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August 29, 2019

Ask an Expert: Google Questions & Answers

By: Kayla Zamary

In this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about online reputation management. In this post, Binary Fountain Product Manager Jeremy Lowry tackles questions related to managing Google Q&A tools for Google My Business listings at the enterprise level. What’s the importance of the Q&A section in my Google My Business…

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google questions and answers

In this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about online reputation management.

In this post, Binary Fountain Product Manager Jeremy Lowry tackles questions related to managing Google Q&A tools for Google My Business listings at the enterprise level.

What’s the importance of the Q&A section in my Google My Business Profile?

The Q&A section is a prominent feature on Google My Business (GMB) profiles and factors into search engine visibility, so the more robust and accurate this section is, the better. Additionally, this feature cannot be turned on and off like some other GMB elements. That said, you can still exercise some control over your Q&A info by carefully monitoring its activity and responding to every question and answer posted by customers. After all, if people leave inaccurate information, this can greatly impact your business and mislead potential customers.

One of the most common points of confusion, especially for healthcare providers, involves incorrect business hour information. Someone may ask when you open via Google Q&A and a customer might jump in and say “9 a.m.” when the correct response is actually “8 a.m.” This seemingly small error may cost you an appointment or sale.

Who can post questions, and who can answer?

For better or worse, anyone can post questions and answers for your business. Fortunately, Google makes it clear who is posting this information. For instance, if you own the business, Google will clarify your position in parentheses. Or, anyone who signs up with Google’s Local Guide benefit program will have a little star and the text “local guide” next to their name.

Q&A conversations are also ongoing, like a thread on a message board. Once the question is asked, answers can continue to pile underneath. This is why continual monitoring is key for businesses, even for older, seemingly stale questions. Google now features the most recent question at the top of your GMB profile, so staying up to date on new questions and answers matters, too.

Does a business owner have the ability to flag inappropriate content in Google Q&A?

Yes. Google’s Prohibited and Restricted Content guidelines apply to Q&A forms as well. While you cannot remove the content yourself, you can request for it to be taken down by Google if you feel it violates these rules. This includes content that is off-topic, fake/spam, offensive, sexually explicit, etc. Click here for more information.

How do users know when a business owner has responded to a question?

As mentioned previously, Google will tag you as the “Owner,” helping to identify your answer as the source of truth. As the business owner, you must verify this information before receiving this title, however. Neglecting this feature is a missed opportunity to steer potential online customers in the right direction.

Can you solicit questions to answer?

Yes, and in fact, seeding common questions is recommended for businesses to get a leg up on the types of inquiries customers will likely make. Some examples of these common questions include details about business hours, parking and location info, specific services and products, and appointment reservation requirements. If you are struggling to come up with questions to answer, take note of questions you get asked over the phone and in person and include them in your Google Q&A section. If one person wants to know something, chances are that others will, too.

How does Binary Fountain’s new Google Question and Answer product make monitoring and responding to Google Q&A easier? 

The main benefit of Binary Fountain’s Google Q&A product is in consolidating every important piece of this feature into a single platform. Our product sources data from Google and allows you to receive real-time alerts whenever a question or answer gets posted on your page. This allows you to quickly jump in and answer questions directly as well as set the record straight by correcting wrong answers and flagging inappropriate content.

What are some best practices for using this product?

Broadly speaking, the best way to get the most out of Binary Fountain’s Q&A product is by maintaining awareness and staying engaged with every aspect of the feature. More specifically, you should respond to every single question to provide an authoritative answer for potential customers. You should also anticipate questions users might ask in the future and post them along with the answers to get a head start. All the while, be on the lookout for content that may violate platform rules. Also, treat your Q&A section like your review section by providing clear and concise responses that address the concern, reaffirm your values, and redirect customers to more information.

Are there reporting capabilities, and what does it track?

Yes. Our product will give you a quick snapshot of the total number of Google questions per location/provider, including the number of unanswered questions. This information shows up immediately, which is important seeing as your engagement with Q&A (among other things) impacts your SEO rankings.

Is this a stand-alone product or does it augment an existing product?

This product is integrated with Binary Fountain’s Social Compass and Health Analytics features as an additional source. While it is not a stand-alone product, it does not count against your overall reviews or include Natural Language Processing (NLP). It is simply a response and sourcing tool.

How are existing Binary Fountain clients able to access this?

All Binary Fountain clients can access this feature at no additional charge. They must simply enable it as an additional source in their dashboard.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 28, 2019

5 Great Ways to Respond to Positive Reviews

By: Kayla Zamary

Regardless of what business you are in, positive reviews always feel good. Knowing that you, your team or your product performed the way your consumer expected is always rewarding. But there’s an even greater reward than a pat on the back for positive reviews: good user reviews typically attract new customers to your business. Today,…

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positive reviewsRegardless of what business you are in, positive reviews always feel good. Knowing that you, your team or your product performed the way your consumer expected is always rewarding.

But there’s an even greater reward than a pat on the back for positive reviews: good user reviews typically attract new customers to your business. Today, roughly 84 percent of customers trust online reviews as much as they would trust a close friend. More importantly, most consumers won’t use a business if they don’t have a four-star rating or higher on listing sites.

But how do you respond to positive reviews when you get them?

In a culture where taking a compliment is hard, you may not know how to react to a positive review because they are either rare or you aren’t sure what an appropriate response is.

This is your definitive guide on how to respond to positive reviews that customers leave on your listings and how to use that information to your advantage.

Why do Online Reviews Matter?

So why do your online reviews matter so much?

As we’ve previously laid out, when it comes to online ratings perception in many cases is the reality for consumers. As Gen Z comes into their own, the amount of dependence on consumer reviews is only going to grow.

If you want to attract new business, you are going to have to be aware of what people are saying online.

What people say online about your practice or business is crucial to understanding customer perception and what matters most to them. If there are issues, acting on those insights can be the difference between growing your business and going out of business.

Any business without a clear feedback loop is doomed to fail.

In fact, many search engines include patient reviews as a ranking factor for local search results.

How Should My Business Respond to Positive Reviews?

Responding to negative reviews is important to improve the relationship with an unhappy customer. That can go a long way to retaining business in the long run.

Engaging with positive reviews, however, is a different kind of relationship building.

The ultimate goal of responding to positive reviews is to evangelize the customer and show that you take customer feedback seriously, regardless of the content. Everyone likes knowing that they were heard.

Here’s the best way to respond to positive reviews:

  1. Say “Thank You”

Most importantly, thank your reviewer! It’s the polite thing to do and showing appreciation will help attract even more potential customers and encourage current ones to leave reviews.

There are many ways you can say thank you, so get creative and find a way that matches your brand.

  1. Promise to Share the Compliment

Often times, reviewers will call out a specific employee who made their experience enjoyable, sometimes even by name. This is a great opportunity to show you don’t just care about your customer, you care about your employees too.

For example, if a patient at a clinic writes, “My nurse Johanna was amazing and really calmed down my son before he got a vaccination,” reply back with “We are so thankful for Johanna! She is great with making kids feel safe. We’ll pass along the kind words and thank her for serving you well.”

See what kind of trust that builds? Don’t forget to actually follow through on this promise!

  1. Reinforce the Good While Promoting the Different

Make sure you address what made the customer happy and take the time to call it out.

For example, if they mention a change you made your location, mention that it’s something you all have put a lot of thought into and thank them for noticing.

