Word-of-mouth. Attorneys have built robust client bases on just this.
With the advent of the Internet, word-of-mouth today takes the form of online reviews, as billions of voices are aggregated on a five star scale. But just as a strong review can boost sales, a few or even a single negative review can lose you many clients.
In fact, a recent study revealed that 93% of consumers consulted the Internet to find a local business, and 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. Only 48% of consumers said they would consider using a business with fewer than 4 stars.
Businesses often send complaints to Google, Facebook, or even Yelp, asking the online giants to remove the unverified negative reviews. Unsuccessful in these attempts, many businesses have turned to the courts for a legal remedy and sue online users for defamation, often seeking the names of anonymous users.
Google and Facebook have continued to face lawsuits over defamatory reviews, as some lawyers argue that there is a duty of care and these online sites should invest resources into identifying and removing fake reviews. In one case, a Federal Court judge ordered Google to reveal the identity of a disgruntled client so that a Melbourne dentist could take legal action.
Looking for a less costly and more effective alternative to legal action? Here’s some ways to manage your online reviews and improve your online rating.
1. Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews Quickly and Professionally
Simply leaving a quick “Thank you” on glowing reviews can encourage positive reviewers. You should also personally request your satisfied clients to leave positive reviews.
Your response to the negative review should be professional and reiterate your firm’s policies. Use this as an opportunity to explain your firm’s strengths and provide a reasonable explanation for the client’s dissatisfaction. As you’re writing, keep in mind the potential client who will be reading the review on your response. How would you appease their concerns?
2. For Negative Reviews, Move the Conversation Offline
Try to identify the negative reviewer. If the reviewer was a previous client, reach out and ask how you can improve their experience. If possible, offer a solution to the former client that may appease their concerns.
If the review is anonymous, you may provide the reviewer a means to contact you by phone or email. Just the act of taking the time to hear the client’s concerns and potentially resolve them will demonstrate to the reviewer and other potential clients that your firm places a great emphasis on client satisfaction and truly cares about its clients.
If you resolve the disgruntled client’s concerns, let them know that you would appreciate their honest feedback, and request an update to the previous negative review to reflect their current satisfaction.
3. Strengthen Your Client Service
Online reviews can serve as constructive feedback if you respond to them effectively to improve your service. Instead of employing expensive consultants to help define your brand, replicate the actions that lead to positive reviews and address any issues that lead to negative ones.
Furthermore, as you hone your brand of client service, make sure that your branding and message is consistent on all your sites–website, social media, and any other channels that your brand communicates with potential clients.
Still struggling to receive referrals? LawChamps can help you find clients in an affordable and effective manner. We will match you with clients that match your expertise and geography.
This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
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