Think about your favorite restaurant. What do you like most about it? Perhaps the food is fresh and delicious, or the staff is friendly and accommodating. But what if you could only guess at how good the food was, or whether the staff was nice? You might be hesitant to visit that restaurant again.
The same goes for your law practice. If potential clients can’t get a sense of what it’s like to work with you from your online reviews, they may be hesitant to hire you. Here are six reasons why online reviews are essential to your law practice.
Advantages of Online Reviews
Why are reviews important to your law practice? People have always been swayed by good testimonials and referrals, and the internet has made it so much easier to find customer feedback for law firms.
Potential clients read online reviews before making purchasing decisions – 87% regularly read reviews before deciding to do business with a firm. Only 48% will do business with a law firm that has less than 4 stars rating, and 79% trust online reviews as much as word-of-mouth recommendations.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why online reviews can help boost your law firm’s fortunes.
Trustworthiness is an essential element that people seek when looking to hire lawyers or law firms. More often than not, those searching for a law firm are experiencing high levels of anxiety. They want the assurance that the firm they hire will manage their legal matters efficiently and, most importantly, win. Effectiveness and transparency in communication are also highly valued qualities potential clients look for in a law firm.
Credibility is important for any law firm, and one of the ways to establish this is by having positive reviews online. If you have several reviews that praise your firm, this will make it more likely that potential clients will reach out to you as they will trust your firm more than those without many reviews.
It is essential for people to feel confident in their choice of lawyer, and good reviews are one way to show that you are reputable.
Testimonials from happy customers are a powerful way to convince potential clients that your law firm is the right choice. If potential clients see that you have five-star reviews, they’re much more likely to choose you over a competing law firm.
Getting lots of stars is all well and good, but it’s quite difficult at first to see how this help’s your firm’s revenues. One study found that just a single star improvement in your reviews on Amazon translated to about a 10% increase in conversions, which is not to be sniffed at.
The more feedback you can get from past clients, the more likely you are to encourage others to work with you as well.
Reviews not only help improve your SEO rankings, but they also put your law firm at the top of search results when people are looking for prospective lawyers. Most people look at online customer reviews from sites such as the Better Business Bureau, Google My Business, and Yelp.
However, each site has its own way of indexing content, so remember there is not a one size fits all approach to managing your online presence.
Customer reviews are one of the best ways to improve your law firm’s visibility online. The more positive reviews you have, the higher up you will move on review websites’ index pages. This increased visibility makes it more likely that potential clients will find and contact your law firm, leading to an increase in revenue through lead conversion.
Identifying Opportunities for Growth
If you want your business to grow, you need to listen to your customers. By observing their positive and negative experiences online, you can get a better understanding of what they really want. If one or two reviews mention a specific problem, it might not be that big of an issue. But if the same issues come up again and again, you know there’s clearly something wrong that needs to be fixed.
You can improve your business by using customer experience as a guide. Each review is an opportunity to learn and become better.
Reinforcing Client Relationships
While many believe that only negative reviews require a response, positive reviews present an opportunity to build relationships with existing clients. Showcasing that you care about your clientele not only solidifies the great experiences they’ve had in the past, but also allows you to identify which areas of your business are excelling and where there might be room for improvement.
By responding to law firm reviews with personalized replies, your practice appears more human and relatable. Bear in mind that reviewers have dedicated their time to write about their experience, so you should afford them the same time and respect. Moreover, appearing open-to-feedback is praiseworthy and encourages others to consider your law firm.
How to Handle Client Reviews
If you’re a lawyer, then chances are you’ve been discouraged from asking for online reviews because negative feedback could potentially harm your reputation.
While it’s normal to want to take down or cover up anything that speaks badly of your law firm, that may not always be the best solution. If a review contains false information, it might be defamation – but is legal action really worth it?
Try deep breathing and following these tips instead!
Respond Professionally and Promptly to All Reviews
An inappropriate or unprofessional response to a negative customer review online can make your business look even worse than the review itself. If you come across as self-defensive, aggressive, or rude in your response, it will have an even more powerful adverse effect on your law firm than the initial bad review.
Conversely, not responding at all is also detrimental; it sends the message that you don’t value your clients’ experiences and that you see no importance in client communication. In fact, 20% of customers who leave reviews expect a reply within 24 hours.
It’s important to stay calm and maintain a professional manner when you handle negative reviews. Arguing with the client through a comment thread is not advisable. Instead, you should encourage the unhappy client to contact you directly so that you can continue the conversation privately.