Additionally, if you offer different products or services that are different than the one specifically mentioned, this is your opportunity to encourage them to try something different next time. A sales hook of “If you liked this, you are really going to love X” is never a bad idea.

  1. Remind Them You’d Love to See Them Again

This one seems self-explanatory, but you want to make sure you encourage them to visit again. Using this tactic helps turn customers into loyal customers and shows you want a relationship with them.

Everyone wants to feel wanted!

For added value (if applicable), don’t be afraid to encourage them to bring in friends or family next time.

  1. Personalize Your Response

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is copying and pasting a comment on a review. You should always take the time to write a unique response that will resonate more with the user.

Think back to writing thank you notes – you always wanted to add just enough uniqueness to let the person know you knew what they gave you and that you were thankful for the unique gift

This will cause extra work, but if done right, is a great way to grow your brand and attract lifelong customers.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 27, 2019

5 Best Practices for Engaging Patients Online

By: Kayla Zamary

The healthcare industry has seen a major shift from being provider-driven to patient-driven. Patients are treating healthcare like any other service they can buy, and many look to online reviews to gather more information before selecting new providers. As many as 8 in 10 patients consult physician reviews before selecting a healthcare provider, making it…

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patient engagement onlineThe healthcare industry has seen a major shift from being provider-driven to patient-driven. Patients are treating healthcare like any other service they can buy, and many look to online reviews to gather more information before selecting new providers.

As many as 8 in 10 patients consult physician reviews before selecting a healthcare provider, making it vital for healthcare organizations to not only monitor what’s being said but to participate in the conversation as well.

Patient reviews can provide a wealth of information for providers, too. Engaging with reviewers’ concerns and issues can help practices and hospitals create true opportunities for online service recovery while communicating that patient experience is a top priority.

By following these five best practices for engaging patients online, you can help impact patient loyalty and ensure your providers’ reputations are better monitored and managed.

1. Establish a patient review response system

This should include everything from response timelines to who should be managing responses. Most often, this falls under your organization’s social media policy, which sets forth guidelines on tone, language and the like to ensure that those handling reviews and responses, especially via highly visible social media channels, are using the same “voice.” Having a written policy helps prevent staff members from not appropriately addressing the concerns posted in negative views and ensuring responses are in compliance with HIPAA and other healthcare industry regulations.

It’s also a good practice to draft scripted responses for common issues that arise in multiple reviews, such as comments about wait times. You can add some customization, using templates helps to speed up engagement response time.

For a final check before a comment is publicly posted, consider setting up an approval system. Individuals who are closer to the issue can draft a response, but a marketing team member, for example, can give final sign off before the review is released.

2. Set separate workflows for responding to both positive and negative reviews

Some organizations might consider a 3-star review a marginal review; others, a 2.8-star review. It’s important to set a baseline so your team is not wasting time discussing which warrants a response every single day.

Implementing a patient experience platform can help you streamline this process by flagging any reviews that need attention and response, either based on the sentiment or flagged keywords (e.g. malpractice, lawsuit). Knowing where there are opportunities to improve are critical for any healthcare organization. Getting to the root cause of smaller issues can help them from spiraling into larger problems.

Additionally, it’s good practice to respond to positive patient reviews as well. Doing this will show you’re engaged and your organization values authentic feedback.

3. Address issues in a timely manner

There is no way to “bury” or delete negative reviews – in fact, you should embrace them and learn from them. Ignoring negative comments or patient reviews only allows frustration to build. Responding quickly and working to resolve the underlying problem can reflect positively on your healthcare organization – and influence the patient to change their review to a positive one. If the issue is an operational issue, such as the lack of large hospital gowns, survey your patients after making corrections to see if the issue is resolved.

4. Know when to take a conversation offline

Some patient complaints are best dealt with privately, either because of the sensitivity of the issue or because the problem needs to be escalated to a patient advocacy group. Always keep in mind that people want to be heard and receive authentic responses from someone who can fix the situation. A patient experience platform helps you streamline this process by notifying you when new reviews arrive in the system, ensuring that the most serious issues are resolved more quickly.

5. Be proactive in requesting reviews

To offset lower ratings, proactively ask patients for reviews. Be sure you know the rules around suggestions versus solicitation. You can suggest the patient leave a review in many ways and at different points in the relationship. For example, you can gauge the patient’s experience, and then ask them to share their experience online. Or, if you have an online patient portal, you can add an online review link or embed in an appointment reminder email—the opportunities are endless. This can dramatically increase the number of completed surveys and raise your average ratings.

As patients continue to embrace their roles as consumers and seek out reviews before selecting providers, it becomes even more important for healthcare organizations to engage with patients online. Timely, authentic responses not only convey that patient experience is a top priority, but they also help practices and providers uncover opportunities for improvement and create a dialog with patients. These best practices all contribute to the overarching strategy of keeping patients happy, which is a win-win for everyone.

 

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 22, 2019

3 Best Reputation Management Software Features

By: Kayla Zamary

So, you’ve decided to start investigating reputation management software, but you are unsure what kind of features you should look for. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know exactly what kind of features you need in order to develop an insightful customer feedback loop at your business. With so many consumers trusting…

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reputation management featuresSo, you’ve decided to start investigating reputation management software, but you are unsure what kind of features you should look for. With so many options out there, it’s hard to know exactly what kind of features you need in order to develop an insightful customer feedback loop at your business.

With so many consumers trusting online reviews, you know that paying attention to online reviews has value, but how do you know you are getting the best value for your investment?

While there are many players in the digital reputation management space that offer solutions, there are some key features and reporting you will want in order to set your program up for success.

Here are the top things to look for when selecting a reputation management software.

Industry-Specific Natural Language Processing

 Every industry is different, meaning you need a tailored approach to how you interpret incoming data. Natural language processing (NLP) is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that allows computers to interpret written and spoken language. NLP makes it possible for computers to actually measure sentiment and determine which parts of language are most important based on how they are used contextually.

This is extremely valuable for people interested in protecting their online reputation because it provides a much deeper dive into the “why” behind someone leaving a review and makes it easy for the AI unit to categorize a user review and bridge the gap between computer understanding and human communication.

Having industry-specific NLP technology means your system will be better equipped to understand the actionable insights and trends from unstructured comments in online reviews that are needed to improve the consumer experience.

If you work in a specialized field like healthcare, this is particularly important because the NLP can detect phrases like “long wait times” and understand that the sentiment behind the comment is negative.

This saves you (or your team) a lot of work in the long run!

Dashboards and Reporting

Another feature you will want from your reputation management software are easy to understand dashboards and reports. In order to present ROI to the C-suite or to your marketing director, you need to have quality dashboards that are easy to understand.

Hard to read or use dashboards can cause organizational confusion and mistakes. When demoing different reputation management software products, make sure you ask about what kind of reporting views are available. Are they easy to understand? Do they sync up with internal surveys and third-party vendors? Do they offer same-day reporting?

All of these are features you want to have, to ensure the fastest and most accurate reporting possible.

One Place for All Your Online Reviews

Chances are, if you don’t already have reputation management software, you’ve been trying to keep track of all of your reviews on multiple different digital platforms like Google My Business, Facebook and others. That can be an extremely manual process and is certainly not efficient and probably not effective.

