In two posts last month, we discussed why attorneys need to respond to the online reviews they receive and how to do it. Because more than 80% of people check lawyer reviews as the first step to finding an attorney, we’re taking a step back and looking at strategies for getting good reviews in the first place.
The first step to getting more reviews from clients is asking for them. You may have heard the phrase “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.” Every time that your law firm does not ask a happy client to submit a review, you are missing out on an opportunity to improve your online presence for potential clients.
The absence of positive reviews is compounded by the reviews that unhappy clients will submit without any prompting. In today’s online culture, people who feel they’ve had a negative experience with a business will find websites where they can let other people know just how they feel. People are less likely, however, to proactively submit positive reviews. To do so, they just need a little encouragement.
Some law firms ask clients for feedback, but choose to eschew third-party sites such as Yelp. Instead they put a Testimonials page on their firm website. There’s nothing wrong with a Testimonials page, but readers know that such a page, by definition, contains only complimentary comments. And those positive reviews will not be seen by people who discover you on a third-party site. If your firm doesn’t have positive reviews on Facebook or Lawyers.com, a potential client may not even make it to your website.
Now that we’ve convinced you to ask your clients for reviews, the next step is how to do it. Remember, happy clients want to help you; you just need to send them in the right direction. Here are some tips:
- Ask your clients to submit a review as close as possible to the end of your work with them: Whether you do this at the end of a final meeting at your office or include the request in a closing email, ask your clients to submit a review when the experience is fresh in their mind.
- Make it easy: Include links to any website where a client can submit reviews in your closing email and on your website. If your clients are more technologically inclined, add a QR code to your business card that links to a list of websites where your firm wants reviews.
- Give multiple options: There isn’t one website that people visit for information on attorneys, and there isn’t one website that a client may be willing to use to submit a review. One client may not have a Yelp account, while another may submit daily reviews of every business they interact with. At the end of this article, we summarize some of the most important review sites. Ultimately, the more websites where you have reviews, the better.
- Don’t be too aggressive: Reviews are important, but not so important that it’s worth souring a relationship with a client who may refer people to you in the future. Ask once, and maybe send a follow up one to two weeks later if you don’t believe they’ve submitted a review. We are aware of some law firms who dedicate a computer for clients to use for submitting reviews while in the office. If your firm takes this approach, be careful about creating undue pressure on your client or this may backfire.
Sites to focus on for Client Reviews:
Lawyers.com/Martindale.com — Yes, we’re biased. But one of the main benefits of our sites is that reviewers don’t need to create an account to submit a review. For clients who aren’t web savvy, this may be the best option. Every attorney/law firm profile page on these sites has a link to submit a review. For more information on Martindale-Hubbell reviews, visit our website. (Note: Reviews submitted on Lawyers.com will automatically appear on Martindale.com and vice versa.)
Facebook— Almost everyone has a Facebook account, which is all a client needs to complete a review. If you haven’t created a page for your law firm, you should. Prior to directing clients to Facebook, consider that clients may not be willing to associate their name publicly with a review for personal situations like divorce or bankruptcy.
Google My Business — Even if you haven’t created a Google My Business page for your firm, Google may have created one for you based on information from publicly available directories. You can start here to either claim and update your existing page or build a new one. Clients will need a Google account to submit a review, but anyone with a gmail.com email address already has one.
Yelp — Most people know Yelp as a place to review restaurants or hotels. However, the site accepts reviews for literally any type of business. Clients will need to have an account to submit a review, and your firm may have a page on the site even if you didn’t create one. Click here to create a Yelp page for your firm or claim an existing page.
Client reviews are crucial to how any business, including your law firm, presents itself online to future clients. You’ve seen the smiles on the faces of your clients when they’ve completed the purchase of their first home or received a settlement after an accident. They are glad you were there for them and they want to repay the favor by recommending your services. Make sure they know where to go to do that.