Your law firm's reputation is upheld through how well you can showcase your impressive case results and customer service on your website and social media presence. But there’s one powerful brand-building resource that so many lawyers struggle to attain and maintain: online reviews.
Reviews are the online equivalent of word-of-mouth recommendations. According to a study by Yext, 88 percent of consumers report that online reviews are as important as personal recommendations. People tend to trust the value of a service more when they learn that others have had positive experiences. When there are so many options to sift through, reviews help prospects eliminate options and narrow down the search.
What’s more, having good online reviews is a crucial factor in how high you will rank on Google searches. Unless you have a 4-star review or higher, your firm won’t show up in search results when a user searches for the “best” lawyer in their area.
That’s why it’s important to create a robust review feed for your law firm on sites like Google and Avvo. However, many lawyers struggle to know how to ask their clients for reviews. This makes sense, since asking for reviews isn’t always straightforward when you have a legal duty to uphold the highest ethical practices. When is the right time to ask, and how do you phrase the question without pressuring them?
If you're partnered with Custom Legal Marketing, you already have an automated review request service built into your law firm's search engine optimization plan.
For everyone else, we have some tips that will help you keep things simple, stress-free, and ethical.
1. Ask for feedback at the end of your client's case.
Be prepared to end your business with a client on a note of empathy and ask them genuine questions, such as “Are you satisfied with the way we handled this case?” or “Would you recommend us to others?” If a client is happy, make it easy to write a review. Give them a link directly to your Google My Business listing.
2. Send a personalized review request email to a client at the end of your business with them.
Even if you have already asked a client in person to write a review, you’ll want to remind them with a follow-up email that directs them to your Google My Business listing. In the email, be informal, personable, and appreciative. Be sure that you’ve phrased the question in a friendly way, and remind them that writing a review is optional. Thank your client for choosing your law firm, and send them good wishes. Remember not to delay in getting that email sent out, since people are more likely to leave reviews when they have the experience fresh in their minds.
Here’s an example email you could send to a client:
How are you doing? I hope this finds you well. It was such a pleasure working with you during the last few months. Thank you for choosing our firm to represent you.
I wanted to ask if you had a couple minutes to share a review about working with our firm. We would love for you to share your positive experience on our local Google profile [direct link to review site].
Thanks so much, Nancy. Sending my best to you and your family.
3. Send automated emails
If you are having a hard time keeping up with sending personalized emails, then you can save time by sending automated emails to clients after end your business with them. Custom Legal Marketing includes this service with every marketing plan. Schedule an appointment with a legal marketing specialist today.
4. Ask specific questions about their experience.
Offering direction will often make it easier for people to know what to write when facing a blank form. You can help out by sending them some sample questions in your email, such as:
"Why did you choose our firm over other attorneys?"
"How was our customer service?"
"How was our communication about your case?"
These questions use specific language to target the types of responses that encourage clients to be reflective of their experiences, without being pushy or pressuring them to answer a particular way.
5. When asking for a review, remember to avoid the following:
• Don’t pressure them by giving them a deadline.
• Ask for reviews only after your case is settled, not while it’s in progress.
• Never offer an incentive, such as money, gift cards, or discounts, in exchange for reviews. This could present a conflict of interest.
• Don't write fake reviews.
6. Keep up your stream of incoming reviews, and manage them.
If you integrate asking for client reviews into your overall business strategy, you’ll be able to keep a steady stream of reviews headed your way. If a former client reaches out on Facebook or other social media, take this opportunity to get a review from a satisfied customer. Thank them for reaching out, and encourage them to share their thoughts in an online review. Be sure to share the link to the review site!
Part of maintaining this steady stream of reviews is through responding to them. Not thanking someone for a positive review or not responding to a negative review is the equivalent of ignoring someone who walked into your office. As a lawyer, your practice entails maintaining a strong customer experience.
With these tips in mind, think of asking for reviews not as an uncomfortable additional step to your regular business practice, but as an opportunity to connect with both past and future clients.
Cristina Fríes is a MA in English/Creative Writing from UC Davis (2019), and is a legal marketing strategist and content developer for CLM. Her interests include creating compelling marketing content, writing books, and traveling the world.