Though some people don’t think of it this way, your healthcare facility is a business too. You have administrative needs, including the need for more patients. But, if you have bad ratings, you’ll have a difficult time getting patients to visit and tell their friends.
Making a good impression is more important now than ever, especially since research shows that following the recession at the end of 2007, far fewer patients seek elective and inpatient medical care. When patients finally seek medical attention, you want to be their first choice.
That means getting higher reviews both online and through word of mouth. Word of mouth marketing is considered the most effective form of marketing for any industry. When people read reviews and see high online ratings for your healthcare facility, they’re 80 percent more likely to do business with you.
If your ratings are low or nonexistent, you need to make a change. Here are some ideas:
1. Hire Better Staff
Get straight to the root of the potential problem. If your staff members aren’t performing the way they should, it’s your responsibility to deal with it. If training and warnings don’t help your staff shape up, hire new and better personnel.
“You’re running the show, and that means you’re ultimately responsible for fixing the problem, whether that’s changing the process or the people,” advises Michael Alter of Inc.com. “Sometimes it means bringing in someone with the skills, experience and desire to grow to help your generalists. Other times it means, unfortunately, terminating someone whose skills no longer match your needs, and who’s unwilling or unable to adapt.”
Carefully screen your personnel. Don’t take just anyone with a medical degree. Look for those who have been through an accredited and highly recommended educational program. It may take a few extra weeks to screen employees this way, but the rewards will be evident in your patients’ satisfaction and your clinic’s reputation.
2. Focus on Administrative Needs
Maybe the problem doesn’t lie with your healthcare providers, but rather the administrative department. If patients must jump through unnecessary hoops or there is no flexibility in certain regulations, it can make patients very unhappy.
Examine your current interactions with patients as well as your rules and restrictions for personnel. Are you smiling and greeting patients? Do you ask for feedback? Do you provide the right support to your staff so they can do their job? In many cases, the administration struggles, which results in bad reviews for the entire clinic.
3. Prove Your Expertise
As far as most patients are concerned, healthcare is the same in one clinic as it is in another—unless you can prove that yours is better. What do you have that others don’t?
A great approach is encouraging staff to share knowledge. Rather than simply diagnosing strep throat, writing a prescription, and sending them on their way, explain what strep throat is. Talk about how they could have gotten it and teach them how to avoid it in the future.
“If you smash your car into a pole, get it fixed so it looks new again, then smash it into the same pole – the result is still a smashed car, no matter how good the panel beater fixed it the first time,” says Craig Murchie of Muscle Pain Therapy. This analogy goes well with the importance of fixing a medical problem the first time.
4. Offer More Than Expected
When people visit your clinic, they expect a diagnosis and perhaps a prescription. They might not expect something cool to drink in the waiting room, particularly cheerful employees, in-depth education, and an enhanced atmosphere for them to enjoy.
Try to make your clinic stand out. Offer a few extras that will enhance your image and bring patients back for more. Think of how you can expand your services to encompass all parties and elicit return visits.
5. Ask for More Reviews
Unfortunately, people don’t usually leave reviews if they had a positive experience, tipping the scale towards negative reviews. The solution is to get more ratings from your positive patients. Even if their review isn’t totally positive, it’s better to have an honest review than none at all.
“Not only does asking for reviews help your online presence, but it also allows you to find out what patients are truly thinking,” says an article from the medical marketing organization Staff Pointe. “Just asking someone to leave a review will lead to more positive reviews for your healthcare facility. In some cases, you might be able to use the feedback to make necessary changes in your practice.”
A little effort to solicit higher ratings in your healthcare organization can go a long way. As your online profile improves, you’ll begin to see higher patient satisfaction and an increase in new patient visits.