Online client reviews are a lifeblood of attorney internet marketing. All the studies show potential clients Google the lawyers they meet with. They look at the lawyer’s Facebook page and their LinkedIn profile. And, increasingly, potential clients go to avvo.com and review the attorney’s profile.
What are potential clients looking for on these sites? I think they’re looking for two things: (1) how experienced is the attorney in a particular field of law, and (2) what do people have to say about them. It’s (2) that I want to talk about for a minute.
Client reviews are tricky for attorneys in general, but especially so for us divorce and child custody attorneys. We never meet people at their best. Instead, our clients are often emotionally, spiritually, and financially compromised. It is our job to help them through what will be probably the most difficult period of their life.
We must rebuild trust our clients have lost in themselves and their families. This is not easy, and no matter how hard we try, no matter how well we prepare, sometimes things just won’t work out as planned or hoped. Crap happens in divorce.
So, what does this have to do with client reviews? Well, the reality is divorce attorneys will receive negative online reviews – whether deserved or not (oftentimes not). It’s just part of what we do. So, how should divorce attorneys deal with this reality?
First, we should become better customer servants. We should communicate often with our clients. When they call or email, call or email back that same day. Send out regular case-update emails. Clients crave regular communication with their attorneys, so let’s give it to them.
Second, we should build a relationship with your clients. Communication helps, and the more personal the communication, the better. For example, use Skype instead of merely talking on the phone. The more face time you have with clients, the stronger your relationship with them will be.
Third, we should ask our clients how we’re doing for them. Satisfaction surveys help here. Another way of going about it is calling clients and asking them how they feel about our performance.
If we do these simple things, client satisfaction will increase, and negative reviews will necessarily decrease. Additionally, we’ll serve our clients better because we’ll know where and how to improve.
But improving service and minimizing negative client reviews is only part of the story. You can be a great divorce attorney and skilled customer servants, but that doesn’t necessarily mean clients will leave positive online reviews. I know a slew of great Utah divorce attorneys, and most don’t have but one or two positive online reviews. Getting positive reviews takes work, lots of work.
The most important thing you can do to get positive reviews is to, wait for it, ask your clients for reviews. For some reason divorce attorneys have a hard time asking for reviews. I’m not sure why this is. I mean, we ask people about the most intimate details of their life all the time. That and we ask people for money every month. With this in mind, asking satisfied clients for a review should be cake.
The second most important thing you can do is to make reviewing as easy as possible. Send you clients emails with links directly to where they can leave a review. And, give them options, but not too many. Two is optimal, I think. For example, our first choice for reviews is Google. However, leaving a review on Google requires a Gmail account. When clients don’t have a Gmail account, we send them a link to our second choice: avvo.com. Explain that reviews don’t need to be long, just honest.
The third most important thing is follow up. Some people need reminders. (Please, don’t bug a client into providing a review; that’s counterproductive and it will hurt your relationship with your client.)
Make asking for reviews a standard part of your practice. If you don’t get in the habit of asking for feedback and reviews, you’ll only do it haphazardly (i.e., almost never), which won’t result in many reviews. Well, it will result in reviews, just not the positive reviews you want.
In the end, if you want online client reviews to reflect the incredible good you do as a divorce and child custody attorney, make receiving client feedback and reviews a standard part of your practice.
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