More People Are Searching for Health Care Information During COVID-19. What Does Your Two-star Rating Tell Them?

Since the Unites States declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, numerous reports have shown a surge in internet activity as people have sheltered in their homes. Social media and video streaming consumption are up, as are searches related to symptoms, treatment and government response to the pandemic. But with all this added time being spent online, have you considered what people are finding when they search your organization online? The results might surprise you.

Most health systems and health care companies focus their energies in on ensuring their website is up to date and looks good. If you are not doing this already, you should develop a website strategy ASAP (good news – we can help). But even the most appealing, informative website can be upstaged before visitors reach it if your organization has a significant number of unfavorable or less than favorable reviews on sites such as Yelp, Indeed, Glassdoor and Healthgrades.

Because of backlinks, the amount of traffic they receive and what Google and others consider “domain authority,” review sites often appear on first page search results. When visitors see a low average star rating it reflects poorly on your organization. Consider that 82% of consumers read online reviews and only 53% of people would consider using a business with a less than 4-star rating. So what can you do to improve your online reputation?

Implementing a review solicitation process can help identify and target audiences who are more likely to leave favorable feedback. These audiences – patients, referral sources, employees, customers – will differ depending on the platform. Review solicitation is a way to proactively ask for feedback at a determined interval following an experience or service. A consumer is 21% more likely to leave a review after a negative experience, so being proactive and asking for reviews makes it easier for people with positive experience to leave feedback.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to purse review solicitation, including campaign timing, messaging and logistics. Ideally, review solicitation is one part of an overall online reputation management strategy that is informed by your organization’s operational strengths, and it needs to complement existing service recovery and patient experience efforts. An experienced digital communications partner can work with you to gather the necessary data and help determine the appropriate timing and execution tactics to ensure your review solicitation efforts are a success.

Need help with your online reputation? Check out these articles for additional recommendations for maximizing your online presence. Contact us for help.