Updated: Feb 2, 2022
A Law Firm Guide To Responding To Bad Reviews
No law firm wants a negative review. However, no matter how well you do your work, a lot of factors—like communication styles, strategies, and client interactions—can affect how your clients feel about you. Sometimes, it's just a misunderstanding.
That's why you work hard to impress clients and do everything you can with their legal concerns. Unfortunately, you can't simply ignore a negative review till it vanishes. In fact, ignoring a negative review can exacerbate the situation.
Remember: You aren't just responding to one reviewer. You're speaking to anyone who reads this review, including potential customers in the future.
Why Should You Respond To A Bad Review?
You have the option to set things right by responding. For example, if a client came up to you with a complaint in person, you would strive to resolve it.
The same can be said about online reviews—despite their impersonal nature, they aren't going away anytime soon. Responding to reviews demonstrates to other readers that you are not unresponsive to criticism and that you have made efforts to guarantee that this problem does not occur to the next client.
In short: Reviews are important for Lawyer Marketing.
When you get a bad review, the greatest thing you can do is respond swiftly and reasonably. Here's how your law firm should handle unfavorable reviews and make the best of a bad situation.
Why Reviews Matter For Law Firms
While they're not the main ranking factor when it comes to your website's Lawyer SEO, a lot of bad reviews can turn prospective clients off.
Your reviews are your social proof, it tells people how well your law firm performs and treats their past clients. If you have a lot of scathing reviews on your public listings, it can affect website traffic and overall trust.
How Do You Reply To A Negative Review?
1. Sympathize And Apologize
Recognize and address the client's issues. Show sympathy for their terrible experience, even if it is unwarranted. You might have seen people respond like the following examples:
"I'm sorry you had a terrible experience."
"We apologize for the bad experience."
"We're sorry that you have a hard time with us."
When a client contacts you to leave a negative review, it's usually because they didn't get the result they expected when they initially started working with you.
It could be that the client felt like they weren't getting enough updates, had a negative interaction with your office staff, or expected things to go differently. As a response, it is your responsibility to acknowledge that something went wrong and that you are stepping in to assist them in resolving their problems.
2. Keep Your Response Clear And Concise
It's best that you don't go into too much detail when you're publicly responding to a review. This will prevent you from saying something that may irritate the client even further and prompt them to respond to the review with more bad feedback.
Remember: Most people who use online reviews to make purchase or hiring decisions will check the lowest ratings. So if there's a lot of negative feedback in there, they'll likely see it.
A decent rule of thumb is to keep your entire response short, and instead, take things privately to air everything out. Avoid circling around the topic and make sure you're clear about what you're asking the dissatisfied client to do.
3. Take The Discussion To A More Private Setting
You might have seen some responses asking reviewers to send them a private message or email them with their concerns. This is a way to solve the matter privately.
Additionally, you can offer the reviewers to meet you in person. Have someone at the office be the contact person. Any matters regarding their negative experience with your firm can be processed through them.
You can also resolve things over Zoom, which is more convenient for clients who aren't in town or prefer not to have close contact for health and safety reasons.
By taking the resolution offline and out of the public eye, you can strike a private agreement. Once the complaint has been resolved, some reviewers will even change or update their reviews.
Remember: When a reviewer changes their ratings and gives their reasoning, it's normally a good sign. Prospective clients appreciate seeing you respond to people's concerns and are doing something about it to make their experience better.
Talk To The SEO Experts At LawyerLeadMachine
Lawyer SEO can boost your law firm's conversions and lead generation. Doing Lawyer Marketing right can expand your client base. Reviews are an off-page element of SEO and can influence your progress in the long run.
To get you started, review your options here.