No matter how carefully each correspondence is crafted, how attentive you are to clients, or how diligently your lawyers pursue a case, you will eventually find your small law firm faced with a bad review. Customer satisfaction is known to be fickle, making bad reviews an inevitable part of owning a business. But how you deal with negative reviews can make all of the difference for your livelihood. Online reviews are so impactful, that 89% of consumers report using them before making purchasing decisions.
Ignoring negative reviews is how many lawyers deal with the situation. However, any seasoned customer service professional will tell you “out of sight, out of mind” is an unwise strategy to take. Not only is it vital to address bad reviews for sanity’s sake, but to protect your business’ reputation as well. Use these tips to protect your small law firm from negative views and maintain your reputation throughout the ordeal.
Respond To the Review – Calmly
Leaving a negative review unresponded to can cause it to fester into a reputation-killing blemish. It is important for review-readers (potential clients) to see that a law firm is willing to acknowledge complaints. Keep responses short, sweet and – most importantly – steer clear of appearing defensive. Getting into a digital shouting match will reflect poorly on your firm. Arguing details of your interactions could end up violating client confidentiality – opening up another avenue of problems.
Publically offering an apology or desire to rectify the situation is a fantastic opportunity to salvage a bad interaction. It can demonstrate your law firm’s outstanding customer service skills and often, the most loyal customers were once unhappy ones. However, sometimes an irate customer cannot be assuaged. Examine the situation and determine if it would be better not to intervene.
Contact the Client
Many times, negative reviews – especially the outlandish and seemingly unfounded – are the result of people who are desiring validation in their thoughts and feelings. There will always be a disgruntled client who is beyond reason, but most reasonable individuals can be spoken to in attempt of reaching an agreement. Privately follow up with the displeased client. Give them the opportunity to verbalize their grievances and as the law firm owner, a chance to ask them to revise or remove their negative review.
Screen Your Potential Clients
The easiest way to protect your small law firm from negative reviews is to avoid them in the first place. While this is very much easier said than done, screening potential clients can give you an informative peek into their M.O. Do they have a string of negative reviews for unreasonable things, such as disliking a lawyer’s pricing structure or a case resolution taking longer than they would’ve liked? Many parts of the litigation system are beyond a lawyer’s control. Steer clear of potential clients with similar destruction in their wake. It can take years to build up your small law firm’s reputation. But it could only take one negative review to undo all that hard work.
If your small law firm is struggling with negative reviews, contact Attorney Business Consulting. Our team of experts specialize in law firm reputation management and can help you navigate the unforgiving world of online reviews. Visit our site today for a free consultation.