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In our digital age, you’ll be reviewed online whether you want to be or not. As you are just one attorney in a large pool of options, make sure you’re engaging with comments and monitoring how they affect your overall online reputation.
When the internet didn’t yet exist, and people had to go by word of mouth, personal reviews mattered. Today in our digital culture, these reviews are still one of the most important driving factors for customer decision-making.
In fact, a BrightLocal survey showed that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews just as much as they’d trust a friend’s recommendation.
Of course, this heavy weight given to online credibility can go both ways. Make the most of online client reviews with these tips and solutions.
Come to terms with reviews
You first need to understand that clients will review you, and people will read these reviews. There’s nothing you can do to stop this from happening. Know that not everyone will like everything about you and that sometimes conflict can arise, even if it wasn’t your fault or you did everything in your power to stop it.
Businesses of any kind no longer have much control over what people say about them online. What you can control is the level of service you offer and your commitment to being genuine. If you focus on being the best you can be, your online reviews will likely reflect that.
It’s a given that potential clients are going to Google you. And you won’t know what they find unless you regularly check how your search results are doing, and what shows up about you to customers right away. Are negative reviews the first thing on the results page?
You may need to implement better SEO practices to get the landing pages you want to appear first in the search results list. And, since there are so many attorneys and practices nationwide, try to work with an SEO expert to get to the top of the results page with keywords that potential clients may search for.
All the good reviews in the world won’t get you anywhere unless clients can find them.
If you have a lot of positive reviews, this can actually help your rank in search results. ReputationStacker says that four factors determine rank based on reviews:
- Quantity: the number of reviews
- Quality: whether the reviews are good or bad
- Authority: if your reviews are posted on legitimate sites
- Velocity: how quickly you get reviews
Google continues to dominate the search engine game, so the first step to ranking high is understanding how the algorithms work.
Address reviews head on
When you do receive a negative online review, don’t panic. While you should be concerned and try to figure out if what the client is saying is true, you can also take steps to show other potential clients that you care and are constantly improving.
Reply to these reviews directly and in a format that anyone can see. Express thoughtfulness and concern that someone had a bad experience. You can even ask them to elaborate on a point you don’t understand. Showing clients that you’re engaged online, even if someone didn’t like your services, can allow them to see how much you care about customer satisfaction.
Plus, being available online and showing clients that you understand how important that is in our current digital age can be a big plus for business. This is why you should also respond to positive reviews, even if just to say thank you.
Ask clients for reviews
Because positive reviews play a big role in your online reputation and your search engine ranking, getting reviews in the first place is extremely important. Start asking your clients to leave you reviews on Google or social media pages, where people tend to look for services and recommendations.
The same BrightLocal data showed that Facebook and Yelp were the top two places that consumers look for and read reviews, so engage with those platforms especially.
Give your online reputation the focus it deserves
Taking all the above steps will help contribute to a positive online presence, but it may not be enough. It may be a good idea to hire someone to manage all your online avenues to truly build a positive online authority.
Metrics from your website, social media pages, or newsletter can show you a lot about the way people interact with your message. And allowing clients to review you on outlets like Facebook or LinkedIn can prove to customers that you want them to know the truth about previous clients’ experiences.