Most of us value freedom of expression; and, thankfully, the internet has facilitated a large increase in our ability to do this. We’re now able to reach a large audience with little effort in little time.
Is this (always) a good thing, though? It depends.
Prior to the rise of the internet as a communication tool, many people suggested a bad experience was shared seven times amongst peers. Jane would tell John, who’d speak to Sarah, who’d talk to Peter, and so on. There are no such opinions on good experiences. However, it’s widely believed they aren’t shared as often as their negative counterparts.
This has led to a publicity dilemma.
On the one hand, the ease at which individuals can share their experiences with a wide audience is a positive. On the other, the damaged caused by a negative review can have lasting effects.
We’ve all seen unfavorable ratings of a business; and, subsequently, taken our business elsewhere. Acting on ‘better’ information is something we’re all pre-programmed to do. Is this sort of behavior fair, however? Especially when the aforementioned business hasn’t had the chance to reply?
A lot of medical professionals would probably say no but struggle to see the relevance. How does a Zomato or Yelp review apply to their industry?
Well, patients are now able to rate their doctors on websites such as www.ratemds.com; and, as a result, health specialists need to stack the odds of a positive review in their favour. This is because they cannot control the existence, or content, of these sites.
Ensuring a high-quality, consistent service will significantly aid this task and can be achieved through:
- Positive work mannerisms at all times of the day
- An accountable approach to all practice tasks
- Proactive communication with patients
- An encouragement for patients to express themselves with practice staff (as opposed to venting online)
Such measures will provide an opportunity to right any wrongs before the world hears about them; and, in some cases, even let staff turn a negative into a positive.
Whether we like it or not, ratings are here to say. Therefore, it’s important to regularly seek feedback (as opposed to infrequently conducting patient surveys for CORNERSTONE compliance), introduce consistent standards of service, and respond to any patient comments/criticisms in a timely manner.