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Increasingly, health establishments (grouping of hospitals, private clinics, care centres, retirement homes, nursing homes, etc.), as well as professionals in the medical sector (general practitioners, specialist physicians, medical practices, surgeons, teachers, etc.), see their activity strongly impacted by the quality of their e-reputation. In the question: negative opinions and comments which are popping up everywhere on the web and seriously damaging the reputation of health establishments and actors. And the consequences are as numerous as they are disastrous: drop-in activity and attendance, patient confidence level in free fall, even going as far as the closure of the establishment or the end of a professional career… The situation has become so worrying that last September, the National Council of the Order of Physicians launched a guide dedicated to managing the e-reputation of actors in the medical sector.

To date, the main vehicle for e-reputation for professionals in the medical sector is Google My Business. The sheet provides a pool of fascinating information for those who want to form an opinion on a professional or a health establishment: address, telephone number, photos, opinions, notes, questions/answers... Their content plays a capital role in the final decision-making of Internet users: to consult or not to consult a particular doctor or practitioner / to go or not to go to a particular hospital, practice or clinic.

But Google My Business is by definition out of control, which makes it look dangerous. Indeed, the creation and promotion of a My Business listing depend on the goodwill of Google, and many professionals suffer from it daily.

In this article, we offer you a quick overview of the impact of the Internet on professionals and establishments in the medical sector and highlights the main difficulties encountered by the latter. We will also give you an overview of the different solutions that exist to manage your Google My Business profile better and protect your e-reputation as a whole. Let's go!

E-reputation applied to the medical sector.

Let's start by making a little recap of what e-reputation really is and what it implies when applied to the health sector.

The e-reputation is none other than the digital identity, built through all the elements present on the internet about a natural or legal person. In short, e-reputation today boils down to what Google says about you. It is even more correct for the health sector to say that your e-reputation is almost reduced to what is said on Google My Business.

To illustrate these words, Bertrand Girin, co-founder of the Semji agency and expert in e-reputation, recently interviewed La Croix. He notably mentions the difficulty for a professional to dereference a Google My Business listing. Indeed, even if the poor opinions left by patients and Internet users are totally illegitimate and unfounded, freedom of expression generally prevails over the rest, except in exceptional cases (denigration, defamation, insult). In his speech, Bertrand Girin also highlights the growing importance of the role to be played by web cleaners with professionals and medical establishments.

The Medecin Ereputation cross

Why does the internet directly impact healthcare professionals?

The Internet is a real mine of information and allows everyone to form an idea about a company, a subject, news... But this “free speech” has a severe impact on the daily life of health professionals who are struggling. Often to restore their image once their e-reputation is tarnished.

Internet users have a multitude of “places” at their fingertips to express themselves and do not hesitate to a crackdown. Confronted every day with the reality on the ground, our e-reputation experts unanimously note a new trend: that of having to defend companies whose e-reputation is soiled by user reviews, often under the guise of pseudonyms, false profiles or anonymity ...

We can classify negative reviews into three categories:

  • gratuitous and unjustified attacks. They most often come from competitors who seek to destabilize you, or quite simply from ill-intentioned people ...
  • The negative comments greatly amplified compared to reality. For example, some Internet users do not hesitate to leave a comment of the type “Doctor who is always 2 hours late” when in reality, the doctor is rather 15 minutes late. These small hazards during appointments are also widespread and in no way call into question the doctor's skills in question.
  • Comments that had some truth before but no longer reflect the truth today. The past of an establishment can be really handicapping for its present and its future. In the case of an office made up of several dental technicians, it suffices for one of them to suffer from a bad reputation for the entire office to be impacted. If the dental technician personally affected by this bad reputation leaves the practice, unfortunately, the negative opinions remain and are still considered current in Internet users ...

In a previous article, Semji reported on the health professionals most affected by e-reputation concerns. Doctors, dentists, surgeons and anaesthetists are the first concerned, but all professionals and establishments belonging to the health / medical sector are unfortunately the most affected, just after restaurants.

Business impact assessment

Source: Bright Local

Google My Business: # 1 place for negative reviews

This e-reputation vector is undoubtedly the most important. And for a good reason: the Google My Business associated with a person or a company is displayed at the top right of the SERP, following a mostly informational request.

In the context of a healthcare establishment, the request generally corresponds to “name + location”.

As for a request aimed at finding a healthcare professional in your area, it generally comes down to “specialization sought + location” or directly “doctor + name” when the latter is known.

Why is the Google My Business e-reputation difficult to work on?

Very important for your e-reputation, the Google My Business listing is nonetheless difficult to manage.

