Promoting Positive Online Reviews
Customer service has long been held up as a key tenet of any business practice. Certainly, as a law firm, it is essential that your clients are satisfied with your work. However, what is less obvious is the best way to channel positive client experiences into effective marketing practices. Put another way: how do you build on the momentum of positive feedback? This question takes on new significance in today’s social media landscape, as more and more users are relying on online customer service reviews to make decisions about which products to purchase, where to eat, or in this case, which law firms to consult. In this regard, online reviews have become paramount to effective marketing strategies.
It probably comes as no surprise that online reviews are important, as this is a part of our everyday experience: how often do you find yourself reading a Google review before visiting a new restaurant or booking a hotel room? But if experience isn’t convincing enough, it might behoove us to glance at some startling statistics. According to Zendesk, a huge majority (88 percent) of users say online reviews are influential in their decision-making process – specifically, 90 percent of survey participants say good reviews are influential.
And people trust these reviews, just as they would a personal recommendation. In fact, 84 percent of participants in the Local Consumer Review Survey say online reviews are akin to personal recommendations. What’s more, people respect businesses and firms with positive online reviews: nearly three-quarters of survey-takers say positive online reviews make them trust businesses more.
What Is To Be Done
Once again, none of this may be too surprising, but it is worth thinking about the import of these statistics. For starters, you may want to figure out a way to increase the number of positive online reviews pertaining to your firm. To do this, you can start with what you have. You probably can tell when clients are pleased with your work and when they are less than pleased. A good starting point is to ask happy clients to share their experience with your firm and let them know where they can do so. Your goal should be to build this into your workflow when you are speaking with a client on the phone, meeting with a client in your office and/or handing your client a settlement check at the end of his case.
This latter point is vital: not only do you want to ask for reviews from happy clients, you want to integrate review requests into day-to-day, month-to-month business processes. The best way to do this is to invest in an effective review platform to facilitate the process of requesting reviews. An effective review platform should allow you to email or text a client so your client can easily post a review after he has indicated that a willingness to share his experience about your law firm. The platform should allow you to encourage happy clients to post reviews on top sites such as Google, Avvo, Yelp, BBB and Facebook. In addition, a good ratings and reviews platform should notify you when someone has vented about a negative experience with your firm before that person posts a negative review. This allows you to allow the unhappy client to vent, without posting a review and gives you the opportunity to solve his problem. In short, having an efficient tool can make it much easier for you to request reviews and can help encourage happy clients to write them. Moreover, this type of platform can be key to infusing review requests with your ongoing work process.
Integrating review requests into your marketing strategy can have a hugely positive impact on your local search engine ranking. According to a survey by MOZ, online reviews account for 13 percent of all “Local Pack/Finder Ranking Factors” – an increase from 10.8 percent in 2015. This means, more positive reviews can be a boon to your SEO efforts and can help turn online users into future clients.