A patient that doesn’t like her diagnosis. A drug addict angry that his prescription was refused. A Medical Assistant terminated for inappropriate office behavior. Any of these people, says Reputation Advocate, can use the Internet as a tool for revenge. Doctors are at a particular high risk for these types of attacks because of their visibility and sensitive nature of their work.
The Internet has made it easy to remain faceless behind a computer screen while offering up accusations against those in the medical community. This is especially problematic for doctors, as most patients consult online reviews before switching physicians. According to the team at Reputation Advocate, there are now dozens of popular sites where patients can submit reviews. Many of these require no actual evidence that the reviewer actually visited the office or doctor in question, making these websites unreliable when it comes to providing accurate and honest information.
Reputation Advocate believes that physicians have the right to portray their practice online the way they run it in person – with integrity. Unfortunately, because of the power of anonymous comments, doctors don’t always have the opportunity to showcase their talents and skills. This is troublesome not only for the service provider but for the patients who may be missing out on the skills they need to reclaim their health – all as a result of the doctor’s damaged online reputation.
So, how is a medical professional supposed to protect him- or herself against false reviews? It isn’t easy, acknowledges Reputation Advocate. Some doctors have tried requiring patients to sign an agreement barring them from sharing an opinion online, either positive or negative. While this might appear to be a great solution, the anonymity of the Internet makes it nearly impossible to enforce. It is also a strategy that can backfire since no reviews online is almost as bad as negative ones in the eyes of most search engine users.
As noted in several articles published by the Online Reputation Management experts at Reputation Advocate, brand monitoring is the single most important thing a doctor can do to protect him- or herself from negative attacks. This is a time consuming task but one that is well worth the effort. Keeping tabs on one’s digital brand – which for doctors is their name or the name of the practice – allows the practice owner to know what’s being said. It also offers the opportunity to balance the scales by promoting positive and more accurate content, allowing patients to get a better first impression even before they set foot in the office for their first visit.
Angry ex-employees or customers are often eager to discuss their displeasure online. Too often to count, the team at ReputationAdvocate.com has seen such individuals share their frustrations on social media or write a sharply critical review on one of the popular consumer review sites. And, while many business owners and managers might consider mounting a defense on these public forums, ReputationAdvocate.com says that it is often difficult – even problematic – to overcome the bad publicity.
This problem is exacerbated in the medical community. As our team at ReputationAdvocate.com has found, consumer reviews of physicians are available on hundreds of online sites, including Yelp, Google Plus and other mainstream sites. Other niche-specific sites like Doctors.com and RateMDs.com also house such information. ReputationAdvocate.com also notes that many reviewers remain anonymous or don’t include their full names. When doctors who oppose physician-review commentary have required their patients to sign documents agreeing not to publish comments about their services online, our ReputationAdvocate.com team has also seen this tactic backfire.
ReputationAdvocate.com believes that anonymous online opinions should receive a complete examination from users, and should never be the sole source of details about a current or prospective physician. Many physicians are now subject to crowdsourced reviews, just as practitioners in other industries have been. Every day, the team at ReputationAdvocate.com examines the enormous risk posed by a negative review – simply because a patient disagrees with the diagnosis or prescription. Physicians’ refusals may sometimes result in a bad review, but ReputationAdvocate.com advises that this commentary could be inaccurate and misleading.
ReputationAdvocate.com has also found that physicians are increasingly becoming the focus of consumer reviews. We are of the mind that physician-review sites need to provide more meaningful details in order to maintain their authority.
On most sites, ReputationAdvocate.com has not seen clearly delineated lists of standards. Some sites will charge a small fee for users to peruse physician reviews. And sites that use checkmarks, letter grades and stars are not always clear about what these values mean. ZocDoc.com, for example, offers more than just user reviews. Patients have the ability to schedule appointments on the site with physicians who pay for listings. Only patients who make appointments with the given physician are allowed to share reviews. ReputationAdvocate.com has also seen where patients are encouraged to consider topics such as waiting times and bedside manner in their analysis.
If you perform a Google search about online reputation management, you’re likely to find an overwhelming amount of advice, leading you in a thousand different directions. The team at ReputationAdvocate.com offers the capability to develop a strategy in terms of online management tailored to your particular business and what it has to offer.
ReputationAdvocate.com is a proponent of the idea that the first results a person sees after a Google search of your business should empower him or her to make a purchasing decision. As a business owner or manager, you have the ability to develop content that is positive and helpful. Since most Google users (99 percent, in fact) only scroll through the first page of search results, this should include an accurate, honest, and transparent reflection of your business products and services.
By monitoring brand mentions on social media profiles and review forums, the team at ReputationAdvocate.com can assist your business in attracting both return customers and new prospects. Learning about this feedback can set the course for future events. Quite simply, ReputationAdvocate.com challenges business owners to consider that while maintaining engagement on all of these digital assets may seem daunting, it’s becoming a necessity for all businesses. The team at ReputationAdvocate.com points out that this holds especially true for businesses in sensitive or controversial industries, and for professionals in the medical and health care fields.
Steven C. Wyer has ridden out many economic storms over thirty five years of business. As the owner of several successful businesses, Steven C. Wyer has worked with banks, clients and independent contractors to navigate credit lines, debt to income ratios and account receivables. Steven C. Wyer began his professional career working for CNA Insurance. As he expanded his underwriters for estate planning insurance products, Steven C. Wyer built a successful General Agency by aggressively managing growth and matching it with agency receivables.
Steven C. Wyer took this early experience and applied the same disciplines later when he started Wyer Creative Communications. Initially, Steven C. Wyer allowed the firm to establish itself through self funded liquidity. Growth demanded more flexibility and after considering options, Steven C. Wyer selected a working relationship with SunTrust Capital based in Atlanta, Georgia. Steven C. Wyer initially worked through local channels however as growth increased, Steven C. Wyer had account services transferred to Atlanta. Steven C. Wyer negotiated a mezzanine debt structure utilizing subordinated debt instruments coupled with a flexible working line of credit. This allowed Steven C. Wyer to access growth capital as the business expanded.
Steven C. Wyer again utilized these same approaches as the founder of a private firm focused on acquisition of delinquent consumer debt. By negotiating performance based contracts with vendors, Steven C. Wyer no longer required working lines of credit for growth. Vendor compensation was addressed based on performance only fees. Steven C. Wyer managed fourteen such vendors as the business grew. Steven C. Wyer did not utilize leverage to fund the business. By managing receivables and overhead the business grew without the burden of debt.
His latest venture, Reputation Advocate; founded in 2006, has again harnessed the discipline of cash flow management. As a flatter and more nimble organization, Steven C. Wyer acts as Managing Director for the firm. Steven C. Wyer relies on the skill of partners in managing receivables and payables. While this methodology has limited growth to some degree, the more tenuous nature of the current economy demands a different approach to funding.
Steven C. Wyer views growth differently in the current economy. Bigger is not better, it is simply bigger. Size does not equate to profitability and Steven C. Wyer knows this well. Living in a high growth industry on a cash flow basis may require the loss of some business opportunities however Steven C. Wyer stays the course between liquidity, growth and discipline.