In the legal world of 2018, leveraging client reviews of your services can fuel competitive success.
Reviews are driving business performance because customers are doing more of their own research than ever before, using social media and online discussion forums as search engines for what they want to buy. Crucially, customers in 2018 do not trust businesses to provide unbiased information about what they are offering, though they still rely on them to learn about their services.
One 2017 study, which examined how important attorney reviews are to those looking for legal services. They found that 84% of respondents require law firms to have an average review score of 4 or 5 stars (out of 5) before hiring them. The message is clear: if your firm has less than a 4-star user rating online, your competition is winning.
Keep reading to pick up some tools and tips for sourcing client testimonials to give your legal practice a leg up in a market increasingly guided by end user feedback.
Which Review Sites Matter to Clients?
According to recent research, businesses that promote their brand with unfiltered customer feedback are twice as likely to influence customers’ purchasing behavior. But although the value of client testimonials is clear, what’s less clear is where it’s best to find them.
The 2017 study of attorney reviews cited above found that 87% of respondents said Google reviews (specifically, a company’s Google My Business page) mattered most to them, with nearly half saying they also rely on reviews found through Yelp and Facebook.
All of that probably makes good sense. What may surprise attorneys is that, of those clients surveyed, only 3% said that AVVO reviews matter to them at all.
Tip: to see what review sites your clients are using to leave feedback about your firm, see what sites show up most often when you search for your firm, attorney names, location, and area of practice.
How to Encourage Client Reviews
You may be sold on using reviews, and have a good idea where your clients like to find them, but still wonder how to best encourage clients to provide them in the first place.
Here are some effective methods:
1. Plant Your Flag on the Sites Clients Use
Once you learn what sites potential clients use to learn about your firm from others (see above), be sure to encourage past or current clients leave their feedback there.
Determine which profile pages show up most in searches for your firm, claim them when the site prompts you to do so, and edit the page to ensure it contains accurate information.
Here are some useful links for claiming a business profile on some of the most commonly used review sites:
Google My Business: https://business.google.com/
2. Ask For It
The simplest and arguably the most important thing you can do to secure valuable testimonials is to ask your clients for them.
Clients (as do most people) respond well to upbeat, simple, and consistent messaging, for which email outreach is an effective tool. Following tip #1 above will get you a URL which clients can follow directly to your review page on the site you chose.
Tip: it’s prudent to solicit online reviews only from those clients whom you believe are likely to offer positive feedback.
3. Follow Up
Whether or not clients accept your invitation to leave online testimonials, there are productive actions for your firm to take in response.
If your invitation is ignored, one or two polite follow-up communications are appropriate and may help nudge them.
If you suspect the client is harboring dissatisfaction, a phone-call is a good way to seek further information while demonstrating that you take their feedback seriously. Both of which can only serve to strengthen your relationship with that particular client and reflect well on your firm in general.
When a client accepts your invitation to leave a review, and the results are positive, thank them publicly on the review site or privately, asking their permission to republish their review on the firm’s home site.
If the results are negative, many strategies are available, but it is often best simply to let it be and move on.
Client testimonials are the currency of a company’s reputation in an era when social media and virtual communication have begun to take the place of old-fashioned word-of-mouth.
Converting web browsers to consultations and clients requires that you not only acknowledge their feedback but encourage and engage with it. With the tips we’ve just discussed, you’ll be in a strong position to do just that.
About the Author
Christian Golden, PhD, writes about tips and trends in digital marketing and social media for TrustRadius. He is a philosopher by day who loves teaching and digging into the big questions. His extracurricular interests include making music, reading comics, watching (really old) movies, and being in the great outdoors.