When selecting a reputation management software, you want to make sure it can support all the different digital platforms you need while aggregating all of your reviews in one easy to reach place. Another helpful feature is alerts – being able to set up automated messaging to let you know when there has been a certain type of review (usually a negative one) left on the web that you feel needs immediate attention.

This makes your team both efficient and effective.

Read the Reviews!

Would you choose a reputation management company with bad reviews online? Of course not!

Pay attention to online reviews about that company. Do they provide quality customer support? Are people unhappy with their level of reporting?

Chances are, you will have the same problems with that vendor if you choose their reputation management software.

In particular, look for solutions with quality reviews from industry-leading experts and high marks in:

  • Responsiveness
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Solutions that scale for any size company

 

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 21, 2019

What Renters Want: An Analysis of the Resident Journey

By: Kayla Zamary

When it comes to finding an apartment, where do consumers look for information and who do they trust for advice? Binary Fountain’s 2019 Renter Insight and Digital Engagement Survey asked more than 1,100 current and prospective renters to give us their perspectives on a variety of important topics, such as online reviews and listings, referrals,…

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resident journeyWhen it comes to finding an apartment, where do consumers look for information and who do they trust for advice?

Binary Fountain’s 2019 Renter Insight and Digital Engagement Survey asked more than 1,100 current and prospective renters to give us their perspectives on a variety of important topics, such as online reviews and listings, referrals, pain points and must-haves for a new apartment.

In our latest webinar, Binary Fountain’s Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development Andrew Rainey was joined by Jennifer Nee, Senior Brand Manager for Mill Creek Residential Trust to go over the results of this survey and pull out insights for property managers learn about the resident journey.

If you weren’t able to join, you can download a video of the presentation here. Here are a few  key takeaways from the webinar:

The most influential online resources that renters turn to are search engines and review platforms—these dictate what first impression prospective residents will have of your properties

The survey found that 96% of apartment seekers considered online reviews and ratings when searching for rentals and 85% consulted online reviews even if they initially received a referral from family or friends.

“The second thing that stood out to me was how the data showed that residents trust the word of mouth of strangers way more than that of their friends or family,” said Jennifer Nee. “Again, it’s just reinforcing that people turn to reviews as a type of validation of the service or product they can expect to receive.”

Positive online ratings and reviews are not just a nice-to-have for today’s multifamily properties–they are essential for maintaining a healthy resident acquisition pipeline

Another telling statistic was that nearly two-thirds of respondents said they would pay more to rent at a place with great ratings.

“This was the first time I saw some type of concrete monetary connection between spend and reviews,” added Jennifer. “Not only will renters likely rent at a community with a better reputation, but now they will pay more to live there. This is something we added to our online reputation trainings and notes to make community associates aware that online reputation can now be an additional rent generator.”

The most frequent pain point for our survey respondents, “finding accurate information online about the property,” is also one of the easiest issues to fix

31% of survey respondents said “finding accurate information online” was the biggest pain point of the apartment search, while 18% said “waiting for follow up from leasing agents” was their top concern. Either way, these issues can often be overlooked by property managers but are easy fixes to help improve business.

“[Mill Creek Residential Trust] certainly understands that today’s renter is looking for information at all hours, not just when the leasing office is open,” noted Jennifer, “and that’s why it is important to make sure all information is everywhere, consistent and accurate. We push out real-time information on pricing and availability to the major ILS sites and most information and photos are pushed out as well from our property management software. We are constantly auditing our online presence to make sure all information is up to date and presented as accurately as possible.” 

“We also understand the importance of getting back to customers quickly and in the manner in which they want to be communicated to as well as trying to make it as easy as possible to schedule tours, which is why we have done extensive research and testing on initiatives like texting and chatbots to make sure we can provide information quickly–even when the office is closed, and we’re looking into self-guided tours to allow customers to tour a community on their terms, the way they want to.” 

Get more insights from the presentation here.

Interested in seeing more stats from our survey? Download the handy infographic here.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 20, 2019

The True ROI of Reputation Management

By: Kayla Zamary

Socrates once said, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” Many company executives, doctors and other professionals have dedicated their lives to walk the walk if they are going to talk the talk. The way a business earns a good reputation is no different. Striving…

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reputation management roiSocrates once said, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” Many company executives, doctors and other professionals have dedicated their lives to walk the walk if they are going to talk the talk.

The way a business earns a good reputation is no different.

Striving to provide the best product or service for the consumer while maintaining ethical standards is important for any business that wants to continue to grow. With the introduction of online reviews, the importance of having a great online reputation can make a world of difference in separating yourself from your competition.

In the mind of the consumer, perception is reality. Because of this, the importance of having a fantastic online image can’t be understated.

If you are interested in acquiring new customers, retaining your current ones and growing your business, you need to invest in online reputation management to ensure you know what is being said about your business online and are able to discover the actionable insights you need to act on in order to maintain your customers’ happiness.

Unfortunately, monitoring your online reputation can be an extremely taxing undertaking, but it’s ultimately worth the investment regardless of what industry you are in.

The Cost of Online Reputation Management

Before you can measure the ROI of reputation management, you need to know the costs associated with starting a program. As a business owner, you don’t have unlimited resources, but you also need to be willing to invest in the necessary improvements to make your business better.

If you decide that you are going to invest in reputation management, you have to commit to:

  • The hours needed to monitor your star ratings/reviews
  • The necessary resources to improve what customers are complaining about
  • Tools that will help your team be more effective and efficient in their tasks

Think of your online reputation like you would a house. If you know there are issues with the master bathroom, you are going to make the necessary improvements to increase the value of your home. If you have an issue with how people think of your brand due to an issue with your location or service, there are going to be costs associated with that.

In the long run, however, those costs will pay off in a big way as more people begin to admire the improvements you have made. In a way, the benefits of a reputation management program can be felt for years after you make the initial investment.

Here are the ways you can measure the ROI of a reputation management program.

Sentiment and Reviews on Social Media

Social media is used for more than just funny cat pictures: it’s actually a huge part of consumer research where people can find out information about businesses and brands.

Even if your business doesn’t use social media a lot, your customers and your potential customers do when they are interested in finding a product or service. This means your business is being scrutinized on social media platforms, even if you don’t pay attention to them.

There are many different KPI’s to look for when you are measuring the impact of your reputation management program, including overall consumer sentiment, engagement and of course, actual star rating improvements.

Before you start a reputation management program, however, you need to measure your current social media stats to set an accurate baseline.

  • Your current star rating average
  • A list of complaints customers have left in reviews
  • Your current number of followers
  • Your current levels of positive engagement (different than just engagement score)

Seeing a lift in each of these areas can demonstrate the impact of your reputation management program.

Star Rating

This is pretty easy to measure as Facebook gives you an average rating every time you pull up your business page. Make a note of your current star rating and set a goal for how much you want to raise it in the next year.

Customer Complaints

While keeping tabs on your star rating is easy, to get the full picture of how your program is performing, you will want to dive a little deeper than just a composite score. Take note on why the customer left the review they did. What were their objections for not leaving a five-star review?

Finding that underlying “why” will highlight the areas your staff needs to improve in as well as act as a measuring post for your reputation management program. If you are implementing everything correctly, you should see complaints about that area becoming less and less frequent.

Another quick note on customer complaints and feedback: you really want to examine the sentiment people have towards to your brand, so you will want a reputation management software program with Natural Language Processing to better categorize user feedback.

