Online reviews can have a significant impact on which law firm a prospect decides to ultimately do business with. This is especially critical for smaller, local law firms, which may not have the brand recognition that larger firms have. But, merely having online reviews isn’t sufficient, it’s obviously important that those reviews paint a very positive picture of your firm. A recent study found that nearly 84% of study participants said that a law firm would need to have review scores of 4 stars or higher before they would hire that firm. This means that if you don’t have at least a 4-star rating online, you may be losing clients.
But, no matter how careful you are about the way you conduct business, at some point you are going to encounter people who may not be happy with the service you’ve provided. To make matters worse, with the widespread use of social media, what was once a private complaint is now a very public review on Google, Facebook, Avvo, and Yelp.
Although you can’t stop negative comments from being posted, there are ways to manage your online reputation and mitigate any potential damage.
- Monitor your online presence. Set up a Google Alert with your name and the name of your firm, so that you immediately receive notice of anything posted about you online.
- Quickly respond to any negative reviews, addressing specific issues if you can. Don’t argue with or engage the original reviewer, but offer an explanation, keeping future prospects in mind.
- Respect your guests’ right to their own opinion. Whether the customer’s facts are accurate or not, they perceive they have a problem and therefore, so do you.
- If the complaint is valid, admit it. Thank your clients for bringing the issue to your attention and detail the steps that you’ve taken to resolve it.
- Be as positive as possible and always encourage customer engagement.
- Counteract any negative reviews by posting enough positive content through multiple channels to lower the review site’s ranking on the search engine results page. This would be a great time to issue a press release, upload a new video, and blog a bit more frequently. Publishing stellar reviews and great content is your best defense.
Remember, when responding to negative comments online, your goal is not to be right. Your objective is to minimize the impact of the negative feedback and to satisfy your customers. Believe it or not, the manner in which you react can actually attract new clients who are impressed with your response.
Director, Web and Online Marketing Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128