When potential clients are looking for an attorney, it’s highly unlikely that they will click on the first firm they see and schedule an appointment on the spot. Most people will take some time to explore their options by performing a series of Google searches, clicking on a few websites, and reading client reviews.
Recently, user behavior has shifted even further, with more people turning to internet searches to find basic business information or operational updates, and consequently, making them rely more heavily on online reputation to inform their choices.
While it might not seem that client reviews are that important, words from former clients can significantly affect your online reputation—both positively and negatively. Now, more than ever, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on client reviews and take a few simple actions to ensure that your online reputation accurately reflects the quality of your business.
Being Intentional About Positive Reviews
Asking for positive reviews from your happy clients can feel uncomfortable, like fishing for compliments. But, in reality, most people don’t think about reviews until they feel inclined to leave a negative one. This tendency to leave satisfactory service unrecorded can skew a business’s online reputation, inaccurately representing the quality of work or service their prospective clients can expect from them in the future. But, despite most people not naturally leaving positive reviews, they often use them to decide which businesses they’ll select—with 68% of consumers reporting positive reviews made them more likely to use a business. So, implementing strategies to help your happy clients publically reflect their satisfaction is becoming an increasingly important tool for maintaining your healthy online presence.
How Google Sides With the Reviewer
In general, a client is free to post whatever they want to say about you, within reason. If they had a negative experience, they’re allowed to share it with others by posting a negative review of your firm. Google strives to preserve a consumer’s right to post honest reviews about their experience, but it will intervene in some cases. Reviews that are fake, spam, off-topic, derogatory, or offensive in nature will likely be flagged by Google and removed. However, if you spot a review that seems suspicious, you can report it to Google and they can look into it further. Otherwise, Google will attempt to side with the reviewers and allow them to freely express their thoughts and experiences.
Replying to a Negative Review
It’s important to note that negative reviews do happen. If you only have a handful of client reviews, one negative review can drastically impact your overall rating. While your first instinct may be to respond to a negative review in an aggressive tone, this public display of anger does nothing to encourage potential clients to work with you. Instead, try to reach out to the reviewer privately to discuss their post. In most cases, people who post negative reviews simply want to feel heard. By calling them and letting them know that you care about what they have to say, the issue can usually be resolved. From there, the client may remove or revise their post, or you can post a gracious note in response to the review that shows other clients that illustrates your professionalism and commitment to client satisfaction.
Do Your Reviews Online Accurately Reflect Who You Are?
When you take a look at your law firm’s reviews, do these statements accurately reflect who you are as a legal professional? What qualities do clients notice or appreciate about you? Are these the same qualities that you hope to project to future clients? If there is a disconnect between what you are hoping to convey about yourself and what clients actually perceive you to be, it’s time to focus on aligning these professional personas. We’re here to help you articulate your goals for how you wish for clients to view you so that we can develop specific strategies for encouraging clients to notice, appreciate, and comment on these qualities.