Apologize for their negative experience and let them know that you’re willing to work toward finding a more positive resolution. It’s crucial to respect your clients’ privacy, so avoid revealing anything specific about their case in public forums.
Handling Negative Reviews
Negative online reviews can come as quite a shock to many law firms who have neglected monitoring their digital presence – but it’s important to remember that taking legal action against false claims made in these reviews may be an option. While it’s seldom possible to get a review removed entirely, some attorneys have had success challenging blatantly untrue statements in court.
The Streisand effect is something to keep in mind before taking any legal action against somebody for a negative review. It may bring more attention than the original criticism, and you should be absolutely certain that the publicity will not have a negative impact on your law firm’s reputation.
Although it is an unpleasant task, responding professionally to negative critique can mitigate some of the defamation. In addition, flooding the internet with good reviews from happy clients will help overcome most criticism.
Some argue that law firms should simply ignore negative online reviews, to avoid giving them more attention. This may be a good idea if the negative review is just a one-star rating with no explanation. If there is no real information in the review, it will be outnumbered by the many clients posting positive reviews solicited by the firm.
Encourage more Positive Reviews
While you can’t erase a bad online review, you can neuter its impact by downplaying it with sheer numbers. Once you’ve given a professional response to any negative feedback, try to sweep it under the rug somewhat by mustering more customer reviews and varied opinions. This is done best by encouraging an influx of new reviews.
Most people will ignore the few negative reviews your law firm gets if the majority of reviewers say they’ve had positive experiences. So go ahead and ask your happy clients to leave reviews.
If you want positive reviews, simply ask your satisfied clients via email. Chances are they’ll be more than happy to oblige and leave a positive review or two online – which requires very little convincing on your part. Often, previous clients who had a positive experience with you are more than eager to tell others about it.
Creating a review landing page on your website makes it simpler for customers to write more reviews about your business, boosting your online reputation.
It’s worth mentioning that some popular review sites, such as Yelp, have policies forbidding businesses from asking customers to post reviews. Make sure you know the law before requesting a client write reviews on any site.
Where to Collect Reviews for Your Law Firm
There are many locations where your legal client reviews can live, just like any other industry. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular places to collect lawyer reviews.
Google My Business
You can easily set up a Google My Business profile for free to monitor and engage with your positive online reviews (or negative ones), which will be one of the first things that prospective clients see.
This is an effective way to improve your business reputation and generate more leads.
Facebook is easy to use for businesses and reviewers, making it a valuable tool. And, like Google, you can keep an eye out for negative reviews.
It’s important for review sites to link to social media platforms like Facebook in order to make it as simple as possible for a potential client to contact you directly.
Avvo is a popular platform that provides users with resumes, direct communication methods, and online reviews. This website is often used by potential clients to read reviews and testimonials about lawyers’ services.
Avvo operates with a rating system that goes up the more active you are on the site. It is based on use and not expertise. If this is confusing for a prospective client, remember to be active and keep your score high.
Yelp for lawyers is comparable to your Facebook page or Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), in that you can show your business information on their stage.
By doing this, you allow potential customers who are looking for legal services in your area to find your law firm or lawyer’s listing.
The great thing about using this platform is that it doesn’t require constant management; set it up correctly from the beginning and then you’re good to go!
Based on the reviews given by past clients, potential customers will get a sense of care and quality you instill in your services. Therefore, you should try and rack up a few good reviews for your Yelp listing.
Better Business Bureau
Although this particular resource may not be the first one that comes to mind, the BBB is a great platform for reviews because its primary focus is monitoring a business’s progress.
The site has become known for its truthful ratings and reviews, and it surpasses other review sites because they look into complaints that are filed. As a result of this thorough process, people seeking out qualified lawyers can do so with confidence.
This site is a great resource for a potential client because it features reviews from both firms and individual lawyers.
Lawyers.com has user-friendly mobile and desktop versions, as well as a navigation bar with common topics such as practice area, location and cost of legal services. This makes it easy for potential clients to find what they are looking for.
Your Law Firm Website
Your company website is the ideal location to show off your best reviews. You are in complete control of which ones you want to display and how you want to present them!
Testimonials are one of the most powerful tools in a law firm’s digital marketing arsenal—but only if they’re done right. If you want to generate leads and showcase your law firm’s capabilities, make sure to use testimonials on your website, in your email campaigns, and across your social media platforms.
Here at Pronto we have years of experience dealing with law firms and providing solutions to help increase their online presence. If you want a dedicated team of pros and SEO specialists to handle your digital marketing needs, get in touch and schedule a conversation today.