1. Go The Extra Mile By Providing Top Service
It sounds trite to talk about ‘providing extra service’, ‘going the extra mile’ and so forth but there is no substitute for actually providing service that your clients will not only talk about – but they will want to talk about it.
Get ‘review-friendly’ service as a top priority. With legal clients you are frequently dealing with difficult, stressful situations involving clients – divorce, criminal proceedings, civil action, bankruptcy etc – but if you provide as much support and assistance as you can you can ally yourself with clients who will be equally supportive of your law firm.
If you are empathetic, communicating well, relieving their stress as much as possible and giving them and patient answers they seek you will be helping to provide a top quality service that will generate an important connection and ability for the client to become an advocate for your firm, just as you are an advocate for them.
And then – most important of all – ask them for a review. Asking for a law firm review by clients is something that many firms simply overlook or fail to do.
You can read about getting reviews from this article from lawyermarketing on gaining reviews in a hypothetical context.
Do so in a manner that is not coming across as self aggrandizing and promotional, but simply mention to them that a review would be extremely helpful for yourself and also for others in their situation who require the sort of legal and other support that you have (hopefully) provided for them.
2. Get You Law Firm Profile On The Top Review Sites
It goes without saying that you need your review site listings, which provide the ability for clients to leave their review but as good review site for your law firm will also better enable traffic to be driven to the site.
You can list on any number of major review sites, which we have listed in this article.
You need to remember that Google will use positive client reviews for your law firm to rank your own firm better. Their whole focus is on providing relevant content and to have your good client reviews will help lift your firm rankings on Google and should be a key part of your law firm SEO strategy.
Among the top law firm review sites to look at (although not an exclusive list) include the following –
Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is a free platform permitting the listing of business information and publication of reviews. It should be the Number One platform to go to when listing your law firm and sending your clients to for posting reviews because of Google’s obvious dominance and importance in your online SEO strategy.
Like Google My Business, Bing Places is a free platform where law firms and other businesses can have reviews published, assisting in higher rankings on the not-to-be-overlooked Bing search pages.
Avvo is a specialized legal review site and therefore an obvious choice for law firms seeking good review rankings and a clear choice for those prospective clients seeking law firm reviews.
Clents can submit their rankings on law firms and text their reviews to reach different ‘layers’ in Avvo’s review system. It is important for law firms to have as much information as possible on the Avvo profile, which will assist not only with overall visibility and to drive traffic, but also with the ability to properly generate the best reviews you can.
Yelp is one of the most popular review sites but is not without its issues. Many businesses get frustrated by Yelp’s often pushy sales tactics. Know that having a free profile on Yelp should be enough to generate reviews for your business; you don’t need all the bells and whistles.
Yellowpages, BBB, and similar review sites are on par with Yelp when it comes to helping you boost your law firm’s authority online. Try to aim for the top-tier review sites and avoid paying for placement on any sketchy sites.
While Facebook is technically a social media platform, you can still generate reviews on your Facebook business page. This page also has the chance to rank in the organic search results.
While most law firms generate business from local search in Google and Bing, they can still attract clients on Facebook. And since most clients are on Facebook already, this is an easy place to generate reviews.
Simply create a business page for your law firm, input your business information, and add high-quality images. Then, you can share the link to your Facebook page every time you want to ask a client for a Facebook review.
3. Ask When They Are Happy With You
Clearly in the law, it is going to be a situation where there is often high stress and concern, depending upon the nature of the legal work your firm is doing. However, even when a result or legal process is challenging for everyone, there will generally be a time when your client will be happy with the work done and it is then that you should ask them for a review.
Handling often long and complex legal work – quite apart from the easier, shorter jobs – can create a strong bond between attorney and client and this can lead to a positive relationship sufficient to ‘earn’ your firm a positive review so long as you actually ask for it.
You should not simply expect your client to leave a positive law firm review by virtue of your overall excellence and ‘nice guy’ approach. Ask for it.
Consider the ‘template’ for asking from this post on HubSpot –
If you have had a really positive experience with the client and they are happy then they will be highly motivated to leave a good review.
They can be brief and to the point, but legitimate (obviously) and sincere. Consider these typical reviews for Miami DUI lawyer Jonathan Blecher.
They are short, concise, and note too they are a couple of months apart with a total of over 140 reviews that help the firm propel its online credibility in a competitive legal area and clearly following a strategy of ensuring they keep on coming in. Service is important, clearly, but so to is asking for the ‘order’.
4. Remind Clients to Post a Review
You don’t want to be pestering clients to post a review, but if you follow up cleverly with a thank you and to check on their situation, should that be appropriate, then you can also remind them to post a review.
You may send text messages if you have their consent and you need to do so a few days after you have concluded your business from them when (hopefully) they are happy and they also have your services top-of-mind.
When you forward an email or text message for a review also make sure that you include a link to the review page and a direct request – or ‘call to action’ – to post their review for you.
You may even offer some incentive for a review – no, not a bribe! – to encourage their review. It may be a voucher, a discount or some
5. Offer Incentives (The Right Way)
Offering incentives in exchange for reviews can be a testy art, which often goes against many third-party platforms’ guidelines. Many review sites are strict about how businesses can ask clients for reviews.
You can certainly encourage clients to leave a review for your law firm but try to avoid offering a one-to-one exchange, like a review, in exchange for a discount.
You can also ask your client to Like your page on Facebook without directly requesting a positive review. However a clear intent is to help promote your firm and they may well have a natural inclination towards providing a positive review on Facebook or one of the other review sites. You have made your promotional intent ‘top of mind’ for them.
Remember: Monitor and Respond to Client Reviews Across All Platforms
You need to make sure you are monitoring the various review platforms so you can respond to both positive and negative reviews. Doing so will build credibility and authority from your firm and, in particular, ensure you are dealing with the negative reviews in a proactive manner.
There is no doubt that negative reviews can have a significant impact on your business and it is completely important to ensure that as part of your obtaining law firm reviews by clients that you also regulate and respond promptly and professionally to the occasional negative review that will emerge.
Here’s what a writer on Podium wrote recently about the ‘negative review’ issue –
Don’t be afraid to ask for a review from satisfied law clients. More often than not, dissatisfied consumers use review platforms to review law firms and you don’t want their comments to be the only thing potential clients see. It also takes forty positive reviews to undo the damage of a negative one. Fortunately, many happy clients who are asked to leave a review will do so.
Remember that clients are going to be much more likely to trust the quality of your firm based on others’ experiences. Consumers understand that quality isn’t shown by having one 5 star review; that could be an outlier.
Remember too that there are ways you can have negative reviews or spam removed from the review sites, but the faster you are able to address the issue the better the chances of (a) having a review removed, if that is an option and (b) countering negative criticism about your law firm.
The relatively little effort required to build reviews is something that is well worth while. Compared to often costly paid advertisement promotions via Adwords, Facebook advertising and other means, the client review process is one of the most effective ways you can build your client basis and law firm.
Let us know if you have any questions at all or have comments about your success in gaining client reviews for your legal practice.