No matter much we may wish to deny it sometimes, we are living in the age of the online review. A good review can boost your business, while a bad one could cost you calls from prospective clients. That is a lot to hang on tiny cartoon stars; some may even say that reviews are given far too much weight. However, the reality is that people want to hear the honest opinion of another average person – not an advertising exec or designer – before they buy something or pick up the phone to call a company.
Of course, online reviews are not always honest or true; but in an increasingly globalized world, they are the best tool we have to try and peek behind the advertising curtain. For consumers, online reviews can be confusing as you try to decide which ones to trust. But for many marketers, online reviews are a battlefield. Getting the happy clients to leave a review is tough, while unhappy clients are often quick to vent under the protective shield of online anonymity. At MediaSmack, our client base is mostly lawyers, which can make this divide even wider; happy clients don’t want to discuss a private case and people who do not have a case may leave a poor review out of frustration.
Still, while it is not possible to get 100 percent glowing reviews all the time, there are some easy ways to encourage good reviews and manage not-so-good ones.
How to Get Reviews for Your Business or Law Firm
Use the below tips to help generate the positive online buzz that can make all the difference:
- Don’t be afraid to ask. First and foremost, it never hurts to ask for a good review, especially from a happy client. However, be careful not to be pushy or to solicit for reviews. That means you can’t offer incentives for a review. Still, sending out an email or asking in person when you see your client can make a big difference.
- Pro Tip: Clients are more likely to leave reviews if you take the time to build a relationship with them. If you care for your clients, they’ll return the favor.
- Time your request carefully. For lawyers, the best time to ask for a review is after the conclusion of a successful case, especially if the client gets to pick up a settlement check. In other businesses, the time to ask is after a successful sale or the conclusion of a contract.
- Pro Tip: You know your customers; only ask the ones who seem genuinely happy with your service!
- Give people options. There are lots of review outlets that people may check before choosing an attorney. So, ideally, you need good reviews in several different places. A good way to get a nice mix of reviews on different platforms is to offer people options when you ask for a review. For example, in your email, say something like: We would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to review our law firm on Google, Yelp or Facebook. Include links to keep it simple!
- Pro Tip: All review outlets count. But if you’re making a list to offer clients, put Google at the top! Those stars show in the search results and can boost your site’s placement, too.
- Follow up, but not too much. Don’t harass clients for reviews. However, it doesn’t hurt to send a reminder now and then if a client hasn’t reviewed you yet. A simple email or phone call is a great strategy, especially if the email or call has another purpose other than just reviews. Again, moderation is key – reach out once a month, tops.
- Pro Tip: This is a great time to get creative. Let the client know how much a review means to your business. Alternatively, ask if the client considered reviews before he or she called you in the first place.
- Always respond to negative reviews. Bad reviews happen, it’s a part of business. However, taking the time to respond to them, and in a timely manner, is a great way to show that you are caring and responsive, even when dealing with someone who is unhappy. If the review is outright negative or clearly false, you should still reply politely while making it clear that the review does not accurately reflect your business.
- Pro Tip: Respond to your positive review, too! Saying thank you or adding a personalized message shows future client that you care about the people you work with, even after the case or transaction is over.
MediaSmack helps clients develop review templates and form emails to encourage law firm reviews.