What Lawyers Should Know About Online Reviews

By Law Firm Suites - October 5, 2017
What Lawyers Should Know About Online Reviews

Follow this article to learn about online reviews and how to respond to certain types of reviews.

Referrals and recommendations are some of the primary sources of law firm growth, and traditional offline recommendations are still commonplace.

However, if lawyers do not pay attention to social media, Google My Business online reviews and testimonials, your firm will stay stagnant while your good standing dwindles. Now is the time to pay attention to the online customers and respond to them.

Their word of mouth is paramount to a lawyer’s future.

The Review

The approach for online reviews begins with accessing Google My Business and reading reviews that customers have written about you and your firm. Search social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus for reviews connected to your name or law firm. You can search Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and YouTube for reviews as well.

The read the results in their entirety. Too often people read the headline and jump to conclusions, creating misunderstandings. Then, react to reviews based on the feedback.

The Good

Positive reviews encourage potential clients to choose you over the competition. Lawyers should respond to positive reviews with kind yet professional words. Besides, it’s just good manners to respond to someone who compliments you.

Tell the reviewer the feedback is kind and appreciated. This may encourage them to recommend your service to others. Likewise, readers will see this as a company who values their customers. Both responses elevate your online status.

Boost your online reputation further by sharing positive reviews as testimonials. Ask the reviewer first for permission to use their words before plastering them all over your website.

Alternatively, dedicate a page to online testimonials. Similar to a guest book, encourage clients to leave a review on the website so visitors browsing can see the remarkable reviews from happy clients. Spread positive reviews across social media websites and Google My Business.

The Bad

Neutral reviews are honest, providing the good and bad of the lawyer and/or firm. Not responding to or ignoring negative and neutral reviews shows potential clients that you don’t care about them or the issue.

This will turn clients away from you and toward the competition.

Generate good publicity by responding to negative feedback. This informs clients and the reviewer their experience matters to you and your firm. It saves face to the company and your reputation because you are being proactive and trying to resolve the situation.

The approach to responding, however, should be professional, polite and brief. Unprofessional behavior, such as sparring with reviewers, won’t make you look good. The heated approach keeps the issue in the forefront, inviting additional people to comment on the situation. The unnecessary attention and exposure may lead to irreversible damage to brand image and legal action.

Instead, write an empathetic and sympathetic review. Apologize for any issues caused on your end, vow to resolve the issue privately, and offer contact info. Taking the conversation offline eliminates escalated mudslinging. The issue fades and online reputation remains intact.

The Ugly

Some negative reviews exist due to unfounded claims and exaggerated incidents that don’t add up. The writers behind the feedback aim to ruin your good standing with the public and destroy your business. In reality, the writer most likely claimed to visit the establishment but actually hasn’t. This is a black hat practice.

Decide whether the review is worth a response by reading the claim thoroughly. Then decide if the writer has a legitimate concern. Respond to legitimate concerns, and in some cases, you can contact Google to have them remove a false review. Unfortunately, it’s best to ignore most testimonials as those reviewers seek attention. Online readers are intelligent. They will weed out pretenders and focus on the legitimate.

Today’s clients respect social media and Google My Business reviews so much they factor those reviews in decisions. It’s time lawyers respect their online reputation and thank reviewers who take the time to say something positive. In the same vein, combat negative reviews threatening your reputation by responding positively and professionally or not responding at all.

Selene is a contributing writer for the Law Offices of Kenneth J Steinberg.  In her spare time, she enjoys shopping and spending time with her puppy.

About Law Firm Suites

Law Firm Suites is the leading NYC shared office space for solo attorneys and small law firms. At Law Firm Suites, attorneys get headache free sublet office space, virtual office rentals and litigation hotel services. Law Firm Suites has two locations in Manhattan, one in White Plains NY, and one in Annapolis MD. Law Firm Suites' community of self-employed lawyers are eager to help colleagues succeed, and routinely exchange over $2.5 million in legal business every year in each LFS business center. Connect with Law Firm Suites on Twitter and .

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