Followers

The number of followers you have on all the different social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) is also a good indicator of how well-liked your business is. Unhappy customers aren’t likely to engage with your brand outside of a negative review, so adding more followers is an indicator of positive sentiment towards your brand.

This does not mean, however, that you should go out and buy followers like many “social media experts” will advise you do. Inflating your followers with fake followers and spam is only going to hurt your ability to measure actual social media engagement levels and will stand out like a sore thumb over time. Don’t do it!

Positive Engagement

Lastly, if you see an increase in user engagement like reposts, comments, etc. you will know your reputation management program is doing what it’s supposed to do by activating your “tribe” to have more positive interactions with you. The key here is you only want to measure positive engagement, so make sure you are paying attention to the sentiment behind the engagement.

These should be easy numbers to find with basic social media monitoring APIs.

Direct ROI from Social Media

If you are interested in getting hard numbers from your social media engagement, look at traffic from your social media pages to your website as well as average conversion rates or click to call metrics.

Social media is a great tool for growing your brand, but in general, it’s not the primary point of conversion for many users. Instead, leverage it as a way to respond to and engage with your customers and get a better idea of how they are perceiving your brand.

Measuring ROI on Review Sites

For physicians, restaurants and other service-related industries, paying attention to review sites is even more important than social media. You will want to keep track of your ratings on Google, Yelp and industry specific ones – for example, Vitals for medical providers. If you haven’t set up or claimed profiles on these pages, you will want to start there.

These directories are how many consumers find services online, and they trust what other people are saying about the level of service being provided.

Like measuring the impact on your social media platforms, you will want to start by getting a baseline for how your business is currently viewed by customers.

You will want to look at:

  • Star rating
  • Current customer sentiment
  • SEO results

Star Rating for Review Sites

Very similar to social media, you should see an average or composite score of all of your reviews on a platform. This will give you a trending up or trending down indication of how your customer service is doing in the eyes of the consumer.

When looking at these scores and reviews, it may be tempting to respond to a negative review, but we recommend checking out our guide on how to respond to negative reviews before opening that can of worms as you can do more harm than good if you aren’t careful.

The ultimate goal you should set for yourself is to improve your star ratings by at least half a star in the first year. That should realistically be an obtainable goal.

Current Customer Sentiment

You will want to analyze current customer feedback to better understand where you are failing to meet their expectations and how you can fix the issues they are having. Identify just a few key areas and make them an operational focus over the next year for your business.

SEO Results

Did you know online reviews greatly impact search engine results?

Search engines like Google prefer serving up the best possible results for their users and use star ratings as social proof to ensure they are giving a user the best quality service when performing a local search.

Measure your current organic traffic and see where you rank currently. If you do this, make sure to use the Incognito feature on Google Chrome.

If you aren’t ranking #1, you may even want to read your competitors reviews to get an idea of what they are doing for an idea on how to improve. Hopefully, these rankings change as you continue to make improvements from customer insights.

Offline KPIs

While you want to measure your impact online, offline measurements of success are usually even more crucial for driving business decisions. Reducing customer churn and increasing retention are far more important than how many followers you have on social media.

In order to do this, take baselines of the following KPIs.

  • Net promoter score
  • Customer satisfaction surveys
  • Patient/customer referrals
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • Estimated market share

These are KPIs that will lead to long term revenue growth for your organization and should be the measurements of focus for evaluating the ROI of your reputation management program.

There’s one more crucial part in measuring the ROI of your reputation management program: the benefit of building a better relationship with your customer.

The Real ROI of Reputation Management: Customer Relationships

Closely monitoring your reputation online helps you get a better idea of what your customers care about and how they think. That’s invaluable for any organization because it gives you the information you need to make good decisions about how your organization should operate.

There’s more to it than just that though: reputation management gives you the opportunity to build a long-term relationship with your customers.

If you aren’t investing in reputation management software, odds are you aren’t getting the valuable insights you need to better satisfy your customers and make them lifelong customers. Therefore, the true cost of reputation management software isn’t necessarily the price you pay, but the lost opportunity to grow your business if you don’t invest in reputation management.

84 percent of consumers trust an online review as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. If you want to be successful in today’s market, you have to take what people are saying online as seriously as new customers do.

When you see a pattern in what feedback customers are giving you, take steps to make the operational or staffing improvements needed to address the customers’ complaints. Continued iteration on your processes or products will lead to happier customers who leave positive reviews, influencing more people to try your business.

Increased customer acquisition and retention are priceless for any business and reputation, which is the true ROI of reputation management.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 15, 2019

The Top Questions from the “Ask an Expert” Live Webinar

By: Kayla Zamary

In our webinar Wednesday, we brought together several experts to take on people’s questions about reputation management and listings management. Our panel of experts included: Reed Smith, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock John Musser, Sport Clips Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain Krystal Taing, Rio SEO You can still catch the entire presentation here, but we’ve compiled…

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ask an expert
In our webinar Wednesday, we brought together several experts to take on people’s questions about reputation management and listings management.
Our panel of experts included:
  • Reed Smith, Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock
  • John Musser, Sport Clips
  • Aaron Clifford, Binary Fountain
  • Krystal Taing, Rio SEO

You can still catch the entire presentation here, but we’ve compiled some of the best questions that were asked yesterday here for your viewing pleasure:


What is the most important aspect of SEO when it comes to ranking higher in Google?

KT: Assuming, that they’re doing all of the basics (they’ve got all their NAP on their website and their listings), I think anything that’s going to increase engagement–in particular, anything related to reviews, so make sure you’re managing your reviews on Google, on Yelp (if it’s relevant for your industry) and then getting those first-party reviews on your site and your local landing pages is going to be critical.

How do I combat a negative reputation on Yelp? 

AC: This is a question that gets raised often–the best approach to reputation on Yelp is just to respond to the reviews and try to get those conversations offline. Address concerns, for sure, that are mentioned in the review, but always respond to reviews, whether that’s on Yelp or on Google My Business. It’s important to respond to reviews, but It’s really hard, especially since Yelp is against solicitation of reviews. So it’s not like you can ask people to leave a review, even if it’s negative or positive, just even asking any of your customers to share their experience on Yelp is against their approach. They prohibit it in their content guidelines, so really just respond to those reviews and do your best to do service recovery.

RS: I think being visible, transparent, and kind of honest–not robotic when it comes to responding to reviews, whether it’s Yelp or otherwise, I think is really important. I think we’ve seen historically a lot of people want to leave a review, but they don’t really want to resolve anything, so if they go there and they see that you’re active, it may actually head off some of those that are just looking to be negative for negativity’s sake. 

What, if any, impact have you seen in your business as a result of responding to not just negative reviews, but the positive ones as well? 

AC: While I was at HCA, many times we were given the opportunity to do service recovery and the reviewer would actually go back and update their review to let others know that “Hey, they’ve reached out to me,” and they had a positive experience from there. It just builds goodwill–you’re showing that you appreciate the feedback from your customers and you’re an engaged business. It helped out, sometimes we’d have people reach out offline with an “Oh, thank you!” or “Thank you for responding, you guys are kind,” you know, just some of that goodwill. There are some studies out there that have been done that showed one-third of reviews are updated and/or deleted after a company responds to a negative review. So that’s why it’s very important to engage, especially if you have the approach of service recovery.

