Offline reputation management utilizes more traditional forms of public relations to best represent how stakeholders are intended to think and feel about the company. Here, marketers promote social responsibility, improve media visibility, place favorable copy in print material (in press releases and feature articles) and offer community sponsorships. The net effect is search engine reputation management that counters negative search results and elevates favorable content.
Competition among healthcare organizations is increasingly intense and because of social media and the Internet, the margin of error for inadequate reputation management is shrinking. Your organization’s reputation can be advanced or diminished with the immeasurable power of a single review, online comment, bit of grocery store gossip or news article.
In addition to the traditional PR activities mentioned above, the article 5 Ways to Manage Your Brand Reputation Offline offers more ideas. They are:
- Deliver consistent customer service. Do this by offering reliability in delivering products or services; providing support before, during and after; and meeting expectations. Focus on consistency and on wowing your patients. Make sure they find something to brag about in each of their interactions.
- Connect with your customers offline to enhance word-of-mouth promotions. Find small, meaningful ways to build impressions. Hand-written or telephone thank you notes can help. Make calls to customers for real time feedback. Provide email contact addresses and encourage interaction to show you value their feedback.
- Show customer appreciation by providing physical reminders of your care and brand. Send them inexpensive widgets, freebies and discounts that show you value them as brand ambassadors.
- Ask for reviews of your service before it occurs. Knowing upfront that you value their service impressions demonstrates your commitment to providing the best care possible and sets an expectation among customers that you intend to provide great service. They are then more likely to reach out to you in an open and honest way when service falls short or, better yet, exceeds expectations.
- The final tip for managing your offline reputation is to pay attention to your online reputation. Each has tremendous influence on the other.
Competition among healthcare organizations is increasingly intense and because of social media and the Internet, the margin of error for inadequate reputation management is shrinking. Your organization’s reputation can be advanced or diminished with the immeasurable power of a single review, online comment, bit of grocery store gossip or news article. Therefore, the best healthcare marketers are proactive in managing both online and offline reputations, enabling them to attract new patients while building loyalty among existing patients.
James is a regular contributor to communications created by the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society. This article is excerpted from his original essay here.