There’s no better means of promoting a professional business today than the use of online reviews. Positive third-party online reviews can take your law firm to the next level. Personal referrals and word of mouth have their place in drumming up new business, but they will never come close to the exposure you can receive through online reviews. Positive online reviews across multiple platforms and search engines could very well be the key to the success of your legal firm.
How Important are Reviews for Attorneys?
When consumers are looking for an attorney to represent their interests in a legal matter, where do they turn to first? Modern technology has made the Internet the number one source of information for just about any business inquiry consumers may have. This makes it essential for law firms to have a strong online presence in order to compete. Your online presence should include a fair amount of positive online reviews.
Positive online reviews can help establish your law firm as experts in the legal field. Studies show that in 2017 alone, over 97% of consumers turned to online reviews to help them choose a company to do business with. Approximately 85% of consumers acknowledged they trusted online reviews more than a referral from family or friends.
When it came to searching for an attorney, 75% of consumers indicated they used online resources to find the lawyer they needed. Approximately 65% of these said their decision to hire a certain attorney was influenced by online reviews. If perfect strangers can have such a major impact on people’s decision to hire an attorney, imagine the potential you have of increasing your customer base by petitioning your clients for reviews.
Effects of Online Reviews on a Law Firm
Positive online reviews can give your law firm greater standing in your local community as they reveal what fellow residents have to say about their experience with your firm. Positive reviews from former customers can put your name on the top of the list when people need an attorney to handle their legal affairs.
With so many people resorting to online reviews to help them find an attorney, it’s to your advantage to make reviews readily available to your online target audience. The more positive reviews your firm has, the greater your chances of being selected over your competition.
Naturally, you want to avoid having bad reviews posted online. But few or no reviews could be just as detrimental to your cause as it gives consumers the impression that your law firm is inexperienced in its field.
The goal is to encourage former clients to write positive reviews that make a good impression on individuals who are in the process of selecting an attorney to represent their legal interests. With so much competition among law firms today, people aren’t willing to settle for just an “ok” attorney- they want an attorney who stands out in his field. They’re even willing to travel to the next town to hire an attorney with excellent reviews.
In a recent survey regarding the use of online reviews for hiring attorneys, 264 people out of the 316 interviewed indicated they would only hire law firms that received, on average, a 4- or 5-star rating on their reviews. This shows how much consumers value reviews in selecting a lawyer. If your firm’s rating falls short of these expectations, you could very well be losing clientele. Poor reviews obviously have a negative impact on people looking for the services of an attorney. To get top reviews, your law firm needs to provide top services to your current clientele.
Keep in mind that third-party reviews across various platforms will carry more weight than reviews placed on your website. Consumers expect you to post positive reviews on your site. Third-party reviews, however, generate greater validation and trust.
In addition to good ratings, consumers want to see a fair amount of reviews from former customers as this gives them a more accurate picture of how people view the services you provide. The combination of review count and review score influence consumers in selecting an attorney.
Where Should You Collect Reviews?
Quite frankly – everywhere you can! By collecting reviews across multiple platforms, you’ll reach a greater audience. You could also narrow your prospects to the most effective platforms, i.e. Google and Facebook, as these two sites are where the majority of people wind up when doing business searches.
Google reviews carry a lot of weight when consumers search for law firms due to the company’s reputation for providing relevant content. Google is well aware of the influence ratings have on consumers searching for an attorney online. For this reason, Google prioritizes law firms that have a substantial amount of positive reviews in their search results.
How to Increase Your Firm’s Reviews
Knowing the influence that positive reviews can have on your law firm should motivate you to solicit as many reviews as possible from former clients. If you’ve provided exceptional services to your customers, positive reviews shouldn’t be so difficult to obtain. Most consumers are happy to comply. In fact, the best time to request a review is immediately after services have been rendered, assuming your customers are happy with the services they received.
Once you start receiving reviews, take time to monitor what people are saying about your firm. This gives you a better idea of how you’re doing, from the perspective of your valued customers. Make an effort to respond to as many reviews as you can – positive and negative – to show you’re interested in what your clients have to say.
Never ask employees for reviews and never pay or offer incentives for reviews, as this goes against Google’s policy.
How to Handle Negative Reviews
When you ask for reviews, there’s always the chance of getting negative reviews along with the positive ones. Although negative reviews can lower your overall rating, they can also provide you with opportunities to see where you need to improve. A few negative reviews here and there can even make your law firm appear authentic.
By handling negative reviews in a positive manner, you can earn customers’ trust. Always make an effort to address issues brought up in negative reviews. Apologize to your client to wipe the slate clean. If you can rectify the problem, do so, even if it’s at your own expense. Your sincere efforts to make things right can convert an unhappy client into a satisfied client who will let others know what you have done.
The success of your law firm depends on providing exemplary services to your current clients and drawing in more clients who are in need of legal help. Positive Google reviews will play a key role in accomplishing this goal.