4 Positive Strategies to Combat Negative Online Reviews About You or Your Law Firm

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bad-online-reviewsEighty eight percent of customers have been influenced by an online review in making a purchase decision, according to Zendesk, a customer service software platform. That means managing your law firm’s online reputation is a vital part of generating new clients for your firm.

A request recently came in from an attorney interested in collaborating with our group and a quick online search of the attorney’s name revealed why he is struggling to gain work. The first page of search results on his name displayed postings about unethical business practices, and several negative user reviews – without one positive comment or response from the attorney himself.

This sort of online presence is deadly for attorneys and law firms. Here’s what you need to do to reverse or prevent this from happening to you.

1   Attempt to have inaccurate bad reviews removed

Most online review sites generally do not remove bad reviews. However, if the review is blatantly inaccurate (such as the reviewer posted about your firm, but meant a different firm down the street), and you can prove the inaccuracy, they do occasionally remove those posts. Of course, if the review is simply unfavorable, but factually valid, your request for removal will be ignored.

2   Work to get more positive reviews to dilute the impact of the negative review

Read our blog article on how to generate positive reviews and testimonials for your firm. And make sure they get posted. The more new (hopefully they will be positive) reviews that are posted, the more the older bad ones drop off the first page and are less likely to be found or read. Positive reviews are often harder to get, as they sometimes require asking your clients to post about their experiences with your firm.  People today are often quick to post about less-than-satisfactory experiences. If you’re diligent about encouraging good reviews from your clients then a poor one will barely count against you, if at all.

3   Post a response online to the reviewer to apologize and offer to make things right 

Be tactful with your apology, and, again, don’t make excuses. Express your concern for their feelings and offer to correct any and all issues that lead to the client’s unhappiness. You may have to offer to refund a portion of fees to make things right, if the complaints involved fees, potential fraud or misrepresentation.

4   Respond directly to the poster of the bad review and work to fix the situation

Often the reviewer will post an update to the review discussing how you responded following the bad review. And what they say in the update could have as much power as an initial positive review.

The best time to respond to an unfavorable online review is ASAP. Contact the reviewer offline, sincerely apologize for your actions that caused them to feel unhappy with your service, and work to rectify any and all issues of concern to them – even if it costs you money to do so.

Don’t make excuses. Own the problems, and let the client know you appreciate them bringing the issue to your attention so you may be more aware and prevent the issue from happening again. If the client is satisfied with the resolution, they will often post an update and improve their online opinion of you and your firm.

When others read the original review, and how you responded to resolve the complaint, they will look more favorably upon you and your firm.

At LeadQ, we post positive reviews to the client-generation campaign sites we promote for the law firms we work with – reviews and testimonials you’ve already received, but may not be readily seen by people viewing the first page of search results. Even if those good reviews appear elsewhere on the internet, the impact of posting them again directly on the campaign site adds visibility and credence that can help outweigh the bad ones.

Author: Jim Rauch

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