Online reviews have become one of the main marketing tools for all businesses across the board to promote their products, services and get more customers.
Consumers are turning to review sites on the Internet to research attorneys and hire a lawyer based on their number of positive reviews. They can get a feeling for the attorney’s experience and customer service, based on the good and negative feedback posted by other clients.
With the huge potential that online reviews has for attracting new clients, many law firms are rapidly catching up with this marketing trend, so why are there so many laggers and attorneys who have sworn they will stay away from online reviews? We spoke with some of them and here is what we found.
Most common objections we hear from lawyers regarding to online reviews.
I started by asking the following question to a group of attorneys on varios practice areas:
Why do you think that promoting online reviews and asking your clients for reviews is bad for your practice?
Before I launch into this topic, I will admit that it is very important to clarify how diverse the answers were, however, for all the attorneys who are not adamant to online reviews, the objections always came from their lack of understanding, along the following lines:
- “Does this matter?”
- “Does this help me?”
- It’s going to damage my online reputation
The first and second group comprehends attorneys who don’t know yet how important reviews can be and the positive impact they can have for growing their referrals and new consultations.
The third group is actually the most common among lawyers who don’t see value in online reviews. They believe that it’s bad for their reputation because some people are bound to leave bad comments, even strong accusations against their honesty and principles.
We scanned many review sites looking for commonalities among the negative feedback that different attorneys receive and in many cases they fell along these lines:
“The attorney never answered my phone calls”
“Staff is very rude and were annoyed if I asked them for an update regarding my case”
“I hired them and they didn’t do anything for me”
Bad reviews is not a reason why you should avoid this marketing strategy. As a matter of fact getting a bad review now and then is good and healthy for your online profiles, it proves that the reviews are real and you are not paying for them.
Besides, if you are getting many reviews similar to those I mentioned above, they serve as an indicative that there is something wrong and you should re-think how to manage your clients and case load. Rude behavior and failure to communicate is not going to bring you referrals, quite the opposite.
Those reviews are going to be the way that people who need a legal representation are going to decide if the law firm is the right for the job or not. Online reviews are the way of expression, so if you want to have a successful ending on your practice, just make sure that you have plenty reviews.
Of course something “painful” can be the first economic investment, but if we compare it with the economic results that you will have a while later, we will be talking about an empty point. The help provided will be fundamental, we will be in front of a welfare platform, offered by professionals leading to a much more prestigious result. Does it matter? If you provide your clients with the best customer service experience possible, that will bring future clients right to your door. And at the end, that is the all propose of any type of business.
How important are reviews for lawyers
Every client review is important. Even more if we analyze that in a law firm, there will not be the same number of clients as in a store, supermarket or hotel. Therefore, everything that is written: positive or negative, will be extremely important. In addition, the most read will almost always be negative, because the “negative part” carries a huge dramatic and emotional burden, which “new customers” will want to know. Some aspects or reasons for dissatisfaction in legal firms can be: broken promises and unmet expectations. The client may be under the impression that he would be awarded a certain amount of money. However, after the case settles, the client doesn’t get anywhere near the money he had hoped to receive. Another can be a rude behavior. The client had a problem with someone at the office. That might be a secretary, legal assistant, or even another lawyer that is part of the office. The cause of the rudeness varies.
What happened if you have a large number of bad reviews? The most logic answer would be: they will choose another law firm. And what happened if you have no reviews at all? It can be equally bad to your practice as having bad reviews. Let’s be honest, no one wants to be represented in a court by someone who is not experienced; and reviews are your first letter of representation, they validate that you’ve worked with real clients. As a client is vital the trust, and the first step to get it is having a considerable amount of good reviews.
How to ask for reviews
At the beginning, the best way is to ask the client for a good review. And statistically 7 out of 10 clients will do it.
The best time to request a review will be at the end of the case or meeting. The moment in which the client feels happy and pleased with the work or service that is being offered. You need to ask for your clients for reviews when they are happy with your service. But never, when they are disappointed or upset about something that happened in the case, those negative emotions can easily be transferred into their review.
Another great way to ask for a review in the modern world is using online review management software to send a review request via email or text.
After the step is taking (asked for reviews from the client) is very important that you have the time to monitor the comments and reviews left behind on the website as well as any other platforms. And is necessary to respond, to the positive ones and the negative ones that you receive; this shows to the potential clients that you are involved and that you care about it.
Negative reviews and complaints about lawyers and how to handle this
When we are part of any business, of course we want to have good, excellent, great reviews. As a business owner, you’re no stranger to the concept of negative reviews. A negative review can happen regardless of the quality of your work or the experience of the client in determinate circumstance.
But, getting a negative review about your law firm can’t be the end of the world. Many experts confirm that some bad reviews make your business seem more authentic or real. It actually means that you are not paying for reviews to make your company big and untouchable.
If you can handle the situation correctly by responding to the person that left the bad review, you can build a relationship as well as trust with the new clients. It´s important to always try to make the unsatisfied client into a satisfied one; that will make your firm look more professional so everybody can see how important your clients are for you.
