How to Use Online Reviews to Promote Your Business
For people looking for legal advice, there are many ways to assess a law office through online forums and platforms. The comments and testimonials left by others can greatly influence a client’s choice as to which firm legal they will hire for services.
It is imperative that law firms understand the value prospective clients place on online reviews. A smart business owner will track, manage and properly respond to reviews given to the firm. Dealing with online comments promptly can be the difference between success and failure.
Brian Veeder, a product manager at Martindale-Hubbell, says that 95% of consumers use online reviews to help them decide which lawyer to hire. Many people admit that online ratings and reviews are the first things they look for when seeking an attorney.
Although one should never strive to receive a negative review, unhappy customers are a fact of life for any business. The good news is that potential clients feel more comfortable when they see one or two bad reviews among many good reviews. Having an account with no bad reviews seem too good to be true and may be an indication of a fake account. Alternatively, it may indicate that the bad reviews were hidden or scrubbed away. Indeed, firms with a review score between 4.9 and 5.0 may not be as trustworthy as a firm with a review score between 4.0 and 4.7.
Savvy clients also know to take into consideration the number of reviews available, and the date in which they were written. A firm with a 4.9 review score based on 2 customers, written 2 years ago does not generate confidence as compared to, for example, a firm with a 4.7 score from a hundred reviews delivered over a broad time frame.
For law firms as well as other businesses, getting reviews is a challenge. Most happy customers walk away happy and don’t take the time to submit a review. If you choose to hire a firm to help you with marketing or SEO (search engine optimization), it is up to you to make sure the reviews generated are real and not fake. Once potential clients feel that the reviews are falsely generated, you will lose authority. Worst yet, purposely generated fake reviews can result in disciplinary action by the bar association and/or penalties. In 2013, a group of 19 companies made an agreement with the New York attorney general to cease writing fake online reviews for businesses and pay more than $350,000 in penalties.
If you are a serious legal firm who wants to use online reviews as a way to promote your business, you should hire a person or have a process in place to read, reply to, and manage online reviews. In addition, listening to your clients’ comments may allow you to improve your services or reassess your business methodologies.
Track your reviews and look for trends. Bad reviews can come from personelle issues, the lack of results, or poor communication. Whatever it may be, use each review as a guide to do better next time. If possible, try to correct any mishaps or at least leave a counter-reply so that you can demonstrate your commitment to your clients.
Brian Veeder recommends using the “THEM” method to analyze client reviews:
● Timing: reply to reviews promptly to show that you are listening to your customers.
● Honesty: If you were at fault, admit to your mistakes and make comments on how you could remedy the situation.
● Empathy: Imagine yourself as the client: what would you want to be done if you were the client.
● Message: If possible, make a counter-reply so the unhappy client can understand the situation better. If not, the reply is still an opportunity for you to tell your side of the story.
Khashayar Law Group