Here are the main elements that make Google My Business an e-reputation channel to be understood with care:

  • Respond to negative comments: Many sites and professionals advise responding to negative comments. According to them, this attitude shows a real consideration of the opinion of Internet users by the company, along with a desire to improve to meet expectations. But at Semji, we have understood from experience that this practice is a double-edged sword. These comments must therefore be qualified. Why? Because responding to negative comments brings up “bad reviews” and gives them importance, so much so that they are considered to be the most relevant. Quoting the name of the establishment or professional in response to the bad comment is also a criterion of relevance in the eyes of Google. Therefore, you have every chance of seeing the negative review in question rank in the Top 3 of the most relevant reviews.

Do you really want to put coins back in the jukebox to listen to music you don't like? Not sure… It is, therefore, important to consider the response to a negative comment on a case-by-case basis.
Capture Comment Private hospital

  • The rise of mobile and local search: in 2018, the Digital Barometer estimated that 94% of French people were equipped with a mobile phone and that 3 out of 4 people had a smartphone. Google has understood that the mobile is taking more and more place in the daily life of the French, to such an extent that it has become the number one channel for traffic to websites.

To provide the best browsing experience, Google highlights the My Business page, which contains all the important information on the healthcare professional or the establishment sought. If this sheet presents a bad general rating, except 3 negative opinions put forward, difficult to make a good impression ...

Mobile is used more and more for local searches, which generate many visits to physical places. In other words, a bad image on Google My Business deprives professionals and healthcare establishments of many patients who are nearby… Too bad!

 

Google Result Clinic

 

The credit is given to the opinions of Internet users: Today, the trust given to users' feedback is far greater than that given to what a person or a company says about itself.

While these examples illustrate purchasing behaviour, those related to obtaining information from a medical / health perspective are similar.

Here is an example of a hospital that has a bad general rating and which also suffers from a bad e-reputation via the “questions/answers” ​​part, highlighted in the Google My Business page just below the address :

Capture Google Private Hospital

  • The formal ban on advertising in the medical sector: Within the medical sector, advertising is not allowed. This act is quite simply an infringement of the public health code. Make the promotion of the services of a surgeon plastic like that of a “classic” product or service is simply unthinkable. The health of individuals is directly affected, no place for marketing here. A telling example is a highly publicized nutritionist who was questioned for his self-promotion made on the site https://savoirmaigrir.fr/. The one and only “advertisement” about a professional or a healthcare establishment come directly from the patients who attend them and, by extension, from their opinions left on the internet and Google My Business. So, as much as the feedback put forward is positive.

The problem: the reviews considered to be “the most relevant” by the algorithm on which Google operates are not necessarily the most relevant in reality. This notion of relevance is very arbitrary. Despite everything, your e-reputation depends on what Google decides to show about you ...

A physical address = a Google My Business listing

The creation of a Google My Business listing can perfectly be at the professional or the healthcare establishment initiative. But be aware that Google itself generates listings from the moment a business is listed as existing at a physical address. One of the eligibility criteria for creating a My Business file is the possibility of physical contact between the establishment of the healthcare professional and his patient base. The objective is to provide the best possible guidance for Internet users, particularly in local search. But this also implies an obligation to manage this file and the comments. Difficult to manage a file whose existence we do not know ...

Whether or not you want to appear on the internet as a professional does not matter, Google. The fact is that you are there! Google does not yet have the faculty of distinguishing the true from the false, nor to evaluate if a negative comment is really justified or not. This, therefore, forces everyone to manage their e-reputation ...

Online review platforms and forums: important channels for your e-reputation

If Google My Business alone builds most of the e-reputation of doctors, practitioners, hospitals and clinics, other channels also convey information about you, and that should not be overlooked.

Online review platforms

More and more numerous and consulted, these platforms play a vital role in constructing e-reputation among a health professional. We mainly find Yelp.com, a general platform that includes many topics fed daily around professionals and healthcare establishments.

Doctor Paris Capture

As for the Choisunmedecin.com site, it offers a search tool to find specialists around you, but also to evaluate them and leave opinions!

Forums

Before choosing a health professional or an establishment to turn to, the Internet user often relies on the opinions given on forums. Among the most consulted, we find http://www.doctissimo.fr/ and https://www.quechoisir.org/, two forums on which bad opinions and negative reviews fuse very quickly.

Because of their traffic and their notoriety, these 2 sites have a strong tendency to position themselves among the first results on the SERP… And to offer bad comments good visibility!

