When it comes to getting reviews, some industries struggle more than others. Due to the nature of their business, lawyers face some unique challenges. Whether it’s about transparency, compliance, technical hurdles, or etiquette, law firms have many valid concerns about review generation. Law firm review management requires your organization’s efforts, because your reviews impact your credibility. Your law firm can get more reviews on Google, Avvo and more by tackling these four challenges.
The discomfort lawyers feel over asking for reviews
“I had a hard time asking for and obtaining reviews,” admits Jessica T. Ornsby, of the A+O Law Group.
Asking is awkward. It’s a conservative industry. Lawyers are taught to conduct themselves with a certain professionalism, and sometimes asking for reviews can feel like it runs counter to that.
The logistical challenges inherent to review management
If you feel like shaping your online presence usually falls to the bottom of the list, you’re not alone.
“My biggest challenge is lack of time,” says Kevin R. Kahn, of Kahn Media Law. Kahn points out that running a law firm comes with many challenges, including business operations, development, and the time it takes to do substantive legal work. Asking for a review and making it as easy possible for your clients, when not engrained in your process, results in it being naturally abandoned.
Clients don't always feel comfortable sharing a sensitive experience in a review
People who hire, say, criminal lawyers, or bankruptcy lawyers, aren’t exactly eager to tell the entire Internet all about it.
They aren’t the only ones. Privacy is a big deal for many legal clients for a wide variety of reasons.
Getting reliable expert marketing help can be difficult for attorneys
Kahn points out that he can’t rely on freelancers or marketing firms to manage web presence for two reasons.
1. He runs an entertainment law firm. Many of his clients are already celebrities, and all of them are very concerned with their image.
2. He’s encountered a lot of marketing firms and consultants who don’t understand his unique needs.
“The majority of them won’t know how to navigate the complex world of compliance with the Attorney Rules of Professional Conduct.”
Given compliance failures can cost an attorney their job, this is a valid concern.
What can lawyers do to overcome these challenges?
All these challenges have one thing in common.
They’re all super surmountable!
A strategic choices can help your law firm get reviews, build your credibility and strengthen your online reputation.
Strategic Choice #1: Find and implement a process
Ornsby made the request a part of her case closure process.
“Now, when I send out a letter of termination I also send an email with a link directly to the Google Review page for my firm, along with a note of thanks to the client.”
Don’t forget to work in a verbal ask.
For example, at the end of the case that went well you might practice saying, “Case closed, how does it feel?”
If the client feels happy, there’s nothing wrong with, or unprofessional about, saying, “Can you please help other people find me by leaving a quick review on Google My Business or Avvo?“
Combine a few methods, keep them consistent, and you’ll start seeing results. A+O Law Group only has 16 Google My Business reviews as of this writing, which doesn’t sound like that much. In truth, it’s pretty average for the legal industry, and as long as she remains consistent that profile should continue to grow.
Strategic Choice #2: Find a marketing firm or consultant with extensive experience in the legal industry
Some are run by former lawyers. Some are run by former paralegals or legal assistants. Some are run by people who just enjoy working with lawyers.
Whatever their background, there are plenty of people out there who can help you with your review strategy, people who are aware of the ethics governing advertising in the legal sphere.
Then, just commit to checking that firm’s work before they release anything on your behalf. Unless they really are former lawyers themselves, these professionals may still make a minor mistake with big repercussions. Still, this can take 99% of the work of building your online presence right off of your shoulders, leaving you with just a tiny bit of reading and approval to do.
Strategic Choice #3: Focus on providing a level of service that blows your clients away
“As I became more experienced in my practice I became more aware of what clients valued in a professional service like mine,” says Victor Fong, of Fong & Partners, Inc.
“Specifically, they expect quick replies to any questions they may have, 24/7. Lawyers and other professional service providers have a notoriously bad reputation for being unresponsive. As a result, I implemented a policy of replying to any emails or voicemail messages within 15 minutes of receiving them. People thought I was crazy to implement this policy in my firm, but it has worked. Our clients rave about how responsive we are to any inquiries, and as a result, many of them are more than happy to leave great reviews on our Google My Business page when we ask them to do so.”
5-star service is difficult to resist, and in today’s climate it will often result in some reviews simply because people are so grateful to receive it. Plus, it will result in plenty of the same word-of-mouth reviews humanity’s been using since business was born, which will help you build your law firm regardless of what’s happening with your GMB profile.
Of course, you might not find it feasible to answer calls within 15 minutes the way Fong does. Everyone has a different workflow. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to excel. Maybe you’ll send each of your clients a weekly report email. Maybe you’ll set them up with a tech portal the lets them log in and check on the status of their case without having to contact you. Maybe you set up payment plans.
Whatever you do, find a way to make your clients’ lives easier and more pleasant. Then work it to the hilt.
Having 5-star service isn’t a good reason to ignore your review strategy, but it’s what needs to be in place before you bother. Plus, it will offer some help if you do run short on time.
Law firms get more reviews when they don't give up
Earlier I said 16 reviews was high for this industry, and it’s true. Even here in Seattle I mostly see lawyers with 1 or 2 reviews. The ones who are the doing the best only have 25 or 30.
That doesn’t mean 30 reviews is the best you can do. With a little work, you can get closer to 300.
You can even diversify your legal review profile across multiple platforms, as Sadek & Cooper has done.
Make reviews a priority, and you will prevail.