How to respond to a negative review?
- Apologize and sympathize in your response to the negative review. Acknowledge the customer’s concerns.
- Insert a little marketing in your response to the bad review.
- Move the conversation offline.
- Keep your response simple, short and sweet.
You can spin around negative feedback and turn it into a positive story. Respond to negative feedback and show sympathy. Remember your clients are also a human beings and are airing the negative experience the best they can. Try replaying with: “What can I do to make this better?“, “I’m sorry about xyz, I assure you we will take your feedback seriously and improve our communication“, “Can you give me a change to make things right?“, “Please help me understand how we can do xyz better?”
Even if the angry client doesn’t reply black, the next time around when a new prospect is reading your reviews, he or she will see that you care about customer satisfaction and make an effort to have a good attorney-client relationship.
Most popular review sites and what they can bring to a law firm
One of the biggest propose of a lawyer must be to have reviews on different platforms so they can reach as many people as possible who may need help or some services. Obviously, your own website it could be the best place to have reviews, but as a majority number of reviews you get there’ll be more potential clients in the future.
Facebook was used for the first time only by American college students. Those days are long over. In December 2016, Facebook reported an average of 1.23 billion daily active users and 1.86 billion monthly active users – up from 1.59 billion monthly active users at the end of 2015. The site’s massive audience just keeps growing and growing, because its members span the globe, you can use it to reach nearly anyone and with any propose.
In 2016, 47 percent of consumers reported that they had used Facebook to recommend or review a local business to others within the previous 12 months (up from 30 percent in 2015 and 16 percent in 2014).When asked the same question about other review sites, Facebook had a huge lead over Google (25 percent), Twitter (22 percent), Yelp (16 percent), TripAdvisor (15 percent) and other review sites (10 percent).
On this platform, you can stay in touch with the clients and even create new ones.
How to get Facebook reviews?
- Create a Facebook page for your business if you don’t already have one. Include lots of pictures and information. You can then invite friends and customers to follow the page:
- Navigate to your business page and click on “More” under your cover photo.
- Click on “Suggest Page.”
- Follow the directions to upload the email addresses of your customers. Any of those customers with Facebook accounts will then see a recommendation for your page.
Another reason why reviews are important is the fact that they help boost customer loyalty towards a brand. A person who takes the time to leave a positive review on Yelp about a particular brand on product is likely to come back for more business.
Yelp has more than 80 million unique visitors every month and many of those visitors write reviews about their experience with a particular business. Fortunately the vast majority (about 78%) of those reviews range from neutral to great with very minimal negative reviews. People can use yelp to find your business and read positive recommendations about what you do.
In terms of internet marketing, Yelp is useful for website rankings and getting your business seen online. Yelp is considered an “authority” site meaning that it can carry more weight and help boost traffic to your site. If you claim your Yelp listing you can add a link directly to your website and it will boost your rankings in Google.
What’s the first search engine on the internet? Of course, you think immediately on Google. You need to have a positive Google reviews that can help you build a client base. And local business ratings are the first thing that shows up when you do a search for businesses on Google.
The reason why Google is such importance is the sheer size of its reach. Google currently takes 90% of the search market, and is the one of the most popular websites in the UK. This means that the majority of your customers will be regular Google users, and most of the visitors to your site will find you through their search facilities.
Reviews on online attorney directories
When a firm personally deals with its own promotion, a series of fundamental requirements for the client’s need are often left behind, unfortunately.
The most recent online review survey shows that Legal Industry has one of the highest rated averages.
Let’s see the statistics provided by the article: “How Attorneys Are Marketing Their Firms in the Digital Age: A Survey Article”: Our survey results indicate that most attorneys are handling a majority of their firm’s marketing responsibilities themselves. This could signify that most lawyers enjoy being a part of the marketing process, and like taking a hand on approach. It also could mean that today’s attorney is too stubborn to reach out for marketing help, or unwilling to trust another person with the advertising of their law practice. We also recognize that budgetary reasons come into play as to why attorneys are taking on marketing responsibilities themselves.
Which would mean a decline in searches and thus on the needs. How can this be avoided? It jumps at sight: with professional help. The biggest weakness of a company is not finding the limit between what is necessary and what is vital. A lawyer has a great education and formation, a great knowledge of his subjects, and his responsibilities. But, a lawyer does not have to know the requirements and strategies of Marketing. It’s much better to focus on what lawyers are trained for, and allow other professionals to handle the rest. That way they will have a much more professional company and a bigger number of clients as well.
“I decided a long time ago that there is no law practice if there is not a steady stream of clients coming through the door, so I don’t have any trouble devoting the necessary time daily to marketing.”
– Steven H. Heisler
The most interesting thing is to see how marketing a law firm currently requires so much work, energy and commitment, as a full-time job. Which, give you the measure of the error that many commit, when they decide to make the marketing work for themselves. The success is in knowing how to “distribute” those tasks, and synchronize the purposes of the company or business.