It’s easy to dismiss internet chatter as crazy or irrelevant, because quite frankly a lot of it is. But, when it comes to online discussion about your business and legal services, it couldn’t be more important. Today, online reviews truly have the power to make or break your firm.
According to Forbes:
- 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business
- Online reviews have been shown to impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
One of the scariest things about running a business today, especially one handling matters as sensitive as a law office does, is that just one negative online review can do considerable damage to that reputation you worked so hard to cultivate for your firm. And with today’s consumers carrying considerably high expectations, and looking to have their problems addressed almost instantly, it really doesn’t take much wrongdoing to get them running off to their keyboards. So what can lawyers do to protect their reputations these days?
You Need To Nail That First Phone Call
Your first interaction can leave a lasting impression with customers. Today, the legal industry is a buyer’s market, as people looking for legal help have a ton of options to choose from. So if you fail to pick up the phone upon a person’s first call to your office, that customer is as good as gone. Very few people today will actually go through the process of leaving a voicemail message and waiting patiently for you to respond. The only message these frustrated callers might be leaving for you might be in the form of a negative online review.
And of course, just having someone answer your phones isn’t enough. You need a competent person, with knowledge of your business, answering every one of your customer’s calls. Otherwise, you risk not only missing out on a potential client, but having that potential client go online and let the world know about their poor customer service experience. Expecting your law office to provide quality phone answering for every caller is unfortunately an unrealistic ask for the majority of firms out there. But, the good news is that there are services that can help law offices improve their call handling.
Invest In A Legal Answering Service
There are a lot of companies out there that will tell you they can protect your firm’s reputation, but none will be able to do so as effectively or as affordably as a quality legal answering service. Investing in professional legal receptionists to improve your call handling is the ultimate strategy for defending your firm’s good name.
A quality legal answering service will:
- Ensure that all your office’s calls get answered right away
- Instill confidence in your callers by taking them through a proper legal intake process
- End calls in the proper fashion, by either taking a detailed customer message, scheduling an appointment, letting the caller know when they’ll hear back from you, or transferring you in on the call
Once you get that potential client into your office, the situation is completely in your control, and you can perform your lawyer magic to garner that positive review from them. But, all too often a lawyer’s reputation gets damaged, because a mistake is made before a customer even gets to them. Make sure your firm’s call handling is in the best possible hands by investing in a legal answering service. With quality and affordable options like Answering Legal available, you have no excuse not to. Just one bad review can cost you customers, so improve your call handling today!
Bonus Tips For Defending Your Firm’s Reputation
Most of the complaints people make to the BAR are due to poor communication from lawyers, so having calls handled by an answering service should cut down your number of disgruntled customers. But, even with improved call handling, your firm should include in it’s law firm marketing strategy a plan of action for managing online reviews.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Be diligent in monitoring your online reviews: Keep a close eye on review platforms, such as Google My Business and Yelp, to see what people are saying about your law office. If you don’t have time to consistently stay on top on your reviews, assign the task to someone on your staff. We recommend setting up alerts for every time you have a new online review come in, so you never miss an opportunity to act on one.
- Reach out to satisfied clients: If you’ve been practicing law long enough, there are likely quite a few former clients out there who were pleased with the job your firm did. Trying following up with them, with an email or phone call, and politely ask them to review your firm online. While a negative review will always stand out, having a large number of positive reviews in place can make the bad ones look like more of an outlier.
- Be active in responding to reviews: For people who leave positive reviews, respond with a public thank you. When dealing with negative reviews, never respond in a contentious or emotionally charged manner. Instead provide a thoughtful response, and if possible, offer a solution. Let the public know that you care about your customer’s experience, and are willing to take the time to listen and communicate with them. For negative reviews, you may want to send an additional private message to the client, in which you let them know you are willing to work out their complaint.
- Don’t give up: While recovering from negative online reviews can take time, it’s never too late to turn things around. The worst thing you can do is absolutely nothing.