As previously discussed, social media presents special challenges for doctors that most other businesses don’t have to face. After all, the restaurant down the street doesn’t have to worry about maintaining customer privacy and no hotel ever faced a lawsuit for violating HIPAA.
Needless to say, things get even more challenging when you move from posting your own content to actively responding to others in such social settings. And while, once again, the rules are different for doctors, the following infographic from Ohio University shines a light on the major types of interaction you’re likely to face — complaints, compliments and questions — and suggested dos and don’ts that can help you formulate an appropriate response:
As the infographic suggests, responding to complaints, including negative reviews, should be a top priority. If it’s a non-medical concern, there’s no harm in responding in a social setting; doing so shows you’re listening and interested in improving. If the issue will reveal PHI, it’s probably better to take the discussion offline. Either way, remain positive, polite and professional throughout.
With questions, the key is to answer quickly which means someone needs to be managing your social profiles (or monitoring the software that does). For many aesthetic consumers, how doctors respond to online inquiries is a key indicator of the practice’s approach to treating patients. RealSelf surveys show time and time again that consumers whose inquiries go unanswered often go elsewhere.
As for praise, you can probably forgo responding altogether as it’s unlikely to have much impact on anyone who reads it. Instead, the best advice is to savor any and all compliments and positive reviews, share them on your practice website and social profiles, and let your satisfied patients have the last word.