Handling Negative Reviews Like a Boss

How to Effectively Handle Negative Reviews

Many attorneys are understandably fearful of replying to negative online reviews.  The truth is that potential clients (roughly 84% of them) will most likely rely on social media posts, ratings, and reviews of others when deciding whether to use your services.

Once information is on the internet it does not go away.  Avoiding a negative review is missing a critical opportunity to manage your image online.

  • Although it sometimes feels as though people just want to complain, in fact, most people want to leave positive reviews.
  • Allowing a negative comment to remain on the internet without any action gives other potential clients an opportunity to see it and take it as the truth.
  • Everyone will eventually get a negative review.  When this happens do not ignore it, maintain your composure, and fix it offline

Most attorneys are afraid to engage, but it’s critical that you take control of negative comments. Here’s how you do it:

  • ‘Hi, . We continuously strive for excellence in service. Please reach out to me to discuss further. Our office line is XXX-XXX-XXXX.’
  • The chance of that person contacting you is near zero. However, other people seeing your response know you take your reputation seriously and will consider that when hiring an attorney.
  • Hesitation can cause you to miss real opportunities.
  • I have successfully helped many small firms manage negative reviews and their online reputation.

Does Your Client’s Experience Match Your Perceived Reputation?

Potential clients like to look at other people’s opinions. They want to know about your reputation, and an easy way to do that is to read genuine feedback from past clients to get a clear picture of what to expect. So what is the best approach for getting this kind of feedback from your clients?

  • Before visiting a business 90% of online shoppers will read at least one review/testimonial.
  • 94% of online shoppers say a negative review will deter them from visiting a business.
  • A potential client is more likely to choose your firm if others think it is a good decision.
  • Let’s look at several questions to ask when asking for feedback: when to ask; how to ask; what to avoid; and, what if it’s a negative review.

Reputation/Review Management Process

It is recommended that you bake feedback conversations into your standard operating procedures. A best practice is to inform all of your clients/customers that your reputation is important and that feedback regarding the service you provided is imperative to your business’ reputation. Remind your clients and customers to see what others are saying on Yelp, Facebook, Google, or any other industry website (for lawyers, Avvo and Superlawyers are popular platforms).

You should work with your team to create a system internally, or leverage an online reputation management system/tool that makes it easy for customers to leave honest feedback.

Don’t Be Awkward

Don’t make it awkward and keep it simple. Getting feedback is always a challenge, especially if you don’t have somebody dedicated to customer relationship management. Most law firms don’t want to bother their customers or ask the wrong client for a review.

That’s understandable, but don’t let this scare you! If your customers like your business, they’ll be willing to leave you feedback.

What to avoid?

Let’s not make this a used-car salesman scenario. Your clients desire genuine feedback, so avoid prompting for a good/positive spin on feedback or asking family members or employees, stay away from overly formal or vague language, don’t ask people you haven’t spoken to in years… really just don’t be “that guy” who asks for things in an inappropriate or unprofessional manner.

What if it’s a bad review or negative feedback?

People are looking for honest, unbiased feedback, not just a 5-star review. Just be sure to follow 5 steps if you receive feedback you are unhappy with (this applies to online reviews or internal feedback by chat, email, or survey):

  • always respond either offline or online,
  • thank the person for the feedback,
  • address core issues,
  • apologize,
  • and follow up to make sure it was resolved.

The Template and Approach to Get More Meaningful Feedback More Consistently

Small Law Firms Need (nay, Thrive!) on Reputation Validation. Yes, Even Yours.

Here’s why feedback matters, and how you can get more without feeling like a slimy salesman.

A couple important notes why reviews are so important, no matter which type of firm you are.

Your name, as a referral, doesn’t mean what it used to.

  • 87 percent of consumers say that an attorney’s reputation was one of the top two most important pieces of information they would rely on when making a choice to hire. THIS INCLUDES REFERRALS!!!

Not all feedback is created equally.

  • 81 percent of Millennials (age 18 to 35) are more inclined to hire lawyers with online reviews. But even a majority of Baby Boomers (age 55 to 70) feel the same way.
  • Sites like Yelp are highly geared toward the review side of things, but industry-specific consumers also want info from trusted, authoritative sites (like mentioned before, sites like Avvo, Findlaw, Justia for attorneys are all trusted places to find real feedback from users).

They want to know you’ve done this before.

  • 68 percent of consumers listed feedback (reviews, testimonials, or verbal praise) from former clients as a top criterion when evaluating an attorney. Indeed, recommendations from others are the second-biggest factor consumers use when selecting an attorney.

I’m afraid we’re poking the bear – what if crazy angry people leave negative feedback?

This is by far the number one concern attorneys have when we talk about getting feedback. And it’s usually because they’ve already received one (or MANY) negative review online.

And that’s the answer: Angry or unhappy clients are going to tell their story regardless of your efforts. Conversely, by reaching out to all your clients – we should assume most of them are happy with your service – you stand to get FAR more positive feedback than bad.

The net is this – it’s better to strategically integrate a reputation management system than not.

The Feedback Template.

This only works if you use it! Every time you close a case, inform the client (every single client) in person, and immediately follow up with this email.

The Template

Subject: You were excellent! Do you agree?
Dear NAME:
A law firm lives or dies on its reputation. Good word-of-mouth means everything. is no exception. Even though we’ve been in business since YEAR, we’ve never forgotten that reputation is what matters – and a good reputation can only come from providing the upmost in client service.

If you could reflect back to when you first considered hiring an attorney – all the questions you had, the fears, the uncertainty – it’s important to know many people like you are in the same position.

Also consider your experience with our firm. If we answered your questions, or eased your concerns, or if you felt something in your experience could be improved, please consider writing a brief and honest recap of your experience to help people who are in the position you once were.

To save you time, you may choose Yelp! or Google below.

Do You Have an Active Yelp! Profile?

Or Leave feedback on Google+
If you don’t have an active Yelp! profile, feel free to leave a review on Google+.

Or if you don’t have a profile, feel free to send us your thoughts and we’d love to add it to our Website!

Thank you!

Sincerely, The Lawyers and Staff of LAWFIRM

By integrating review feedback into your daily processes and systems, you’re setting yourself up for continue growth, minimize lulls in business, and position yourself for long-term success through.

Here’s Why It Matters To You.

Authentic user stories help you show up higher in search results, they help you build trust with potential clients, and most people will look at them before making a decision.

I have successfully helped many small firms in the area use online reputation management solutions to their advantage. To learn how you can best manage your digital reputation, set up a free consultation by clicking below.

Share this post :


Get free tips and resources right in your inbox, along with 10,000+ others

Next Steps: Sync an Email Add-On

To get the most out of your form, we suggest that you sync this form with an email add-on. To learn more about your email add-on options, visit the following page (https://www.gravityforms.com/the-8-best-email-plugins-for-wordpress-in-2020/). Important: Delete this tip before you publish the form.

Innovate while they imitate.

Make being second best your competitor's new normal.