As the coronavirus (COVID-19) began to spread across the U.S. in mid-March of 2020, Google temporarily suspended the publication of new reviews and prevented business owners from being able to reply to online reviews. By May, Google started to publish reviews and reactivate many of the Google My Business (GMB) features.
Now, as law firms across the country are taking steps to reopen their doors, online reviews have become more significant. Potential clients will be keeping an eye on your reviews and using these metrics to determine whether to work with you in the coming weeks and months. We thought it would be a good idea to provide you with three helpful tips for managing your GMB reviews so that your firm’s online presence remains trustworthy, approachable, and reliable in these uncertain times.
Tip #1: Interact With Reviewers Regularly
When clients are searching for an attorney, they will almost always look at the online reviews for a particular firm. They want to know how other clients have described their experiences of working with you. Also, potential clients tend to react positively to attorneys and firms who respond to their reviewers, demonstrating that they care about client experience. It’s important to monitor your online reviews often—you can even set up an alert for when a new review is posted. If it’s a positive review, replying to the review with a short message of appreciation can project a sense of engagement and connection between you and your former (and future) clients.
Tip #2: Respond Appropriately to Negative Reviews
Unfortunately, seeing even one negative review can be enough for a potential client to move on, and this bad review can dramatically impact your overall rating. If you receive a negative review, it’s important that you respond in a professional manner. First, try reaching out to the client directly to see if you can address their concerns. Many times, people who post negative reviews simply want to feel heard, so letting them know that you are willing to listen can go a long way. If the review violates Google’s guidelines in any way, such as posts that are off-topic rants, political spam, or offensive in nature, you should flag the post and contact Google to have the post removed. If these two strategies do resolve the issue, consider crafting a thoughtful public reply as a last resort. Instead of responding solely to one negative reviewer, think of your reply as a broader statement to all of your clients. Maintaining a respectful and professional tone is essential to inspiring consumer confidence.
Tip #3: Invite More Positive Reviews
While negative reviews can and do happen, try to focus on ways of cultivating more positive client reviews. You can set up an automated survey to send to your satisfied clients once you’ve helped them resolve their legal matter, or simply ask your clients to write a one or two-lined blurb about their experience working with your firm. These gentle reminders should encourage people to post their reviews and give your overall rating more dimension. Consumers are actually more likely to work with a business that has a less-than-perfect overall score, as five-star reviews may come across as fake. Seeing that you respond to your reviews in a warm and respectful manner will likely inspire potential clients to perceive you as genuine and trustworthy.
Good Experiences Lead to Positive Reviews
It can be easy to place too much emphasis on your law firm’s online reviews, so it’s important to remember that reviews are only one piece of your firm’s success. Instead of focusing on how you’ll drive clients to post positive reviews, try to shift your attention to delivering an exceptional client experience. When clients feel heard, valued, and respected, trust that the positive reviews will naturally follow.
Want to learn more about how to manage and respond to your GMB reviews? The LegalRev team is here to answer your questions and to offer the support you need. Contact us today at (800) 893-2590 to discuss your firm’s marketing needs.