A Guide to Online Reputation Management for Attorneys and Law Firms
You may not always be online, but your clients likely are.
According to the ABA TechReport 2020, 5% of law firms and as many as 59% of solo practitioners say they do not have a business website.
Meanwhile, over one-third of potential clients start their search online, and 98% read reviews before hiring a lawyer.
Considering these figures, online reputation management for attorneys is essential for both lead generation and conversions. To that end, here are a few good practices that could help you control your image on the web more effectively.
6 Tips to Help Manage Your Online Reputation as an Attorney
The following tips may enable you to steer the online narrative about your firm in the direction you want, helping you raise your profile and attract more clients.
1. Provide Excellent Client Service
Perhaps the single best way to ensure you get positive reviews is to provide exceptional client service. Note that this may include but is not the same as high-quality representation. There is a lot more that may go into creating positive client experiences, such as:
- Maintaining consistent and clear communication with clients
- Obtaining regular feedback before, during, and after the case
- Where possible, making changes to your work processes to reflect your clients’ needs and preferences
- Personally thanking each client at the close of their matter
- Staying in touch with former clients to share updates about your firm
2. Request and Follow Up on Public Feedback
If your clients are happy with your services, consider asking them to leave their feedback on your website, social media, legal directories, or review sites. This may allow you a greater degree of control over the number and content of the reviews. It could also make it easier for you to track and manage client feedback, as you would know where to look for it.
3. Know the Most Popular Online Review Sites
There are several directories and review websites specifically for lawyers and legal services, including:
In addition, clients may rate and review your firm on general websites such as:
You may want to keep an eye on these and other platforms to get a better idea of what people are saying about your firm. The good news is that you do not have to do it manually: you can use automated solutions like Mention or Talkwalker to monitor client feedback on various social and online media channels.
4. Address Negative Reviews
If you get a negative review, consider damage control as soon as possible to prevent it from influencing potential clients. It is generally best to avoid getting angry, justifying yourself, or arguing with the client, as this may compromise your credibility.
Instead, consider leaving a brief response that acknowledges and empathizes with the client without necessarily agreeing with them. You may also thank them for their business and wish them well.
Finally, an effective way to counteract a negative review is by generating more positive feedback on the same website.
5. Make the Most of Positive Reviews
When you get a positive review, you should augment it by adding it to your website and social media and syncing it with your Google My Business page. The more exposure, the better.
6. Invest in Reputation Management Software
These tools can help automate and streamline online reputation management for attorneys by:
- Monitoring your online presence across different platforms and channels
- Helping you get more reviews by requesting feedback from clients
- Tracking client satisfaction via surveys and reports
There are now many tools on the market, and which one would work best for you depends upon your firm's needs and budget. However, some of the most helpful solutions share the following features:
- A dashboard. By displaying information from various websites on one screen, a dashboard can help you review and manage online feedback and track key metrics more easily.
- Reporting tools. These aggregate data from different sources, allowing you to monitor metrics like the number of reviews, top review sources, and your rank by location.
- Benchmarks. You should be able to set performance benchmarks for the software to track. These can include your average rating or how quickly clients post reviews after you close their matter.
- Automated follow-ups. Preset emails and text messages can help you generate more reviews by automatically asking clients to leave feedback once their cases are closed.
- Consolidated updates. If your contact information changes, you should be able to update your details across all review platforms the software is monitoring from one place, rather than having to edit each website manually.
- Notifications. Ideally, your reputation management solution should notify you whenever a new review is published.
- Surveys. Automated surveys allow you to find out whether your clients are satisfied with your services more efficiently. Some software solutions will even allow you to send surveys via SMS, email, and other channels to make things as easy as possible for the client.
- Live chat. Some reputation management platforms allow you to chat with clients directly through other platforms like Facebook. This may increase your visibility and client engagement.
- Open API. API stands for application programming interface. An open API allows reputation management software to integrate with other programs directly, such as accounting, timekeeping, or customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Online Reputation Management for Attorneys: The Bottom Line
Despite your efforts to provide excellent customer service, a client may walk out dissatisfied. Depending on the situation, they may then file a malpractice lawsuit against you.
Malpractice or professional liability insurance can help protect you and your firm from a wide range of legal risks. In turn, this could give you peace of mind and enable you to focus on providing exceptional service to your clients.
Get your free professional liability quote now.