KT: I think users and consumers are going to be more engaging if they see you as a brand responding to all types of reviews, as opposed to those who just come to complain. I think them seeing a brand interacting and responding to reviews is going to encourage all types of feedback.

What are the top three directories to use for contractor service area businesses? 

KT: I would say probably one of the most underutilized service area business sites is likely going to be Manta for small businesses. You also want to make sure you’re in Thumbtack, House–all of those new kinds of trendy sites for these types of contractors. I know it’s the opposite of free, but something that I think is growing in a lot of industries is Google local service ads. Those are going to be a huge opportunity. They’re expanding to more markets and industries, so if they’re available for your industry, I would highly suggesting suggest looking into those.

What’s the best timing to respond to reviews? The same day, a few days, 24-hours? 

JM: So we always teach that we want to respond to all reviews that come in within 24-hours. There’s a survey out there that shows 55 percent of reviewers expect a business response within a day, and then 30 percent expect a response within three days. But we really want to leverage within the 24-hour mark, not just if there are any negative reviews out there but positive as well. We always want to drive response time down, rather than wait a few days. 

RS: I would say a lot of that has to do with how you’re staffed. I mean, from a resource standpoint (especially in healthcare or hospitals), if we glean something from a review and that person is still in the facility, being able to go and do that service recovery in-person is much more meaningful, and it’s probably more likely that they’re going to update the review if we can get to them while they’re still there. It’s not always possible depending on how you’re staffed or if it’s the weekend, but it’s a great conversation to have internally, asking “what are we capable of?” I think one of the worst things to do is set an expectation that we’ll like positive reviews in 15 minutes, but leave negative reviews to sit for several days–that’s a bad precedent to set.

JM: If you can see a client’s not happy before they leave with the service, you can nip the bud right there before they even leave and get online. So having that internal conversation with your team, especially at the franchise level, will go a long way. 

How far back do I go to respond to reviews?

AC: Normally, anything that’s over a week, but it depends on your business. There’s always some situations where I would not go back past a week or two with responding to reviews. If you haven’t started until today, just start from this point forward with responding. 

Do you think consumers see any value in the reviews that come through programs like Listen360? 

AC: This is a software that asks for reviews, versus organic review aggregators like Google or Yelp. I’m not familiar with Listen360 but I assume that’s a first-party review site. Most of the studies that I’ve seen say around 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as an in-person recommendation, so it definitely has an impact. Binary Fountain just did their own study where we asked 1,000 individuals about the influence online reviews have in their decision of choosing a provider and 75% said that it definitely has an impact, and Google likes first-party reviews and so we see an influence there.

JM: We actually use Listen360 to help with our NPS score. It’s survey-based, so it’s not a review platform like Google or Facebook, Yelp or anything like that. But it does let us know internally how we’re doing at the location level. How we utilize Listen360 on a website basis, is that we have the ability to publish those surveys online to go after certain keywords of what clients are saying in their surveys to help us index better when it comes to search, but for us, it’s primarily to measure NPS. But we always want to go after Google, first-party reviews as much as possible.

KT: I would say any business that relies highly on service, particularly like restaurants and hotels, the Googles and the Yelps are going to be really critical. But operationally, if you truly want to use the reviews and the feedback to improve your brand and your business, I think I think surveys are a great opportunity.

How often and what time is best to send a transactional NPS survey? 

RS: Early and often, though I guess it somewhat depends on your business. I think that’s where customer journey mapping comes in, to help understand logically where some insertion points are that you would want to measure NPS. So from a transactional standpoint in healthcare, the point of discharge is obviously one of those where historically it’s been sent. But now we’re starting to look at other points, like wouldn’t you want to know after registration or different points in care? I think this probably varies quite a bit. 

JM: SportClips goes right after service, so when a client gets finished they’re sent a randomized survey.

As a medical company that has to worry about HIPAA and PHI, any recommendation about responding to reviews?

RS: I would say you don’t try to address it outright. Now, you do respond, but you don’t try to address the concern necessarily because of PHI and HIPAA. You’ve got to involve your legal counsel in this and you want to try to get that conversation offline, but you have to get it offline to that specific person. You can’t resolve anything in a back-and-forth dialogue in a review setting anyway, and so trying to get this offline really helps in two ways: you don’t get into a back and forth online, and you can actually help them. A lot of times, we’re seeing things in health care where it’s not necessarily even the patient that’s writing the review–it’s the spouse or the granddaughter, whoever happened to be in the room, so there’s not a lot you can do for those folks anyway. And chances are pretty good they’re not going to call you and they’re not trying to resolve anything. But if it’s actually an issue like a billing concern, or rude staff, or that kind of thing, they will call. So it’s important to connect those reviews with people that would handle that anyway. Think about like this: if someone walked into a hospital and had a complaint, who would they talk to? Is it the risk manager? Is it somebody in patient advocacy? That’s how you kind of build that process–you still respond it, but you have to be somewhat generic because of HIPAA, and then you try to connect them to somebody that can help them offline.

AC: There are times some complaints and issues come through that aren’t necessarily related to the care that was provided to the patient, but it might be something around the online portal or an issue with the website or ancillary parking. It’s okay to go into a little bit more detail on that because other people may have the same complaint and you’re able to hedge off additional comments about it If you give a complete answer. There are some responses that you can go a little bit more in-depth, but never to where you’re addressing the patient or getting anywhere near HIPPA or PHI. There are no recorded cases necessarily that I’ve seen so far of violating HIPAA on review responses, but you don’t want to be the first–you don’t want to become the case study! 

I manage 400-plus GMB listings for providers in our medical practice. When someone leaves, is it better to mark them as permanently closed, or should I just remove the listing? If I remove the listing, will the provider be able to reopen a listing under the same name in their new location? 

KT: I think it depends, which I know is not a great answer. But I would say, likely, you want to remove the listing with a few caveats: does the provider name also have the branded hospital name on it as well? Is it going to the hospital website? Those are elements you want to consider before purely removing it because that means you’re still going to create a negative, potential customer scenario if they go to your website and then no longer see their provider there. So I would say if you can make a multi-step process by removing any branded organizational information and then removing it that way, should the provider go somewhere else or want to clean the listings themselves. But worst-case scenario, if you can’t remove the branded information, I think marking it as permanently closed is completely fine.

I’ve heard if you manage more than 100 GMB listings, you will not receive alerts to your new reviews. Is that true? And if so, what can you do quickly to locate listings with newly posted reviews? 

KT: Yes, it’s true. It’s a limitation of GMB. Any account that has more than 100 locations won’t get alerts–not just for reviews, but for anything like Q&A or any other elements. There are little tricks though–if you have around 500 locations with manager access, that will enable alerts. But anything over 500, you would have to use a tool. Otherwise, the only way to do is go through each of your locations, manually keep track of your reviews and then somehow notice whenever another review comes, but at that point, I really think a reputation management tool is going to be your best bet. 

What is the most effective way to remove user uploaded photos? If for example, they show the wrong location or violate HIPAA? 

KT: The first thing you’re going to want to do is flag it–that’s always going to be the very first step. If you have multiple people that can flag it as well, that’s helpful. Then really just reaching out to Google Support. If it’s not naturally removed by their algorithm, someone has to manually review it and a manual review is going to be applied when you flag it. But if it’s truly like a scene or a big issue, I think contacting Google Support or reaching out to a provider that can reach out to Google on your behalf is your next step.

