were as I expected and proved to me what I already suspected...that there are only a handful of my patients that don't like me for various reasons but that the six reviews I had gotten over 16 years of being practice were truly a false reading and not indicative of my practice. Of course I am not perfect and make a mistake every now and then in which case I am thankful for the immediate written feedback I receive through Verified Reviews®. My patients really do want to help me be a better doctor and I want to know about if something went wrong during their visit. If they were waiting to long to see me or if there was something they had on their mind that they forgot to share while I was seeing them.Posting Verified Reviews® online allows for potential patients to find you and instantly both you and your practice begin gaining credibility ñ all without actually having an appointment or consultation with them. Verified Reviews® are rapidly becoming a revolution in word of mouth patient satisfaction endorsements. Before, people would just go tell their family and friends about their great doctor ñ now, they not only do that, but they get online and start talking about it. With Verified Reviews® you and your practice now gain control of the review process instantly at your office and your name and practice is recommended to thousands of people, with a click of a button."
Engaging these patients via online Verified Reviews® is a pioneering way to give them a voice, keep them satisfied, and keep them coming back to you and your practice time and time again. It also gives you the kind of transparency that will sets you apart from nearly every other doctor that is not harvesting patient surveys; this gives you and your practice a significant edge. Utilizing technology in this way not only makes you relevant, but credible, real, honest and represents the best attributes you and your staff possessed to the public. Embracing patient participation in this way will keep your patients content and your practice growing.
Klepper, Brian. "Physician Executives Should Support Patient Engagement/Activation." October 9, 2011.http://careandcost.com/2011/10/19/physician-executives-should-support-patient-engagementactivation/
Accessed May 18, 2012.
Yarrow, Jay "Here's How Much A Unique Visitor Is Worth" March 18, 2010http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-03- 18/tech/29959525_1#ixzz1vGUmSnSE Accessed on May 18, 2012