More than ever, online reviews are having a major impact on the decisions of people who are looking for lawyers and legal services.
Are you managing what your clients are saying on online review sites? You should be.
Just check out these stats:
- Approximately 83 percent of people check lawyer reviews as the first step to finding an attorney.
- 70 percent of clients are willing to go to an attorney in an inconvenient location if that attorney has better reviews and higher ratings than legal professionals who are closer to home.
- Quality of service and years of experience (48 percent) are the two most important types of information for clients when reading online reviews of lawyers and law firms. Meanwhile, 38 percent agree that a professional’s overall rating is important information when looking for legal services.
Where are clients leaving online reviews?
With reviews having the potential to affect the reputation of your entire practice, firm, or organization, it’s important to invest in review management efforts and stay on top of what’s being said online by your clients. Here’s a list of sites to help you get started.
Yelp is the go-to site for restaurants and shopping, but it has its own category for lawyers, too – under “Professional Services.” In fact, according to research firm Software Advice, Yelp is the No. 1 consumer review site of choice for those who are hoping to choose lawyers.
You can follow this step-by-step guide on how to claim your business page on Yelp.
The world’s most popular search engine also happens to have a pretty extensive collection of lawyer reviews, as well as reviews of law firms and other businesses in the legal services industry. With a verified listing on Google+, you can attract potential new clients, showcase your 5-star reputation on Google Plus, Google Search, and Google Maps, manage your clients’ reviews, and use these reviews to improve your search (SEO) performance.
To get started with managing your business information on Google, you’ll need to sign up for a Google My Business account.
Here’s the step-by-step guide to get you started.
Avvo is an online legal services marketplace with ratings, reviews, and disciplinary records for lawyers in every state, as well as lawyer-submitted legal guides. The site was founded in 2006, and it has since grown to have 7.6 million searchable legal questions and answers. According to the company, 97 percent of US lawyers use Avvo. So you definitely don’t want to be part of the 3 percent that gets left behind.
Creating or claiming your attorney listing on Avvo? Read this guide for information on how to do it.
Founded in 1998, Lawyers.com provides consumers with legal information, and includes the ability to search for lawyer reviews by location or by area of law. The site collects both client ratings and peer ratings, which appear on every listing. According to the company, over 34 million people search for legal assistance and legal services on Lawyers.com every year.
To create or manage your information on Lawyers.com, register first as a user then use the site’s search box to find your individual attorney profile. Then, on your profile page, look for the “Edit This Profile” option to update your information.
Alternatively, you can sign up for the marketing solutions offered by LexisNexis, which powers the data on Lawyers.com. Solutions include legal profiles and advertising, website design, search engine promotions, social media and blog marketing, and lawyer ratings and review management.
Also, Lawyers.com is part of the Martindale-Hubbell network, so if you would like to submit a profile or request some changes to your profile, you may visit http://www.martindale.com/Products_and_Services/martindale_Connected/profile.aspx.
Martindale-Hubbell aims to include all US and Canadian lawyers in its network, so basic profiles come without charge. You’ll need to submit information such as: name, position, firm, street address, city/state/country, practice areas, education, year/state/province of first admission, ISLN number, and disclaimer copy.
Review management best practices
Once you’ve successfully created or claimed your profile, it’s important to actively manage your online reviews in order to protect your reputation and attract potential new clients.
Here are a few best practices in review management:
Keep your listing up-to-date. Sometimes frustrated clients write negative reviews simply because your business information on major review sites is incorrect or out of date. You can’t let that happen. Having wrong local data is also a stumbling block for people who want to find out more information about your services. So, once you have claimed ownership of your listings, always make sure your info is correct, complete, and up-to-date.
Respond to reviews. Show clients that you value their feedback by responding to reviews, both good and bad. Actively responding also drives engagement, not only with the individual people who write the reviews, but also with those visit lawyer review sites to read them.
(Check out these great tips for responding to online reviews.)
Encourage your clients to review you. One of the best ways to build a 5-star reputation is to simply ask for reviews from your happy clients. The savviest lawyers and legal services providers know that having positive reviews and high ratings is great social proof to let potential clients know that your existing clients already patronize you. (Also check out these 8 simple tips to help you generate more five-star reviews.)
Do you have other review management tactics that have worked for your firm? Share them by leaving a comment below.