RS: It’s very common. And it’s you know, it’s like you don’t even know what you’re looking at half the time.–t’s like you hate to stare too hard. But I think certainly flagging it or even having multiple people in the organization flag it all at once is helpful and then certainly if you’re working with a provider on listing management, usually they will have additional avenues of contact and so that’s a great way to go. 

AC: It’s not review related, but we have had many instances where individuals would check-in to a facility and they’re in there taking an Instagram picture of their account number and MRN number on their wrist bracelet that they got from the hospital. You can’t control that, you know patients, they’re going to do it they want to do, but you got to be careful with that. It’s probably education on the other end of that on what to share and what not. 

What is the best way to find and claim rogue, unauthorized GMB listings? Should you claim them or simply request that they are closed? 

KT: So for this one, you do have a couple of avenues to actually find it. Maybe you’ve done searches and found some–we have a report that goes out and basically scours Google and finds potential rogue listings and then it really just requires a human to go through and say “Is this a duplicate? Is this something that should be merged? Should it be removed altogether or permanently closed?” Then from there, I would only claim if it’s something you want to keep up. If it’s something that’s a duplicate or a rogue listing, that needs to be removed. Google actually doesn’t want your claim on it because they think, for some reason, there’s an association and it shouldn’t be removed or they have to look deeper. So (specifically for duplicates) if you want to remove, do not claim it.

What is the best practice for zip code, since you can find physicians from all over in US News & World Report? Is it appropriate to put in zip codes from other states that we see patients in, even though our organization only exists in one place? 

KT: So you would only want to put ZIP codes in as a service area if you, as a business or professional, are going to perform your business there. If patients are flying in to visit you, you only can use your ZIP codes that you operate out of. Outside of that, I would leverage your website to explain that to patients so they can visit you. But as far as GMB, the zip codes only work if you are servicing your potential patient in that area. This is very relevant for very specific service lines as well. 

Is there a best practice for adding posts to over 132 listings at one time? It’s very time-consuming just go in and add posts to Google listings one at a time? 

KT: Unfortunately no, not at this time. It’s one by one if you’re seen as a multi-location company–if you are an agency and you’re just working with 1322 different locations, as long as those individual locations are not labeled as chains by Google then you could use the API. But right now, if you’re a multi-location brand, you’ll literally get an error back when you try to post via API.

JM: What we do is give complete manager access on GMB, so the local teams can go ahead and post whatever they want on Google, it doesn’t have to necessarily roll up to the corporate side of things. It’s managed locally.

I’d love to hear someone speak to the balance between managing review responses for franchises at the corporate level and having franchisees involved with managing their own review responses. At what point does it become big corporate stepping in too far and losing some level of authentic response? 

JM: Anything that’s coming from the local side of reviews is actually managed by our local franchisees and their team. Any reviews that happen with us corporately (because we do have a few company-owned stores) that gets handled internally with our own teams. And so we really kind of push everything down locally to local teams. We use platforms like Rio to help with managing the conversation and the authentic voice behind it. One particular function is using a template for responses–it shows examples of what to say when it comes to responses, but then they also have the ability to add in their own voice and make any updates. We’re very unique in that any local responses have to be coming from the franchise-level, but it can’t all be necessarily coming from the corporate side of things because we aren’t able to respond on their behalf. 

KT: I think what SportClips, in particular, has done really well and any organization needs to do in order to be successful, is really invest in training on the importance of responding to reviews, like what type of language to use. I think what we run into oftentimes is that for these franchise managers and owners, this is their livelihood. They’re running the operation, they’re doing the paperwork–so when they respond to reviews, maybe they’re going to take it too personally. I think before you give them the reins, make sure you’ve invested in training and give them guidelines so that they feel like they’re supported by corporate, but it is coming from their voice.

AC: In my experiences, when evaluating a number of different clinics and how they were managing their reviews prior to us having a corporate program, it was all over the map–either no one responded or they were responding inappropriately. We had times where there was just some really rogue stuff that was happening, and so corporate had to come in and go, “Here are the guidelines.” We weren’t overseeing and overlords but we definitely wanted that local response. Just in doing an audit, if you are a franchise that has franchisees and you’ve not done an audit, there might be some good guidelines and policies to put in place and make sure that you’re measuring those and communicating them because there are some things that could be costing your franchisees some business. They just may be ignorant of it and how it might be impacting their reputation and their brand at a local level. 

Are there ways to have a new, fresh start regarding GMB reviews? What are their options to start over again with GMB? 

KT: So, within guidelines, if they’ve changed management and rebranded, they could technically create a new listing and close the other down. However, just because you have a bad reputation, you’re still going to have an uphill battle, in regards to ranking with your other listings still ranking beside the bad ones. I would say your time is probably better spent just asking every single customer that comes in to leave a review, ask them how their service was, and really training your staff to make this a priority. Say “This is important to us. I know you guys have all worked hard. We want to guide you and be successful here. This is what we need to do.” I would say that’s likely going to be your best path forward, as opposed to starting over.

JM: A technique that we use is, because this will happen as we get franchisees that leave the network and new ones come in and take over the existing store, we really go after those best, loyal clients that come in and invite them to leave us a review, along with sending emails for surveys. Just kind of spreading the word kind of helps change things around because it has to be done organically and authentically. We can’t force them to leave the reviews, so it just it’s a timing thing, being patient with it and then over a period of time, it’s going to start to turn around. I know when clients look at recent reviews, they don’t go back more than two weeks and so, the more relevant the reviews are coming in, the better the service is going to be. Then over time, it’s going to have a better rating and ranking within Google. 

KT: Yeah, I’ve seen that a few times you’ll see the reviews shift pretty dramatically on a business and you can tell that there has been some change. Oftentimes, even if you ask for reviews and say, “how do you like our new management? Give us some feedback on Google about our new management,” then that trains users to start leaving reviews about the new management, which then tells potential consumers,  “Hey, let’s give this business a try. Even if we went there before and weren’t happy, let’s try it again because there’s some pretty positive feedback about the new management.”

AC: There are studies that show that the more recent reviews are more impactful than older ones, so there is that turnaround situation. Google has zero qualms about you reaching out and asking customers to share their experience online, they just don’t like you gating reviews at all. But in terms of just sending the positive folks who have good experience to GMB, ask everybody. Chances are, you’re doing a good job and you’re going to get really good reviews. 

KT: Actually, Google has actually started auto-populating Google posts that highlight your positive reviews. They create a graphic, but if for some reason you don’t like it, you can go create a very similar graphics just highlighting some of your positive reviews, despite your average review rating. Highlight some of your new recent reviews and even saying, “Hey, we have new management, check out some of our recent reviews or see what this person has to say,” and that’s another way to kind of combat your history.

What do you think should be top of Mind as an opportunity in healthcare marketing today?

RS: In most cases, we’re competing in a local or regional market. There are very few specialty hospitals out there that are getting this “destination medicine” where people are flying in from all over the country or world. So, in most cases you’re competing locally and when we start to come out and everybody’s hearing about “the digital front door,” people are looking online for those resources. Where patients used to just search for a physician online, it became “a physician near me,” and then “a physician near me with 5 stars”. Because of this, I think reviews and listing management are some of the primary ways that we could impact the patient experiences as they come in contact with our organizations. I would make sure that the information online is correct and that you own those listings and control them or monitor them and, and take this seriously that you have somebody that is partially dedicated to keeping up and making sure this is correct and that we’re responding to people online in a timely fashion. That goes outside of just reviews, obviously. There are people asking questions through private messages on Facebook or Instagram or whatever it may be, but it’s that community management piece you need and working within your local community to be a resource.

