Word-of-mouth marketing is essential for reinforcing and strengthening your law firm’s reputation. In addition to satisfied clients telling other clients about their positive experience with your firm, today’s word-of-mouth marketing also includes positive online reviews. As I have discussed in my previous posts ,your online presence can either attract or deter future clients.
Why online client reviews matter
One online space that often gets overlooked by lawyers are the ratings and reviews clients write after a case is finished. Client reviews on a variety of sites including Google, Yelp and Facebook play an integral role in creating your online presence and reputation. Consistent reviews from your clients also help your SEO results. For example, many clients will put the word “best” in front of the legal service they are looking for in their geographic area, i.e. Best Divorce Lawyer Chicago. The firms with the highest positive reviews will show up first on the Google map. So, if your firm has no reviews, there is a good chance you will not be on the first page for the search term that includes “best”.
Responding to positive or negative reviews
Even if your firm does not subscribe to a specific rating service such as Yelp, clients who have had a remarkably positive or negative experience will write public reviews. Here are 5 tips for managing positive online client reviews:
- Consistently review your firm’s online reputation. Since negative reviews can only be deleted in instances of spam or abuse, the most important step to maintaining a positive online reputation is through awareness. Take 5-10 minutes each week to quickly monitor your firm’s reviews on major online sites including: Facebook, Yelp and Google. It is essential that you consistently check your online reputation so you can quickly address any negative reviews.
- If you find a positive review, acknowledge the review and thank the client for their time.
- If you find a negative review, avoid making a defensive comment. Instead, write a response that conveys empathy towards the client but also communicates why this is not a common response to your services.
- Create a client exit survey. In order to better monitor client satisfaction, create a concise client survey asking clients to elaborate on their experiences with your firm. A quick survey ensures both the client and attorney are aware of any concerns before a client leaves a firm. If a client shares a positive experience on their survey, invite them to share their experiences online.
- Increase the ease of client reviews from satisfied clients. Create a hidden page on your website that includes direct links for Google Plus, Yelp, Facebook and Martindale. At the conclusion of a case with a satisfied client, send your client an email with the link to the hidden page. Let the client know how much you valued working with them and that you would greatly appreciate a review on your firm’s social media pages.
- Stay active on Social Media. An up to date and active social media account shows clients you are receptive to feedback and are likely to see/react to positive client reviews.
- Ensure excellence. While technology is changing word of mouth marketing, what remains the same is the best way to increase online reviews is to ensure clients receive an exceptional experience with you and your firm. During most legal cases clients are experiencing increased emotional stress. Listen closely to your client’s fears, opinions and concerns and respond with informed guidance and support. The last meeting with your client is often the most memorable. Make sure you close on a high note so your client leaves with an overall positive impression and experience.
Adapting to today’s legal marketplace
A key factor for high-growth firms’ is the ability to adapt to the changing legal landscape. Learning how to build a strong online reputation is essential for succeeding in today’s legal market place.
What are the challenges your firm is facing with online client reviews? What is working for you?
For more information on how to create an integrated legal marketing plan, call or email me to schedule a consultation.