How To Respond To Negative (and Positive) Online Reviews Of Your Law Firm

In the bustling marketplace of legal services, where words wield the power of swords, there is another battle fought quietly and relentlessly. This isn’t in the grand amphitheaters of courtrooms but in the digital alleyways of law firm online reviews

In today’s digital realm, your reviews are judges, juries, and executioners of your law firm’s reputation. But why do reviews matter so much? Let’s take a look at some facts: 

The power of Online Reviews

In an era when opinions are shared at the click of a button, managing your law firm’s digital reputation has become as crucial as winning your cases. However, you may be surprised to find out that the same study shows that 75% of businesses do not respond to negative reviews! 

Whether they are glowing commendations or damning criticisms, online reviews require a response that is as thoughtful and strategic as the legal advice you give your clients. To help you better prepare, we have crafted this detailed piece that will guide you on the best ways to respond to positive and negative reviews and use the insights to improve your customer service and brand quality.

Why Respond to Reviews?

Does every comment count? In conclusion, yes. Just think back to this thought: ever wondered why the first thing many of us do before trying a new restaurant or booking a hotel is to dive into the rabbit hole of online reviews? It all boils down to trust. 

Strangers aren’t necessarily strangers online. Your potential clients are combing through reviews about your law firm, trying to find a reason to entrust you with their case. Not responding to these reviews would be the equivalent of a lawyer staying silent in court when their client’s reputation is on the line.

Thus, taking your time to respond to these remarks shows your customers that you’re concerned. This is something anyone will appreciate and will make your law firm stand out from the rest who don’t look at their customers’ sentiments, especially the negative ones. 

Ultimately, reviews go beyond what you might think. Some other benefits of online reviews and responsiveness include: 

  • Increase trust and transparency – Responding to reviews fosters trust and showcases your law firm’s commitment to transparency. It shows you aren’t afraid to address the highs and lows of your client experience publicly.
  • Signal top-notch customer service – A well-crafted response to a negative review can not only potentially win back a disgruntled client but also show other clients that your firm takes their concerns seriously. On the other hand, a grateful reply to a positive review can inspire client loyalty.
  • Control reputation management – In the legal world, your reputation precedes you. Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, allows you to manage and influence the narrative surrounding your law firm.
  • Boost rankings – When it comes to law firm SEO, reviews matter. Search engines like Google take note of businesses that frequently interact with their reviews, which can boost your visibility in search results.
  • Garner insights and encourage improvement – Reviews can provide valuable feedback, helping you identify areas of improvement. Addressing these critiques not only demonstrates your commitment to growth but also signals to prospective clients that their experience will be better.

Dealing with a Negative Customer Feedback

Negative comments can cripple your practice, especially if you have just a few reviews. It’s even worse if you let them go without a viable response. You can’t afford to let the wounds fester! 

Remember that the reply isn’t just for the specific viewer; you’ll be speaking to a whole lot of potential clients. Ultimately, the right response to an online review is not just a reply—it’s a potent statement about your firm’s values, service, and commitment to client satisfaction. 

The best reaction, in this case, should be a quick and strategic one. Here are the primary steps that you should follow.

  • Stay calm – Reading through a negative review isn’t simple, and it may feel unfair. The author may use a personal, harsh, or condescending tone, which can attract an emotional response. The best step would be to take a moment before responding.
  • Acknowledge the issue – A negative review communicates a customer’s bad experience, even though the customer might be the problem. Begin by apologizing for the experience, even if it isn’t your firm’s fault. If you’re in the wrong, admit to the fault, then suggest practical solutions to the problem.
  • Express empathy: Make sure to empathize with their dissatisfaction. Using a compassionate tone can help diffuse frustration and show you care about their experience.
  • Offer apologies: Whether you agree with the feedback or not, an apology can go a long way. This isn’t admitting fault but rather showing respect for their perspective.
  • Short responses work – Avoid lengthy responses and keep them short and sweet. Even if the reviewer insults you, never get personal with your reply. Stay calm, polite, and professional until you find the solution.
  • Avoid lengthy discussions – This is incredibly important. No one wants to go through long discussions between a dissatisfied client and your law firm. We cannot stress this enough, the interaction should be solution-focused, aiming to fix the issue as soon as possible. Propose a tangible solution to their problem or explain how you’ll prevent such an issue in the future. This reinforces that you’re committed to continuous improvement.
  • Take it offline – If a customer shares their bad experience that you can solve, try reaching out to them outside via phone call or email. You can respond by notifying them that you’ve reached out to them personally, this can prevent airing sensitive details publicly and helps you address their concerns more personally and thoroughly.

Remember, the goal is not just to placate a dissatisfied client but also to demonstrate to other prospective clients that you handle criticism with dedicated professionalism.

Click here to understand how you can masterfully respond to bad reviews.

Dealing with a Positive Client Review

Nothing gets any better than a customer’s glowing 5-star review, right? Actually, it gets even better if you leave a response to the positive remark! Responding to a positive review is polite and can help you boost your customer relationships and brand identity.

Remember, everyone will view the sentiments, so positive conversations about your practice can do wonders for your practice. Here are the best practices for handling a positive client review:

  • Express gratitude – A ‘thank you’ goes a long way. It’s polite to thank the customer for their positive review and appreciate something specific that they mentioned. This way, they’ll know that a real person has responded, and they might be willing to continue engaging with your agency.
  • Recognize specifics – The details truly do matter. By acknowledging specific pointers from their review —be it the lawyer’s meticulousness, the team’s exceptional communication, or the satisfying outcome of their case—ensure your response mirrors their attention to detail. 
  • Optimize your response – Besides tailoring your message, be sure to include your legal practice’s name, location, category, and any relevant keywords. This will optimize the positive review for SEO.
  • Encourage a broader share – It’s essential to prompt a particular action in your response the client’s experience was particularly positive, suggest they share their experience on other review platforms and share the link to that next step. 
  • Strengthen your connection: Engage further with the client by encouraging them to keep in touch. This can be through a law firm email marketing strategy e.g., asking them to join your firm’s newsletter,  inviting them to connect on social media, etc. 

Pro-tip – Learn from Praise! While it’s easy to focus on the negative feedback for areas of improvement, don’t forget to understand what you did right and feel proud of your accomplishments. Learn from the positive feedback and keep refining those areas, too.

Mastering Your Verdict on Client Reviews

Your firm can definitely turn the tables (for good) and make every review – good or bad – an opportunity for growth. 

At Consultwebs, a digital marketing agency for law firms, we believe just that. We view every challenge as a gateway to new opportunities and every setback as a stepping stone for growth. We empower law firms like yours to navigate the complex digital landscape with confidence. If you’ve been looking to: 

  • Lead to grow
  • Embrace success 
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