Keeping up with the consumer: 5 insights on heeding feedback, boosting reputation score

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When making purchasing decisions, consumers increasingly rely on online reviews, particularly through Google, a trend that has extended into healthcare. Although healthcare executives recognize this trend, most are struggling to take advantage of the opportunity.

During a June webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Reputation, two executives from Reputation, a leading marketing and patient experience platform, shared results from a recent consumer survey and offered insights into how healthcare organizations can respond to consumer trends. The presenters were: 

  • Annie Haarmann, Head of Strategy and Consulting, Healthcare and Life Sciences
  • Celine Patterson, Healthcare Strategy and Consulting Manager

Five key takeaways from the webinar: 

  1. Although patients say online reviews are extremely important in selecting a provider, most providers have no reviews. After a provider's location and whether they accept the patient's insurance, consumers rate online reviews as the third most important factor when selecting a provider. However, 50 percent of healthcare facilities and 65 percent of physicians have zero online reviews.

    "This is a massive disconnect between what consumers want and what healthcare is delivering," Ms. Haarmann said. "The good news is that since the industry has not leaned into third-party reviews, this is low-hanging fruit that can lead to success." 

 

  1. Reputation score heavily affects conversion rate. Top healthcare performers in Reputation's survey excel in sentiment, visibility and engagement, receiving 232 percent more reviews than laggards.

    "The reputation score has proven to be a really meaningful key metric," Ms. Patterson said. "We found that physicians with strong reputation scores experienced 540 percent more conversions, and healthcare organizations with high reputation score have 1,290 percent more conversions on their Google My Business listing than those with a [lower] reputation score."

 

  1. Google will continue intercepting consumers before they arrive at a provider website. About 82 percent of consumers use online reviews to choose a healthcare organization, with nearly half of millennials using Google reviews to find a provider. GMB generates results using maps, search and reviews.

    "The single most important factor when it comes to your organic search results is where you appear in a Google search," Ms. Haarmann said. "Consumers are going to be taken down a path to a conversion opportunity before they ever get to your website."

 

  1. Creating a better consumer experience starts with listening to consumers. Healthcare providers and organizations need to first listen to consumers and use digital feedback to improve the patient experience.

    "Marketing is monitoring Facebook feedback, but those who can resolve the issue are in the call center," Ms. Haarmann said. "This handoff has to happen."

    After this initial listening phase, organizations need to focus on preventing problems, and finally, identifying big-picture patterns.

    "This is where you see marketing, analytics and patient experience come together around a single consumer experience," Ms. Haarmann said.

 

  1. Healthcare organizations must prepare for the future by structuring data. Technology companies are forcing the hand of traditional healthcare organizations, facilitating a more retail-like consumer experience. Healthcare players must structure their data to take advantage of future GMB search fields. For example, COVID-19 has made waiting room policies, virtual visit availability and availability of testing important search fields.

    "First and foremost, you want your data to be accurate," Ms. Haarmann said. "If traditional healthcare wants to continue to compete, they're going to need to be 'shoppable.'"

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