A lot of attorneys are uncomfortable asking for online reviews of their legal services and that’s understandable. A lawyer might be concerned that constantly—or even occasionally—plugging for reviews would like unprofessional. Those whose practices focus on areas like bankruptcy law or family law have clients that are understandably nervous about admitting publicly they’re even seeing such an attorney.
But the ability to get online reviews has become vital for the survival of your firm. Marketing research has shown that 84 percent of potential clients will not hire someone who isn’t getting at least 4 stars as an average rating. A quarter of the prospect pool requires a perfect 5-star review before calling your office. That means you need to figure out how to generate positive reviews and respond appropriately to the negative feedback that appears.
Let’s start with where to target. Begin your focus with Google My Business, Yelp and Facebook. The odds are strong that your clients will be comfortable with at least one of those platforms and you can get software that will automatically forward a good review to other platforms.
You’ll also need to focus on AVVO, the website that’s specific to the legal profession. A lot of attorneys are unhappy with AVVO’s influence. The site automatically generates profiles of all lawyers and leaves it up to the attorneys to claim theirs and add information.
The grade that appears on the profile is reflective of how much of the profile is actually filled out. But prospects can mistake for it a grade on the quality of your services. AVVO’s profiles consistently come up high in search engine listings, so if you haven’t claimed and updated your profile, we strongly suggest making that a priority.
Now we have to get reviews solicited. You can set up email automation programs that will remind your clients periodically to leave a review. The intervals can be set up far enough apart that you don’t feel obnoxious and the automation will spare your staff the need to constantly send them out.
You can also look at offering an incentive for a review—maybe a gift certificate to a local restaurant. This can be harder for attorneys than other professions because of ethics rules, so be sure you know your particular state’s regulations. As long as you don’t write the review yourself and the gift is not contingent upon a good review, there’s a good chance you’ll be on safe ground.
Finally, don’t forget the power of personally asking the client. It’s not easy, but presumably, this is a satisfied client with whom you have worked well. Let’s keep in mind the marketing data cited at the top—the odds are pretty good they know how important reviews are. So just ask.