Getting online reviews: Tips for ASCs in a digital world

In today's age online reviews are as important as they are beneficial. Online reviews can quickly add a level of trust and legitimacy to any business. The Medical field can particularly benefit from patients and physicians providing online feedback.

After hearing about an ambulatory surgery center, whether from word of mouth or the ASC’s own marketing, today's tech savvy aware physicians will take to the internet to perform a quick search on the suggested ASC. The online realm can seem daunting; however, ASCs can control and manage much of what comes up in search results.

While the medical field comes with a level of sensitivity for patients, depending on the doctor or procedure, patients that genuinely had a positive experience will be happy and willing to share their experiences. You can conduct a quick search and see for yourself that people do in fact leave detailed medically related reviews (physician offices, plastic surgery, surgery centers, hospitals and more). The growth of social media has aided in the variety of options/different platforms where patients and physicians can share a review of their experiences.

Here are 4 foundational tips to garner those online reviews:

1. Social Media Maintenance - There are several social media platforms to choose from. Reviews are not an option for every social media site, so ASC’s should make sure to have a presence on sites where patients are able to leave reviews such as Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp (to name a few). If your ASC is not on any social media sites or medically related platforms, start with the above listed sites first. While medical practices and ASC’s should be on a handful of well maintained social sites, operations should be sure their social media manager thoughtfully posts regular content, photos, or videos on the aforementioned sites.

Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp in particular aid in search engine optimization (SEO). Meaning when a potential physician or patient googles your practice, those three sites would rank on the first displayed SERPS (search engine result pages). Once you create and verify your business online, your online visibility and rankings will dramatically change. To emphasize the importance of ownership, on Yelp doctors and medical establishments are "reviewed like restaurants". Your ASC can be reviewed without you even verifying your business page, so be sure to be proactive and create or verify your page(s) as soon as possible.

Additionally, depending on how much time your office staff has or if you have a social media manager, other sites that add to your legitimacy and digital reach include: LinkedIn, YouTube, Bing Business, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. However, it should be noted that each site has its own "personality" and type of audience that should be kept in mind when posting content.

2. Make The Right Collateral - While the reviews your ASC should be seeking are online, consider creating a variety of print collateral to provide to physicians and their patients to let them know to go online to check out your sites or remind them to please review. Marketing collateral such as social media graphics and signs displayed in the waiting room where patients and their families can read while waiting and having your post-op nurses include the social media graphic in given materials are some ideas to keep reviews on the minds of patients or physicians.

Beyond print collateral consider making creative "review videos" that digitally showcase your reviews across a variety of platforms. You can upload your created review video on YouTube and share your video on Facebook, LinkedIn, your website, Instagram and more. Additionally, you can have the review video looping in your waiting room. Giving new and seasoned physicians or patients alike further confidence in your ASC as they view your 5 star reviews from others. This also serves as a reminder that your ASC is on social media and that they too can review their experience.

3. Follow Up - This is important for a variety of reasons. Apart from social media, ASCs should have some sort of relationship management (CRM) tool or system that they can use to encourage reviews. This includes communication methods, such as semi-regular emails to physicians beyond pertaining to surgery.

Emails are also helpful in efforts to keep negative reviews offline. Just as a glowing positive review can be the impetus for scheduling a tour or booking a surgery, a scathing negative review can have the opposite effect and simply doesn't look good. In your CRM methods, incorporate workflows. Workflows are a series of emails that relate to a campaign or objective. Your first follow-up email can include a link to a yes or no question, such as "Would you recommend our ASC to colleagues?". If the answer is "no", consider sending a survey for physicians to provide further feedback. Medical practices and ASCs are people based, so take heed to any suggestions and constructive feedback, and be sure to address it with your physicians and if necessary your office. For those that selected "yes" send them an email providing links to each social media site where they can share their positive experiences at your ASC.

Also to keep your ASC relevant to physicians, be sure to send them Holiday emails or notifications of new posts on your practice blog so they continue to be engaged and aware of any new or exciting ASC updates.

4. Make It An Important Part Of Your ASC Culture - Have a people focused mentality. From office staff, to schedulers and nurses, each one of your ASC’s personnel that a physician or patient could interact with impacts the outcome of a review. Patient and physician satisfaction and quality care should be at the heart of an ASC’s practices.

Really, garnering reviews starts on the phone or the moment the patient or physician walks through your ASC doors. Your staff should be courteous and have the utmost level of customer service and training, they are a reflection of the business. And if your team is rude, people will post about it. A customer service attitude will help to seamlessly tie in requesting reviews from patients and physicians.

Any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Kelsey Tricoli
Marketing Manager
Advanced Ambulatory Surgery Center (AASC)

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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