Are you aware that people who post a review on Google are notified after a business owner responds? This alone should motivate law firms to respond to every review as a way to help build relationships with clients.
In fact, one of the best ways to take the sting out of a negative review is to accept it as a challenge to remedy the reviewer’s dissatisfaction. You can do this by following these 4 steps:
Acknowledge the problem.
Even if you believe the reviewer is wrong, acknowledging the issue is important. Thank them for providing feedback and bringing the issue to your attention. This is an important first step in reaching a solution.
Provide the reviewer with an apology, even if you think they’re wrong. By taking the high road, you are demonstrating to every reader of this review — including the original poster — that your firm has set a high standard for every client interaction and intends to meet it. This apology doesn’t need to be lengthy; it just needs to be sincere — i.e., “Thank you for letting us know that your experience with our firm did not live up to our own standards or your expectations. Please contact us at [phone] so we can discuss this with you at your earliest convenience.”
Sometimes a bad review will go into great detail about the reviewer’s problems with a business, and when this happens, you may need to go beyond an apology to include an explanation to illuminate your side of the story. But when you do, you need to exercise caution, especially if it is someone you actually talked to or represented. If that’s the case, you need to:
- Be empathetic. Whether or not you were in the wrong, the person who blasted you online is obviously in a bad place. Show some sympathy for their situation.
- Respect privacy. Attorneys must follow a strict code of conduct, which includes protecting the privacy of their clients.
- Make yourself available. Offer to speak with them about their complaint and let them know how to reach out to you.
- Explain any fixes. If the negative review was legitimate and you’ve taken steps to rectify the problem, tell the reviewer.
If you’re sure the negative review is fraudulent — some disgruntled former employee or even a competitor masking as a former client posts a fake review — speak up and state (politely) that you have no record of the reviewer as a former or current client. Be classy about it and people will get it.
Offer a reasonable solution.
Depending on the complaint, there may be a reasonable solution you can offer the reviewer. Most of the time, just an offer to discuss the matter privately in an attempt to reach a solution will do the job for you in showing you care.
Once a negative review on your firm is posted online, it is there for everyone to see. You do yourself no favors by ignoring it, and can potentially do yourself a lot of good by responding to it professionally and politely.
Of course, you can’t respond to something you don’t see, so be sure you have Google Alerts set up to search daily for the name of your firm and all your employees.
Remember that 84% of people say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. This means that online reviews have power! Turning a negative review into a positive may take a little effort on your part, but it is critical to do so in order to ensure your online reputation speaks well of your firm.