There are no dirty little secrets, not anymore.

With the onslaught and proliferation of social media platforms, dating websites, and recommendations being more than just something one gets from a neighbor or a friend, the opinions of others have become a valuable commodity. The problem is human nature.

For example, if you go to a movie and the theatre is filthy and the screen is scratched, and there is no ice in your soda, you have a negative experience. And it is not that you don’t want other people to have that same experience; the problem is that you feel owed for the inherent loss you feel at being robbed of a good experience. You take it online, and put the theatre on blast.

Battling Human Nature

Digital marketing agencies are desperate to offer services that combat human nature. It is almost as ridiculous as it sounds: reputation management. It was called “spinning,” then “damage control.” But just as it has softened everything and made everything more palatable, the accessibility the connectivity affords us is not always used for good. “Reputation management” is what we call it now, and you can pay someone to manage your online presence, monitor your reviews and ratings, and remove those less than satisfactory.

The price of reputation management is negotiable but almost always a higher-end service. Monitoring platforms 24-7, if done by humans and not by automated bots, is costly. Of course, now there are programs that businesses can purchase that completely delete anything negative that makes it online. Forget about moving the poor reviews down, they will delete them completely. As a player in the digital marketing arena, we asked if we wanted to offer this kind of service. Sure, it is profitable, but is it ethical?

In truth, reputation management is counter-offensive. Statistics show that if 100 people receive a service, 15 will post about a negative experience, while only 11 will post about a positive experience. So, 15 were unhappy, and 11 were happy, what about the other 84 people?

The 84 people are the patients that truly matter regarding reputation management – and they aren’t saying anything. Reputation management focuses on just over 10 percent of consumers but charges as if they were reaching out to all 100. The battle is not against the 11, the battle is against human nature.

Performing at 100

There is a solution and Caledon Virtual knows what it is, and we can tell you how to do it. We call it perception management, and we believe it starts the moment the patient walks in the door. It is a shift in mindset from believing that the end product is all that matters. The entire process matters, in fact, we will just say it: the overall experience is what the other 84 are considering. So, to perform at 100, reputation management would logically tell you that you need a baseline when it comes to patient satisfaction. We don’t buy that, and you shouldn’t either.

Good reviews and high ratings are beneficial.

People do their research when it comes to making a non-essential or elective purchase. Of course, they are looking you up. If you have five solid stars on every social platform out there, then someone is lying because no practice is perfect, therefore reputations cannot be managed. But perception can, and perception is a major component of reputation. Caledon Virtual chooses to focus on perception management because it allows for conversations and communication throughout the entire process… with all 100 patients.

So how do you get there? How do you go about managing perception?

The same way you go about managing your practice: systems, organization, communication. Here are some concepts that you can easily implement into your practice that will boost perception:

  • Communicate with your patient every step of the way. It is easy when they are in the office, but what about calling to “check in?” Reaching out to them with a text after consultation or sending them an electronic thank you card enhances their perception of your practice and they feel connected.
  • Observe and ask questions. Many people give themselves away with body language. If your patient is crossing their arms or leaning away during conversations, there might be something bothering them. Open that dialogue now to keep it off the net later.
  • Make sure your entire practice staff is on board with your perception management plan. In-service training on the big picture of mindfulness and courtesy is available from Caledon Virtual.
  • Create a work environment that your employees enjoy. If they love what they do, that joy extends to the patients and they will love coming to see you. Drive professionalism with high standards that complement both the expertise and the servant’s heart that come with being in medicine.

As you can tell, by now, Caledon Virtual’s plan for enhanced perception has little to do with spinning or damage control and everything to do with warming the patient experience so that should a problem arise, the patient feels confident enough to speak with your staff or you about it at the time, and not on the internet.

To find out more about Caledon Virtual’s perception management strategy, contact us today for a free consultation.