Don’t Rest on Your Laurels: Why You Should Continually Seek Client Reviews
You may be feeling really good about some big client settlements or jury awards you’ve achieved in the last six months. That’s great! Take time to celebrate and bask in your success. And while you’re at it remember to ask those clients to write a review of your law firm. The most important location is Google My Business (GMB), but throw into the mix other sites like Avvo, Facebook and Yelp. Strike while the iron is hot to maximize your chances of receiving a prompt and glowing review!
This is so, so important because you can’t rely on yesterday’s (or last year’s) reviews to carry you successfully into the future. You should continually seek client reviews as part of a consistent and ongoing brand-building process. Law firm SEO is highly competitive: you can’t afford to rest on your laurels.
Always remember that more is better where client reviews are concerned. This is also true – perhaps especially true – if you get a bad review (which will happen eventually no matter how great you are because that’s just the nature of the beast). The more reviews you have, the less a single bad review will matter. That’s because of DILUTION. If you have two 5-star reviews and one 1-star review, then your average is a little over 3 stars. But if you have 15 5-star reviews and one 1-star review, then the bad review barely moves the needle. Your overall rating still hovers close to 5. That one negative review gets lost in the crowd with all those other great reviews.
“Dilution” Is Your Friend
Think of it this way: you know when you’re painting the living room and green is the color that is all the rage this year? Well, a bright apple green can be pretty overpowering, but if you mix it with a more peaceful white paint then the color you get is a pale grass green. What a difference! The process of “dilution” keeps everything from swinging to the extremes. The same is true of online client reviews.
The best time to prepare for a bad client review is before it happens. A steady, continual appeal for client reviews day-in, day-out will keep you in good stead for the day that other shoe drops. Most clients who have won financial compensation are happy to write a positive review. So are clients you helped navigate through a potentially ugly divorce, or clients who got a fresh start in life after filing bankruptcy, or clients who felt relief at the end of a trial with a verdict in their favor. These people are grateful for the work your law firm has done, and they’re in that glowing moment when success feels palpable.
Strike While the Iron Is Hot
Don’t wait to request a review. Ask your client then and there to write a quick three or four sentences about what it was like to work with your firm and how they feel about winning. Share with your clients how important it is to you that they write a review and express deep gratitude to those who do so. You helped them, and they’ll be glad to help you. They’ll be pleased that they were able to do something nice for another person. Especially since it takes less than five minutes and costs nothing.
Let’s Talk Strategy
One of the best times to ask a client to post a review is when they’re handed the compensation check, during your last face-to-face meeting, or in an email shortly after their case has settled. Ask quickly before the moment fades and their thoughts have moved on to the next busy thing in their lives. If you’re just too overbooked and need assistance in following up and asking for client reviews, Gladiator professionals can help. Contact us and we can talk about next steps.
If a large number of reviews are posted from the same location (namely, your office), this may trigger suspicion that the reviews aren’t natural. It can be fine to request reviews, but do so strategically. Have the conversation in your office (or perhaps by phone), but send the request via text or email. That way, reviews are certain to be posted from a variety of locations. Also, don’t be too pushy. Sites like Yelp (and Google) want reviews to happen organically so their site provides real value to its users seeking to learn how clients feel about a business.
Google Makes Reviews a Ranking Factor
Not only does it feel great to get a good review – an extra pep in your step and a new feather in your cap – but it’s also smart business. Google algorithms pay close attention to reviews (especially those on GMB) and these reviews factor into your firm’s Google ranking. Several good reviews can make the difference between whether your firm’s name pops up at the top of a Google search or your competitor’s name does.
Also, the more visits you can generate to your GMB site, the better. Multiple client reviews can enhance your local SEO and boost your firm’s visibility. Think about it — how do you evaluate competing businesses when you see the numeric stars ratings and the total number of reviews? Which businesses do you choose? Usually the ones with the largest number of top-notch reviews. Reviews can win your law firm the “click” rather than your competitor. That one click could make a million-dollar case land at your doorstep rather than at the law firm down the street.
Cumulative client reviews also add to the authority of your firm. Have you ever heard of E.A.T.? E.A.T. stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, which are key indicators of how worthy and credible your law firm appears in the eyes of potential clients. Positive reviews can contribute to your perceived expertise, authority and trustworthiness and tip the scales in your favor when a potential client is choosing between you and another law firm. Google tracks this information, too. It wants to provide users with information supplied by vetted sources. Anyone can publish content. Google wants indicators of why your content should be trusted. Well-written attorney bios, glowing client reviews, and highlights of big settlements and jury awards can ensure that your firm has a powerful E.A.T.
Get to It: How to Ask for Reviews
You may feel a bit awkward and wonder how exactly to ask a client for a review without sounding like you’re tooting your own horn. It’s actually much easier than it seems. Here are some tactics to consider:
1. Don’t get too serious when asking for a review, thereby causing a client to feel like they must write a novel and make every sentence perfect. Reassure them that a few sentences will do and a conversational tone in their writing is great. It’s more important that you get the review than it is for the writing to be Pulitzer Prize quality. Good is good enough.
2. When the client stops in your office to pick up the final check and shake your hand, look him or her in the eye and tell them how important a review would be to you. Appeal to them as a person and emphasize the human connection.
3. In a final meeting, prep the client that a request will be coming their way in the next few days providing a link where they can leave a review. The easier and more effortless the process, the more likely the client is to write a review. If your firm needs assistance setting up an automated review request, ask our team at Gladiator for help. We provide this service.
4. Stagger getting client reviews – perhaps 2 or 3 reviews a month. If you dump a bunch of reviews online all at once, you run the risk of Google thinking that they are spam. Google can choose not to publish a review, and that decision is often permanent.
A Brief Wrap-Up
Never overlook the opportunity to ask for a client review. It seems hard to believe that something so simple could make such a big difference to your brand, BUT IT DOES! When you think about it, what could be better than something that is quick and free when it comes to powerfully marketing you law firm? When seen in that light, positive client reviews are a no-brainer. Just remember these tips:n
- Timing is everything. Ask when your client is happy at the close of their case
- 1-3 sentences are all that’s necessary
- Ask the client to mention the practice area (divorce, car accident, etc.)
- Ask that they describe what makes your firm worthy of their recommendation
- Mention that they could state their case outcome, settlement amount or jury award, if they are willing
You’re Not Done Yet
And don’t forget to respond online to every client review you receive, whether it’s a good or bad review. Don’t know how? Don’t worry. Ask our Gladiator team and we’ll walk you through the steps. Google is watching, and your firm gets extra points for being responsive and engaging frequently with GMB!
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