Winning Reviews and Tackling Complaints
Law firm reviews are critical to prospective clients. Just as you are less likely to purchase a product online that lacks reviews, clients needing legal representation prefer law firms that have garnered positive client feedback. There are several ways that online legal reviews can help your legal practice. And there are ways to ensure that even negative comments can positively impact your practice’s growth.
The Truth About Online Legal Reviews
Law firms that care about marketing and client reach should value their online reviews as they can help your firm target and reach more clients. Online reviews are relatively straightforward, but there are plenty of details that can help you optimize them. This can help you differentiate your law firm online to increase your visibility and appeal to future clients.
One factor that affects your search engine results page (SERP) ranking is the sheer number of online reviews your firm has garnered. This generally holds true regardless of whether you are attempting to rank on Google, other search engines, or an internal paid search page.
Trust and Establishment.
Aside from pushing your page up the SERPs, the more reviews your firm has, the more established and trustworthy your law firm appears. More reviews allow would-be clients to browse and compare their situation to the situations of your previous clients. Reviews with written text are generally more highly valued than reviews that only display five stars.
Of course, it is not all about quantity over quality, yet, having overall positive client feedback will benefit your firm. Otherwise, negative reviews may put off prospective clients even if your firm consistently ranks at the top of the SERPs.
Spinning the Negatives.
The occasional negative review is somewhat inevitable, as not everyone will enjoy working with you. When you do receive a less-than-stellar review, it is vital to respond quickly and appropriately. When done correctly, your law firm’s response to a negative review can become an excellent selling point for future clients.
It is helpful if your client reviews include the keywords your prospective clients will search for. If you are a divorce lawyer in Los Angeles, an ideal review would mention “divorce lawyer in Los Angeles” so your future clients can find you more easily. Although it may be unethical to request review specifics (depending on your state), there are ethical alternatives.
Another factor in online reviews is called review diversity. Review diversity can help your law firm rank higher on search engines. Ideally, you want many high-quality reviews spread throughout different online locations, such as social media, Google reviews, and Lawyers.com.
Reviews are good for your law firm’s business. Great reviews are even better. Understanding what makes a review great empowers you to guide clients and colleagues to leave outstanding reviews for your law firm. Each interaction with a client and collaboration with a peer presents an opportunity for an exceptional review that can help you grow your business.
How to Guide Review Writing by Clients
It is important to treat client reviews as a process, just like any other process within your firm. Reviews are a numbers game, similar to landing clients. The more feedback you request, the more your practice will grow as you draw potential clients to your law firm with more reviews.
Follow these steps to start seeing more client reviews:
- Check your state’s ethic rules regarding testimonials and always adhere to your bar association guidelines.
- Draft a template email that you can customize for each client. You can also draft a follow-up email if they fail to leave a review, but don’t be too pushy. Adding a review request to the bottom of general email correspondence is a way to remind clients without being intrusive.
- Create a protocol that each client will receive this review request a certain number of days after the relationship’s conclusion. You should follow this process for all clients except those with the most challenging relationships.
- Consider where you want clients to leave reviews. Choosing multiple platforms is wise, as diversity can help your law firm’s search engine ranking. Examples of platforms you can suggest within the email include Google, Yelp, Facebook, Avvo.com, Lawyers.com, Linkedin, and the Better Business Bureau. If there are relevant local review sites, you can add those to the list, too. Include a link from the email to make leaving a review easier.
These steps provide a reliable method for increasing your firm’s client reviews. Remember, you can’t force your clients to leave feedback, as your efforts could backfire if you are perceived as pushy.
Other methods that may be helpful include using social media posts or general email newsletters to gently request past clients to leave a review.
Some law firms worry that actively requesting reviews may prompt dissatisfied clients to leave negative ones. However, most clients who are unhappy enough to leave a genuinely negative review will find a way to complain without your help. Plenty of clients with positive experiences will feel the nudge of your request and be happy to write about their favorable experiences with your firm.
Making the Most of Your Legal Clients’ Reviews
Most law firms will garner a few negative reviews regardless of their actions. For whatever reason, these clients were unsatisfied and unhappy. They wanted to complain loudly and were motivated to do so, regardless of your request for reviews. Satisfied customers may be less motivated to leave a review than their angry counterparts.
Once you begin actively seeking client reviews, the overwhelmingly positive reviews will counteract the occasional negative comment. Here is what you should do to make the most out of your reviews:
- Monitor your reviews regularly. When you receive feedback, your response should be prompt and professional. Consider dedicating time each week to this action. Respond promptly, within a few days to a week, maximum. However, a faster response is always preferable.
- Thank positive reviewers. When you receive a glowing review, you should thank your client for taking the time to share their experience.
- Respond politely to negative reviews. Responding politely and publicly on the review platform allows prospective clients to see that you remain engaged after the case’s termination. It also shows that you can be cordial and respectful in the face of adversity.
- Consider whether to publicize your reviews. This may hinge on your state’s rules of ethics.
Other tips include utilizing keywords in your response to positive reviews. When responding to negative feedback, display compassion, clarification of misplaced expectations, and ongoing engagement.
A glowing peer review can add a layer of trust and credibility to your law firm’s online persona. While peer reviews are less common than client reviews, they are an excellent addition to your portfolio of reviews. They also provide authority, as the feedback comes from legal professionals. Clients may weigh these opinions more heavily than a layperson’s.
You can use several platforms for peer endorsements, such as Linkedin and Avvo.com.
How to Request Recommendations on LinkedIn
Linkedin offers users the ability to post a recommendation. By posting a recommendation to a colleague’s Linkedin account, you increase the chances of receiving a recommendation back.
If you want to send recommendation requests, follow these steps:
- Enter your profile’s Recommendation section and click the button titled, ‘Ask for a recommendation.’
- Select your desired recommender.
- Choose your relationship and the recommender’s position at the time.
- Customize a message requesting the recommendation. One short paragraph is typical.
After you receive a recommendation, it is polite to thank your recommender and write them one in return.
How to Request Peer Reviews on Avvo.com
Avvo.com makes it easy to request a peer endorsement from legal professionals familiar with your work, such as:
- Opposing counsel
Peer endorsements can improve your Avvo rating, increasing your visibility to potential clients.
Making the peer review request is straightforward. Follow these steps:
- Log into your profile.
- Click “edit profile.”
- Scroll down to “peer endorsements” and click “request a peer endorsement.”
On the following screen, you have several choices. You can:
- Customize the content of your message.
- Enter all the email addresses you would like to receive the request.
- Choose the email address you want to send the request from.
Most of the information on your Avvo profile is what you choose to showcase. However, peer endorsements are a unique opportunity to highlight the opinion of third-party lawyers and law professionals who understand what makes a great lawyer. They are the best judges of character and quality.
Because these reviews can affect your Avvo rating, you can enhance your profile visibility on the Avvo platform while improving the credibility of your profile to potential clients.
Maximizing Your Firm’s Reviews
Client and peer reviews are essentially a numbers game. Implement a policy to request reviews from your clients, and you will soon begin to see your reviews grow on Google, Facebook, Lawyers.com, and any other platform you suggest to your clients.
Do not be discouraged by the eventual negative or mediocre review. Instead, use it as a learning experience to improve your law firm’s services. Also, be sure to respond compassionately and clarify the things that were done right and those that were out of your control.
Don’t forget to request feedback from your peers. Garnering a few peer recommendations from colleagues is a nice touch that you can feature on certain platforms.
The best time to start requesting reviews was when you started your firm. The second best time is today. Building up your client reviews can happen surprisingly fast once you dedicate your law firm to the task and support the project with firm-wide processes.