REPUTATION REPAIR, NEGATIVE CONTENT REMOVAL AND ONLINE REPUTATION MANAGEMENT FOR SERVICE PROFESSIONALS
Accountants, actuaries, appraisers, architects, attorneys, brokerage firms, business consultants, business development managers, copywriters, dentists, doctors, distributors, engineers, funeral directors, law firms, physicians, public relations professionals, recruiters, researchers, real estate brokers, translators, software engineers, audio engineers, structural engineers, value-added resellers and web designers. Phew! But wait, this is only a partial list of service professionals facing the challenge of online defamation. The criticality of online reputation can be gauged by taking the example of physicians and what aReputation can do for you.
As the online world becomes more pervasive, reputations are increasingly built and managed on the Internet. Online Reputation Management is the process of monitoring, addressing or mitigating SERPs (search engine result pages) or mentions in online and social media. Physicians are as visible as anyone on the Internet and the visibility is only going to increase. Historically, a physician understood he/she was a leadership figure in the community. A certain expectation and responsibility is inherent in the role. While physicians aren’t expected to be super-human, they are role models. With the proliferation of information on the Internet, driven heavily by blogs and more recently “social media”, a physician’s reputation can get enhanced and/or dinged in a nano-second.
aReputation arranged a web conference of a few prospective clients and in advance did a Google search of several of those who were going to be in the meeting and took screen shots of the first page on Google. In each case, there was misinformation about the physician. In several cases, the mistakes were significant. In that same discussion, physicians described the hassles they go through in trying to rectify negativity on sites like Vitals, Health Grades, and Yelp etc. One operations manager for a large group in attendance shared a story that took place several month ago in which a patient wrote a scathing review of one of their doctors on Angie’s List. They didn’t think much of it until they realized the review received thousands of hits within weeks. That’s a reputation management problem!
More and more patients are researching physicians online. Fellow physicians are doing the same. Unless you are on the verge of retirement, you have to pay attention. This affects primary care physicians just as much as specialists and surgeons. Employed physicians may think they are immune, but that’s far from true. Not only does your institution gain or lose on the collective reputations of its physicians, but you may not always be in the same role. Ignoring your online reputation now is akin to college kids posting pictures of themselves involved in all kinds of bungholery on Facebook, thinking that the professional world is far off in the distance. It’s your professional reputation. You worked hard to get where you are and you owe it to yourself to manage and protect it.
To keep things simple, let’s focus on just two primary constituents that matter when it comes to a physician’s reputation: colleagues and patients. In each case, they care about different things, with one major area of overlap loosely categorized as competency. At the end of the day, colleagues want to associate with competent peers and collaborate in the treatment process with colleagues who will match their standards. Patients, obviously, want to be treated and healed in the most effective manner possible. From the reputed ones! This doesn’t diminish interests in ancillary issues like cost, personality fit and so one…but at the end of the day, results speak the loudest.In the off-line world (we used to say ‘the real world’), one’s professional reputation was built through the combination of a number of things:
- Word-of-mouth based on people’s experience or perception
- Community involvement including charitable contributions
- Extracurricular activities
Interestingly, reputations are built the same way today. The difference is the velocity at which information spreads and the distances it travels. Outcomes are perhaps more widely known today with the ease at which data is accessed and passed along. There is a now fairly commonly understood truth that if a customer has one good restaurant experience, he’ll tell 1 friend, but if he has a poor experience, he’ll tell 10. Not only does this essentially hold true for physicians, but the 1 or the 10 are reached leaps and bounds faster than in the pre-Internet days. Additionally, the numbers go from 1 and 10 to 1,000 and 10,000 in some cases. Thought leaders are still thought leaders, only today they have a few more tools at their disposal. Their voice is magnified through the power of the web. Same holds true for collaboration, research and so forth.
To cut a long story short, your online reputation is serious business. You owe it to yourself to defend your status. aReputation specializes in reputation repair and online reputation management of service professionals.