When most people are deciding whether to purchase a particular product, they use online reviews to help them with their choice. By now, we recognize the power of customer reviews, and we even know to be more wary or skeptical of products with only a few too-good-to-be-true reviews. Online reviews are valuable resources for assessing a product’s quality and can also help you decide whether to work with a particular service. For instance, if you are looking for a lawyer in your area to help you resolve a dispute, reading client reviews for a few law firms can help to influence your decision. Many consumers consider online reviews to be as powerful as personal referrals or recommendations from trusted friends or family members, so it’s essential to ensure your law firm’s online reputation remains as glowing as possible. Let’s take a look at the top reputation management strategies you can use to inspire potential clients to schedule a consultation with you.
Do Your Reviews Reflect Your Law Firm’s Vision of Itself?
When you created a website to market your law firm, you likely spent some time thinking about your brand. That is, you put some thought into articulating your values and setting your law practice apart from other firms in your area offering similar legal services. If it has been some time since you reviewed your website from the perspective of a potential client, take some time to click through each page and consider what impressions your website makes. Does it inspire confidence? Does it reassure potential clients and encourage them to contact you? Once you have a good sense of what messages your website conveys, take a look at your law firm’s online reviews. Do the reviews align with your law firm’s image? For instance, if your website focuses on your commitment to customer service, check to see if the reviews mention this quality. If there is a disconnect between your firm’s perception of itself and what clients say, it’s time to concentrate on putting these discrepancies into better alignment.
Responding to Client Reviews
While most professionals recognize the importance of addressing less-than-stellar client reviews, responding to positive reviews is also a solid reputation management strategy. Below are a few tips for handling both positive and negative online client reviews with poise and professionalism.
Acknowledging Positive Reviews Boosts SEO Rankings
Responding to a positive review serves two important purposes: (1) You are thanking the client for taking the time to share their experience with others, and (2) You are showing those reading the reviews that your law firm is engaged and genuinely invested in the experience of their clients. Even a simple response can do wonders for your law firm’s reputation and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, as search engines like Google will use these positive reviews to rank you higher among the search results.
Handling Negative Client Reviews With Tact and Grace
Even the most empathetic and client-focused attorneys occasionally receive negative reviews. In most cases, the frustrated client is writing the review out of anger or disappointment with the outcome of the case, not necessarily the attorney’s services. While the natural inclination may be to fire back an immediate response, it’s always better to take some time to cool off and compose a more focused and strategic response to a negative review. First, invite the reviewer to contact your firm privately to discuss their issue. This request shows the public that you care about client satisfaction. Upset clients usually want to feel heard, so talking with them privately about their concerns often resolves the matter—in many cases, the client feels inspired to remove or revise their review. If the negative review remains on the review site, focus on increasing the number of positive reviews to boost your average rating over time.
Streamline the Client Review Request Process
There’s no way around it—asking clients to review your law firm can be awkward. It may never feel like the right time to ask them to write a review, so it’s easy to put off this request indefinitely. However, by implementing automated tools, you can streamline this process and make it much simpler for satisfied clients to write online reviews about their experiences. Setting up an automated email or text message that includes a link to the review site allows clients to write a few thoughts at their convenience and post the review with one simple click. Reminding clients how vital reviews are in helping you improve the client experience is a great way to encourage people to take a few minutes out of their day to complete this task. As the number of client reviews increases, your firm’s SEO rankings will also rise.
If you are hoping to grow your law practice, call LegalRev today at (800) 893-2590 to discuss your digital marketing strategy.