Should local managers have access to their listings? 

JM: Our strategy for SportClips is, yes. Local managers are probably going to be your most trusted team members at the local level–they got keys to the store, they got access to the register, so giving them access on a digital front is the next logical step. It does help with keeping, our strategies in place with review responding or posting on social channels. It may be that our local franchisee may not have time and so they delegate within their team so that someone’s going to have to do it, and the best resource to have is your local managers as well.

KT: I know that most corporate, when it’s not franchise-based, they don’t typically want managers having access because there are likely corporate guidelines when they respond to reviews or update data. But Google did just roll out the ability for anyone at the store to be added as a site manager without corporate’s say, so they can go in and remove them. But right now you don’t have to require corporate to add you to get access to the listing. So I feel like it’s likely a shift, both from Google’s standpoint, but also from corporate, and a lot of it has to do with reviews and images and some of the rich content that comes in. Quite honestly, if you’re at corporate, you’ve got a couple thousand locations that you may not be paying attention to, like a small store in the small town, but the manager still wants to be able to provide some of that information.

JM: It’s really having a structure in place as well at the corporate level and teaching down. It keeps us well organized and things don’t really get dropped down to the nitty-gritty, but it’s just at the organizational level because we do want to have our corporate branding and we want to make sure that we have the guidelines that were coming from corporate, but still have the authentic voice. That’s our main priority is that we don’t want to feel like a robot, that it is a local community, and those in the local community have access to those assets. 

I have found that when I had a suite number behind an address and GMB listing, it screws up the map. Is there a way around this?

KT: I hate suite numbers when it comes to submitting data to Google! I typically just remove them if there’s an error. It really doesn’t like if you’re submitting your data to a Maps platform–it’s trying to place a map pin and the suite number just doesn’t mean anything. So typically add it if you have complaints about users not being able to find you in a large shopping center. Otherwise, I think the suite number on Google’s are irrelevant, especially if you have signage and it’s pretty clear to find you.

What are some strategies brands can use to encourage their customers to share their positive experiences online? Do Yelp and Google allow you to ask for reviews?

RS: Yes, you can ask for reviews. Yelp doesn’t love that and so the idea of having like tablets sitting around in rooms is probably not the best idea, especially from a Yelp standpoint. But I think having a way of reaching out is important because, in healthcare specifically, that when you’re given a CAHPS or HCAHPS survey, there’s been such a long span between what you’ve experienced and when you’re getting this formalized survey that it serves a couple of purposes. With Google, it gives you more real-time feedback and certainly, you would think with the more that you’re doing and the more you’re asking, you’re going to get more positive reviews.

AC: It’s always important to understand the content guidelines of each platform. So I understand what Yelp prohibits and what they allow, Google, Facebook, and others (Vitals, Healthgrades in the healthcare setting) but it really touched on something with regards to the registration and capturing and getting consent to communicate with the patients. It’s important to have that, because it allows you to do further email marketing and also, potentially, even texting the customers, asking them for patients and asking them to leave a review or share their experience. So, sometimes we just think of these things as a marketing initiative, but it actually impacts operations and you have to make sure that you’re dotting all your I’s Crossing all your T’s as it relates to obtaining that data and getting consent from the patient and working with your colleagues in the other service line, either in your facility or within your practice. 

JM: One of the practices that we do is we have many redirects that go specifically to the stores, a Google listing or Facebook page where they’re going to leave a review because when you tell a client, “Hey, would you mind leaving us a review?” They’d have to go to log in with a Google account. What we do that it makes it really easy is give a link that takes you directly to the Google review sites and clients can just go in there and leave the review real quick. So we’ve done like, you know tips and tricks that you can leave that Bitly link on the back of a business card and hand it out to clients if they’re walking on the way out, asking them to leave us a review, or even capture our clients as they’re first coming in and sitting down, waiting to get a haircut, knowing that client is already a regular. So while they’re waiting for those 5 to 10 minutes before a haircut, they can just go ahead and leave the review and they know exactly where the URL is to go to.

To get more insights from our panel of experts, watch the full presentation here.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 14, 2019

Ask an Expert: What PHI Concerns Exist in Healthcare Reputation Management?

By: Kayla Zamary

In this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about healthcare reputation management. In this post, Mark Beckmeyer, Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security, tackles questions related to PHI Concerns in healthcare reputation management. What constitutes PHI? PHI stands for Protected Health Information. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability…

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healthcare phi

In this series, Binary Fountain offers its staff expertise to answer common questions about healthcare reputation management.

In this post, Mark Beckmeyer, Binary Fountain’s Director of IT Security, tackles questions related to PHI Concerns in healthcare reputation management.

What constitutes PHI?

PHI stands for Protected Health Information. In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law, in large part designed to protect an individual’s health information while still allowing the necessary transparency for optimal care.

PHI comprises of two primary data elements, the first of which is a personal identifier. This personal identifier may be a name, social security number, address, phone number, or anything else that falls into one of the 18 identifiers under HIPAA regulations. The other piece of data that makes up PHI can be one of three things: payment (i.e. billing information), treatment (actions performed by medical providers), or operations (what allows a provider to provide services, like marketing or legal actions).

At Binary Fountain, we primarily deal with the treatment component (as well as a personal identifier) of PHI when monitoring a provider’s online presence. If a patient entrusts this type of information to a healthcare provider or third party, it is considered PHI. However, if the patient provides the information via a social media post or review, there is no expectation of privacy, and therefore this does not constitute PHI.

What determines whether PHI should be edited vs removed outright?

To comply with HIPAA regulations, a provider might be legally obligated to edit or remove PHI that is posted publicly. But PHI is not the only type of information a provider might want removed from public view for the sake of their online reputation management. Comments containing profanity or a strong tone might be filtered out, as well as comments regarding legal actions. 

How much of the responsibility to remove PHI rests on the provider vs the platform it is posted to?

This depends on which entity provided which services that led to the publication of PHI on the platform. A healthcare provider is legally considered a covered entity, while a service provider like Binary Fountain is a business associate. In some cases, the onus might be solely on the covered entity or the associate to remove the information, or it might rest on both entities depending on the services provided. For example, if a business associate distributes and receives survey information on behalf of a healthcare provider, it may be up to said associate to scrub any PHI that gets leaked to the public.

How should providers go about removing PHI?

If a healthcare provider does not have the in-house resources to monitor and act upon PHI, it is beneficial to hire a service provider that can handle the removal of PHI and other aspects of healthcare reputation management. A provider like Binary Fountain uses both automated and manual processes and filters to ensure that processed information is thoroughly scrubbed of PHI, profanity, tone, etc.

Who within an organization has the responsibility to identify PHI and do something about it?

Most healthcare institutions delegate the responsibility to identify PHI to a security and privacy officer. Ideally, two individuals would fulfill each role, though they may be fulfilled by one person in smaller healthcare centers with fewer resources.

What are the consequences of not handling PHI issues correctly?

There are a number of consequences, both legal and reputation-related, that can result from mishandling PHI. The individual who had his or her PHI leaked must be notified of the breach as soon as possible. For mass breaches, government entities like Health and Human Services (HHS) may have to get involved. The HHS website lists the current ongoing PHI breaches (there are approximately 2,000 open reported cases for public viewing at the moment).