Capture doctissimo

It does not matter where the negative opinions come from: they have a direct and significant financial impact on the activity of the doctor, hospital practitioner or health establishment. Are you wondering how to assess the financial losses due to a bad e-reputation? If there isn't a dedicated calculation method for the medical industry, the fact that one bad review scares off 30 customers can already give you a glimpse of its impact on your patients.

On the other hand, Moz conducted a study highlighting the disastrous consequences of negative reviews on a company's business. Dan Hinckley tells us that their “research also found that businesses could lose up to 22% of their customers when a single negative item is found by users who are considering purchasing their product. If three negative articles appear in the search results, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2%. At least four negative articles about your business or product appear in Google search results? You risk losing 70% of your potential customers. “

To help you counter these negative opinions and content, our agency mainly uses two techniques to build you a digital fortress :

  • Produce positive content around your brand, intended to take precedence over the negatives and improve your image with Internet users;
  • Losing visibility and therefore importance to bad reviews by relegating them to the 2nd or 3rd page.

Professionals and healthcare establishments: what solutions to preserve your e-reputation on Google My Business?

If it is impossible to guard against negative opinions and comments because no one can claim to master the internet, there are, however, several methods to rectify the situation and try to preserve as much as possible its e-reputation.

Daily and permanent watch

Staying on top of what is being said about you is essential! To help you carry out this monitoring, tools exist. You can, for example, turn to Google Alerts, Alerti, Feedly ...

Despite the support, admittedly very useful, of these various tools, carrying out this mission correctly requires constant attention.

Request to delete negative reviews

Following a bad comment or an inappropriate review on your Google My Business listing, it is possible to make a report to Google to request their removal. For Google to respond favourably to your removal request, it must be justified. The notice must meet one of these criteria:

  • defamatory,
  • offensive,
  • spam,
  • pub,
  • off-topic,
  • in conflict of interest,
  • inciting hatred or violence ...

A priori, this verification is the object of human action and can therefore take time ... While waiting for the deletion - when this is possible - the comment remains given all.

Semi offers a service to protect you from negative reviews on Google My Business. You can find out more by visiting this page on managing Google My Business reviews.

Request to delete the Google My Business listing

The drastic solution, but to say the least effective, deleting your Google My Business can be considered if it has too many bad reviews that harm the doctor or the healthcare establishment daily.

Be careful, though, because deletion is not always possible! Google reserves the right to keep or delete a page, probably because of the massive use of this technique to remove bad reviews. If the deletion is accepted, it can take up to 6 months to go through Google support. By calling on Semji, this period can be reduced to 48 hours.

Bury negative results

Another technique is to collect positive reviews so that the Google My Business listing gives a good image and negative reviews are relegated to the background. But it takes time, and once again: the outcome is not up to you. Likewise, negative reviews do not disappear and continue to impact your rating negatively.

Burying negative results takes time and requires deploying a lot of technical and human resources. The financial cost is also skyrocketing, and the achievement of convincing results remains quite uncertain ...

To master and manage your e-reputation as well as possible, unparalleled responsiveness is required. As soon as a negative opinion or comment appears, it is essential to act as quickly as possible. The challenge is to limit the visibility of this publication: first of all, with your current patient population, who could quickly lose confidence and turn to another professional, but also with future patients who would immediately give up the idea of going home as soon as you read the comment.

Why use an e-reputation agency?

Faced with a reality shared by more and more professionals and the risks of e-reputation, the Order of Physicians has decided to react and come to the aid of victims of bad opinions and comments. Through a practical guide that offers invaluable advice to minimize the effects of a “bad” e-reputation, the Order of Physicians tries to help health professionals better manage this situation, sometimes dramatic. But applying these tips takes time.

Even if it has the merit of existing, the legal and legal framework does not provide a satisfactory and rapid response to health professionals. It is insufficient to protect them from Internet overflows. Why? Because the steps to take to remove an illegitimate negative opinion and/or one that violates the rules set out by law are long, tedious ... and do not necessarily succeed!

Rather than taking the risk of suffering a double failure (waste of time + no results), turning to an agency specializing in e-reputation management is the most effective alternative.

Our e-reputation solutions are based on a real technical basis and allow you to deploy several actions around your Google My Business listing, with the possibility of starting it from scratch. This implies the rapid disappearance of all opinions, both positive and negative, and therefore the possibility for you to rebuild an e-reputation on a healthy basis.

This solution was imagined and designed to help professionals in the medical sector build a solid safeguard to preserve their image on the internet via a rewarding Google My Business listing. With the assistance and expertise of an agency like Semji, take back control of your e-reputation.

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