Long gone are the days when customers knew of a business’s reputation based solely on the opinions of their friends. Nowadays, everyone who has ever had any interaction with said business can easily log onto the internet and simply post about their experience for the whole world to see. This is even more true for clients looking for lawyers or legal services online. When people look online for their next attorney, they often turn to review sites to see what others have to say about their experiences. You need positive reviews to convince those people to use your services. Without a good reputation, customers are unlikely to make a consultation with you, something your law firm cannot risk.
While positive reviews are always helpful, it can be detrimental to a firm’s reputation to have one (or a few) negative reviews, especially if it appears that they go unnoticed or unresolved.
While positive reviews are always helpful, it can be detrimental to a firm’s reputation to have one (or a few) negative reviews, especially if it appears that they go unnoticed or unresolved. Learning how to deal with negative reviews is as important as encouraging positive ones. Online review platforms like Yelp, Google reviews, and Avvo.com have expanded a businesses’ ability to make first impressions. It is in every business’s best interest to try and accumulate as many positive reviews as possible. Here are a few tips about how to do that while remaining genuine and not coming on too hard to your customers.
Start first by paying close attention to the reviews that you already have. This may seem obvious, but you cannot generate good reviews without happy customers. Look at what your current reviews are saying and resolve any issues that you can. Of course, you should also pay attention to any good reviews so you know what worked in the past that you can incorporate into future interactions with customers.
Next, you can ask your current clients for reviews – and not just good ones. Many clients will be happy to provide feedback if they know you’re genuinely interested in receiving it. Remind your client that your firm takes feedback seriously and checks online review sites regularly. Further, wait until the end of your engagement with the customer to ask. This will assure them that you were focused the service you were providing and that their review was contingent on that service rather than the other way around.
Creating an Online Presence
If outright asking for reviews seems too forthright or pushy for your clientele, an alternative could be to make your online presence presence known and letting clients act on their own. Having a Facebook or Twitter account can help to prompt those clients in the younger age bracket (under age 30) to review your business without much motivation from your end. You can include your social media sites on your business cards so clients can visit them whenever they wish.
A great way to get your online presence started is to activate your Yelp business page. Clients can see and review your firm on Yelp whether or not you active the page. However, taking that proactive step to fill out your business’s profile sends a message to prospective and past clients that you do care about your online image and reputation. Make sure to complete all fields, including photos, phone numbers, and office hours, in order to create a strong profile. Yelp (and other review sites) can be and often is the first impression that your firm makes on a potential client so it is important your business profile creates an inviting, approachable impression.
Respond to All Reviews
This next tip is perhaps the most important. Respond to reviews quickly, both positive and negative. For positive reviews, take the time to give a quick but sincere thanks. Make note of any specifics that the client appreciated so you can incorporate them in future interactions not just with that customer but others as well.
In your responses to negative reviews, resist the urge to take offense or aggressively lash out in defense of your company or employee. Rather, take a look at the problem presented in the review and try to find a resolution to the issue at hand. Additionally, if the negative review is called for, thank the customer for their feedback and apologize for the bad experience. Never simply dismiss a negative review; that gives the impression that you don’t take criticism seriously and are not interested in making a better experience for your clients.
Never simply dismiss a negative review; that gives the impression that you don’t take criticism seriously and are not interested in making a better experience for your clients.
Oftentimes, customers will go back and update their review, turning that negative review into a positive one. In the case that a negative reviewed is not edited, prospective clients viewing your responses will understand that your firm will do everything it can to correct problems and ensure that they do not happen to others.Alternatively, you can reach out to the disappointed reviewer personally and try to resolve the problem.
Make Reviewing as Easy as Possible
A great way to increase the overall number of reviews that you receive is make reviewing as easy as possible for your client. This can be done simply by adding a space on your website that allows the customer to leave feedback or a link to another review site where they can post a review about their experience. Offline, you can post the logos of various review sites that you have profiles on around your office or in your newsletters as a way to encourage clients to visit these sites.
Reviews should be seen as a yet another way for your firm to highlight its talent, expertise, and professionalism. These evaluations should be received and approached with enthusiasm. Having your clients honestly speak about your firm is one of the best forms of advertisement and it’s free! Following these guidelines will help you engage with your clients in a meaningful way and show prospective customers that you are serious about your work and are concerned with the job you are doing.