Most physicians manage their reputations with customer relationships. Although doctors operate locally, patients discuss their experiences online. Less emphasis is placed on good results than bad. Bad results on the first page can damage a physician’s reputation. A doctor must meet the practical and bedside expectations of their patients. A reputation is all about perception. A bad reputation means less patients.
SERP is a search engine results page and contains three parts. The first is the brain and heart. This represents the ways patients think when they view a bad review in the SERP. Emotion and logic are both bad in this situation. The second part is the stomach. This is a shift in perception from good to bad. A great deal of traffic is required to lose the first few results. Most people are not as affected by what they see in the middle of the SERP. This is proven by the click through rate. Less scrolling occurs on phones. This has caused the first three results to skyrocket.
The last results are the supporting functions or the rest of the body. This does not influence consumers like the higher results. Algorithms consistently change and are complex. Changing perceptions and expectations determine the reputation of the physician. There is no way to predict how much damage will be caused by a reputation crisis. The responses must be quantified. The physician must consider their bedside manner, wait time for patients, reliability and the responsiveness of nurses and secretaries.
Unreliability is reinforced by poor experiences. A physician can determine how well they are liked by entering certain terms online. This includes their name, address, complaints, reviews, comments, ratings, pissed and news. If anything bad appears it may cut the lifeline of the doctor short. Bad reviews may require minor disciplinary action but client trust can be restored. The practice must be evaluated. When Americans consider the first impression of a doctor, 81 percent consider it very or extremely important. There is a strong association with the time the doctor takes to learn about the patients, their bedside manner and the quality time spent with the patient.
Some firms will suggest the doctor removes bad reviews. This is an option but it is not an ethical way to change the SERP. A better option is to respond to the reviews first. This provides the user with a response, shows people reading the results the doctor is reaching out and often starts a discussion. The combination of social media, online reputation management, press releases, public relations, search engine optimization and search engine marketing will all contribute to a better image online.
Maintenance should be constant because it is almost impossible to eliminate an online presence. Many patients will create an online presence for their physicians. Removing negative results and reviews is not guaranteed or ethical but it is possible. This type of action should be discussed with an attorney prior to implementation. A doctor can help control their reputation online with proper management. If online engagement ends, the physician will lose control of their reputation online. One post, one review or one comment can destroy the doctor’s entire reputation. The doctor must always be ready to counter any negativity. This will place them ahead of the game because they are spreading content both attractive and positive.