How to Respond to a Negative Review of Your Law Firm

Negative client reviews can be tricky to handle, but it’s important to keep your responses brief and professional. Potential clients will read your responses to these reviews and decide whether to work with you.

By now, most of us recognize the power of online reviews. When deciding what product to buy or which services to use, consumers spend time reading online reviews to inform their choice. Positive reviews are important, but consumers tend to trust goods and services that also include a few negative reviews. If the reviews seem too perfect, clients may view them as inauthentic or fake. Research indicates that consumers spend up to five times as long on a site that lists negative reviews alongside positive ones. However, receiving a negative review from a client can be upsetting and prompt you to want to respond. If done tactfully and respectfully, responding to a negative client review can communicate your genuine care for client satisfaction and inspire potential clients to work with you. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Avoid Disclosing Confidential Information

For many attorneys, a negative review feels personal. It can be tempting to immediately respond to a negative comment by undermining the client’s credibility and disclosing personal information about this poster. However, attorneys are bound by rules of professional conduct, which prevent them from revealing confidential information about their clients. Some attorneys have responded aggressively and inappropriately to negative reviews—a few have publically shamed their clients in their responses—and faced disciplinary action as a result. As soon as you receive a negative review, take some time before you craft your response.

Keep Responses Short and Professional

Once you’ve had the chance to distance yourself from the review a bit, start to craft your response. Remember, your answer is not just for the dissatisfied client—potential clients will read it and form an impression of you as a legal professional. If you know that the client’s allegation is patently false, you can tactfully say that the claim is untrue and that your ethical duties prevent you from elaborating. If the client review is unspecific, you might consider responding with concern and inviting the client to contact you to discuss how to redress the situation. This type of response shows that you care about client satisfaction and that you are open to listening to client feedback.

Counterbalance Negative Reviews With Positive Ones

In general, the more client reviews you receive, the more accurate your overall rating will appear to potential clients. Consumers are more likely to work with a firm that features tactful responses to a few negative client reviews than a firm with a flawless five-star rating. Clients want to know that the firm is not relying on fake reviews to draw them in; they would rather see how the attorneys interact with unhappy clients and express their genuine interest in customer satisfaction.

Ready to talk through some effective strategies for responding to negative client reviews? Call LegalRev today at (800) 893-2590 to get started.

February 3, 2021