Any covered entity or business associate who ends up on this list may see additional adverse effects on their business and reputation. Patients and physicians may lose trust in a healthcare provider that allowed PHI to enter the public, while providers may not want to associate with a business that leaked PHI or other damaging information. An all-encompassing reputation management strategy is crucial for not only preventing a PHI breach in the first place, but also crafting a proper response to any mistakes on behalf of a healthcare provider.

What are some basic best practices for responding to reviews with PHI?

Patients should be very careful with their PHI and never disclose it publicly or to an entity that lacks the expectation of privacy. However, phishing schemes, nonchalant attitude, and/or outright ignorance leads many people to reveal their PHI openly. This information may end up on a website or social media profile attached to a healthcare provider in the form of a review or comment.

If this occurs, the covered entity or business associate tasked with responding to reviews should seek legal counsel to determine whether or not the comment and their reply constitute as PHI or public information. When responding to a patient review or inquiry via a private channel, the entity must ensure that the proper online safeguards are in place, such as encryption. The more precautions in place, the better, both in terms of legal compliance and reputation management.

 

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 13, 2019

How to Use Customer Reviews in Your Marketing

By: Kayla Zamary

As consumers, we base many of our decisions and opinions on the behaviors of others around us. If people are lining up at a coffee shop or retail store, we might feel more inclined to join the crowd in fear of missing out on something.  This phenomenon is known as social proof, and it can…

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customer reviewAs consumers, we base many of our decisions and opinions on the behaviors of others around us. If people are lining up at a coffee shop or retail store, we might feel more inclined to join the crowd in fear of missing out on something. 

This phenomenon is known as social proof, and it can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses. 

Social proof can come in many forms. Sometimes we rely on crowds to inform our purchasing decisions, as in the example given above. On other occasions, consumers go with what an expert or other authoritative figure has to say about a business. But these days, the most common and powerful type of social proof revolves around online user reviews and ratings. 

Consumers now have Google and other healthcare review sites at their fingertips, and they want to know what real customers like them think about their product or services before deciding to take the next step. In fact, 85% of consumers will trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation, according to a 2017 BrightLocal consumer survey.

With all of this access to customer sentiment, it should come as no surprise that prospective customers expect more from businesses than ever before. 

Customer reviews and ratings help online users quickly determine how well a business stacks up in these and other areas. And when a user conducts a search including the words “best” or “top,” Google only shows businesses with a 4.0 star rating or above. 

So, as a marketer, focusing on social proof and reputation management is vital for attracting new customers.

How to Incorporate Social Proof

Above all else, your business must earn its social proof by providing a great patient experience. But the true power of social proof comes from spreading the message of your strong reputation so others can see it. 

Here are three ways to incorporate social proof in your online brand promotion efforts.

  1. Maintaining Your Google My Business (GMB) Listings

Keeping your Google My Business listings up to date for every location your manage is essential for acquiring new leads and maintaining consumer trust. If even one element of a GMB listing is inaccurate, broken, or outdated, you may lose a potential customer and damage your reputation by providing incorrect information. Make sure your name, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP) for each location are accurate, and that all links to your website, social media pages, landing pages, etc. work properly.

To learn more about developing a local listing management strategy, click here.

  1. Get More Reviews and Respond to Each One

Your online reviews will often serve as the initial gateway for a potential new patient. The more positive online reviews you have, the stronger your business’ social proof. 

Not every review is bound to be completely positive, though. Still, the more reviews your business acquires, the better, as Google and other review sites will rank your business higher in search results for having more customer engagement.

And as it turns out, even negative reviews can enhance your social standing if you manage and respond to them properly. After all, online users do not only read patient reviews but also your responses. 

If your response seems genuine, helpful, and self-aware, many users will think more highly of your business. So, while your aim should be to increase positive online reviews, increasing your number of reviews overall can enhance your social proof.

  1. Incorporate Star Ratings into Your Web Pages

Reviews and rankings are helpful in establishing social proof in their own right. But the quality of these reviews matters, too. As mentioned earlier, consumers will often rely on authoritative voices when making a decision. 

With Binary Fountain’s Star Ratings feature, you can publish trusted and verified ratings and reviews from surveys to your web pages. These Star Ratings can help boost your website’s Google rankings and increase customer engagement and acquisition.

Use a Reputation Management Solution to Make it Easy

When it comes down to it, your brand’s online reputation is now its strongest form of social proof. Utilizing a reputation management solution like Binary Fountain allows you to manage all aspects of your online presence from a single dashboard, including your GMB listings, reviews and responses, Star Ratings and Surveys, and more.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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August 08, 2019

Onboarding Physicians to Reputation Management

By: Kayla Zamary

Reputation management is becoming increasingly important for healthcare providers – in fact, 70% of healthcare consumers say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician. People at every level of the organization, from the front desk to the medical staff to executives in the C-suite, are learning that a commitment…

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onboarding physiciansReputation management is becoming increasingly important for healthcare providers – in fact, 70% of healthcare consumers say online ratings and review sites have influenced their decision when selecting a physician.

People at every level of the organization, from the front desk to the medical staff to executives in the C-suite, are learning that a commitment to excellence in patient experience, as reflected in positive reviews, is the key.

At Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in Spartanburg, South Carolina, instruction in reputation management policies and practice is so important that onboarding physicians is part of day one training. Recently, we discussed this with Mary Reid, RN, senior physician development consultant with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

What are the basics of the Reputation Management training process for new physicians?

It starts on the physician’s first day working here, alongside other typical first day presentations:  welcome, payroll, email, operating policies and so on. Our marketing VP reviews the patient experience and presents on the service recovery process. The physicians receive and review the hospital’s complaints and grievances policies and procedures. We introduce Binary Fountain and how it works for Spartanburg; for example, how we ask every patient to complete a post-appointment survey.

Does the presentation go into detail about how negative reviews are handled?

Yes, we describe how practice managers review surveys, and pass on negative reviews to the marketing department, and that the physician will have a chance to work with any complaining patient. We hammer home to the physicians how important it is that our patients have good experiences.

This isn’t meant to scare them; we explain that survey information empowers the physician to turn negative experiences into more positive ones. Unresolved negative reviews are handled promptly as grievances. The physician would quickly learn about any related to them from management, and receive guidance on how to work with the patient to turn the experience around.

Do they learn what to do if they encounter a negative review on a third-party site like Healthgrades or ZocDoc, or on social media?

We instruct all physicians and other practice staffers to alert the marketing department if they see a negative review on social media, rather than have the doctor respond directly on social media.

What is the typical physician response to the reputation management training?

Most everyone responds positively – they arrive here understanding how important this is. Many of our physicians come directly from residency, and this is not their first time hearing about reputation management.

Does their age make them more comfortable with the technology and the online experience?

Yes, our younger physicians are definitely comfortable with it! They probably have written reviews of their own as customers.

Is there follow up with the physician?

Yes, we visit each of our practices monthly, and we take time to talk with physicians about reputation management. That’s a time to celebrate good reviews and improved results together.

Want to learn more about how providers and physicians can improve the overall patient care experience? Download our latest whitepaper “Improving the Patient Experience: A 360-Degree Review of All Patient Touchpoints” here.

About the Author

Kayla Zamary
Marketing Manager

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