You might have heard that there is no such thing as bad publicity, but that’s not exactly the case when it comes to negative online lawyer reviews. Even a handful of bad reviews can harm your average star rating and dissuade future clients from picking up the phone – and bad reviews can show up in search results above your homepage!
What should you do if you are checking review sites and you come upon a terrible review of your law office? Here are five actions to take immediately:
- Don’t panic. Bad reviews happen to everyone, even the very best companies and attorneys. Sometimes the client didn’t understand your services, sometimes you simply lost a case, and sometimes you did really mess up! Whatever the reason, though, you can take steps to fix the problem.
- Find out if the review is valid. Before making any sort of response, determine whether the review holds water. Talk to whoever was involved with the case and review the facts. Before taking any further action, you need to understand what happened and why. Also realize that sometimes competitors can leave fake negative reviews on your site – if this is the case, contact the review site immediately and explain your situation. Many review sites will take reviews that are proven to be fake.
- Respond publically. Most review sites give the owner of the business an opportunity to tell their side of the story. Do this with all of your reviews! Take responsibility and say you are sorry if something did go wrong, and explain yourself and your actions whether or not you were at fault. Never post a form letter – make it personal and professional.
- Respond privately. Especially if you indeed were in the wrong, contact the person privately and say you are sorry in person. A sincere apology can go a long way – and reviewers can go back and update their reviews if their opinion of your law office changes. Also respond privately if you feel there has been a misunderstanding and you believe the review is not accurate. Most people respond to personal attention.
- Request positive reviews from past clients. Perhaps the best way to make bad reviews less noticeable is to have a chorus of favorable reviews drown it out. Reach out to your best clients and ask them to leave a sincere review. Post on Facebook asking for reviews, too. The sad truth is that people are more likely to leave a review after a bad experience – unless you are asking your happy clients for a small favor after you’ve worked together.
We can help you bolster your presence on review sites and improve your reputation. We also have a great plan for your website redesign. Call today to schedule a free SEO audit: (410) 929-5610.