First impressions for businesses are everything – bad ones will likely make you post a bad review on Google. The same goes for your law firm. Clients who see a lot of bad reviews are unlikely to contact you in the first place.
Today, online reviews are the premium marketing currency of the Internet, with 93% of users saying they impacted their buying decisions. Service-based businesses are no exception to this rule.
As a growing brand, your law firm must consider Google reviews, their impact and how to manage them. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about making reviews work for you.
Why are Google reviews important for law firms?
Google reviews influence whether someone decides to contact you or your closest competitor. Reviews are important because 98% of consumers read local business reviews. It’s that simple.
From a solicitor’s perspective, a good review is far more impactful than any other promotional activity because reviews originate from real people with zero skin in the game.
Some of the benefits of paying attention to Google reviews include:
Building Trust – Reviews are an opportunity to build trust in a crowded market. They provide assurance that your firm is effective in legal matters and does its best for its clients. Well-reviewed firms establish that credibility before a potential client ever reaches out.
Social Proof – Social proof is critical for any business. It’s why 44% of law firms encourage clients to post reviews on third-party sites, including Google. The more feedback you receive, the likelier you are to encourage others to choose you as their legal eagle.
Increase Visibility – Reviews can help with local SEO and rankings, which adds to your overall digital footprint. Typically, Google places the best-reviewed law firms at the top of their search results.
Get More Clients – Reviews lead to sales. The average person doesn’t want to take a risk, especially regarding legal issues. If you can obtain lots of positive reviews, clients will choose you because you will be viewed as a safe bet.
Identify Growth Opportunities – Building any law firm requires listening to your clientele. Reviews are a chance to gain insights into what people think of you. For example, if reviews highlight slow response times, you know this is an area to focus on.
Above all, reviews create new relationships and reinforce existing ones. The act of asking for a review shows how much a firm cares about what its clients think. Moreover, add in personalised replies, and it’s a sign that you are relatable and, ultimately, human.
How many reviews does a law firm need?
Your overall rating is pivotal in winning new business. According to a study, 84% of people said they would never hire a law firm if they had a rating of less than four out of five stars. But quantity also matters.
The truth is that no solid numbers exist for how many reviews you need to get X amount of business. Instead, it all depends on your competition. For example, if you operate in South Manchester and the first five law firms that appear have an average of 56 reviews each, this is your target number.
It will always vary based on who you’re targeting and where you’re located.
How to get more Google reviews for your law firm
Reviews are not something that you can force. It’s a long, winding road to get more reviews because most of your clients will not take the time to leave one. One study revealed that just 12% of people “always” left a review when prompted by a business.
So, what are some of the actions you can take to get more reviews for your firm?
1. Ask them
You’d be surprised at the number of businesses that do not ask their clients to leave reviews because they fear annoying them. It’s the most obvious yet overlooked technique solicitors can take advantage of.
The fact is most clients will not be offended or irritated if you ask. Leaving reviews doesn’t come naturally to many people, so prompting them can yield results.
2. Make review requests a part of the offboarding process
Make review requests a standardised part of your offboarding process. Naturally, how you address this will depend on your specific offboarding process.
For example, if signing off with your final email correspondence, include a review request within your usual template to automate the process and remove a potentially uncomfortable interaction.
3. Simplify the process
Clients won’t leave reviews if it’s complex or time-consuming. The key to increasing review rates is to streamline the process.
One idea could be including a direct link to your Google Business Profile or a QR code they can scan from their phones.
Responding to positive and negative Google reviews
Every time someone leaves a review, you should go out of your way to reply to demonstrate your interest in what your clients, past and present, have to say. But how you respond could make or break your business.
The fact is half of law firms don’t engage with review sites, and this comes across as cold and uncaring. Managing responses is easy if you receive a positive review. A quick thank you is all you need, but negative reviews are a different matter entirely.
Follow these tips for responding to Google reviews:
Respond Quickly – All reviews should be responded to quickly. In the case of a positive review, a quick thank you will suffice, but negative reviews require more in-depth responses. Ensure that you address any concerns soon after a negative experience.
Apologise for Poor Experiences – The worst thing any business can do is to push back against a negative review. Even if you are technically correct, the business never wins in this scenario. Apologise for any perceived poor experiences, even if it means swallowing your pride.
Don’t Take It Personally – Lashing out at a perceived injustice is human nature. However, this is a PR disaster waiting to happen. Get into the habit of adopting an objective stance, and don’t be afraid to walk away and take a deep breath before responding later.
Thank Them for the Feedback – Negative feedback is a growth opportunity. Yes, some people can never be pleased, but you should thank them all the same.
Be Empathetic – Be understanding of the other person’s perspective, even if you disagree with it. Empathy prevents you from getting defensive and stops you from descending to their level.
Tailored Responses Only – Everyone knows when a business uses a copy-paste response. Always take the time to tailor your response to the specific situation.
Managing reviews can be challenging, but it’s all part of the modern business landscape. Reviews are an opportunity to grow your business. Master them, and you will grow. Perform poorly, and your competitors will sneak ahead of you.
At Tao Digital, we support law firms in building their reviews and using them to their advantage. To learn more about how we can help your business achieve its goals, speak to the team today.