Online reviews can either be a magnet for new clients to your firm, or a ghost town that looks abandoned. Having a healthy review profile for your law firm is no longer optional.
The problem is happy clients don’t always stop to leave reviews, and unhappy ones (or their friends and relatives) can’t get to the keyboard fast enough.
In this episode I share with you five specific strategies to get more 5-star client reviews from satisfied clients. Listen and you’ll discover…
- How to give your clients the red-carpet treatment from day one (and virtually guarantee they’ll fall over themselves to leave a 5-star review)
- The number one way to garner helpful (timely) feedback
- The most important aspect of winning that 5-star review
- And much more…
Mentioned in this episode:
- Wealthy Woman Lawyer® website
- Wealthy Woman Lawyer® League
- Davina on Facebook
- Davina on Twitter
- Davina on Instagram
Davina Frederick: Hello, and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast. We believe all women lawyers deserve to be wealthy women lawyers. Our mission is to provide thought provoking, powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm, so you can live your best life. I’m your host, Davina Frederick. Let’s get started.
Hi, everyone, it’s Davina. And I’m so happy, you’re here with me listening to another episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast. Today I want to talk with you about a popular topic among women law firm owners. And that’s how to score those all important five star reviews. So as we all know, online reviews are more popular than ever for people, assessing companies and service providers they’re looking to hire. As a business owner, however, these reviews can feel like the bane of our existence sometimes. Because it seems like our uber happy clients never seem to remember or care how important their online reviews are for for our business. I don’t know you but throughout my career, I’ve had clients tell me with tear stained faces, how our work together has changed their lives. And yet, they either don’t leave a review saying that, or if they do leave a review, sometimes it’s a little milk toast, and it focuses on smaller, more insignificant outcomes instead of the life altering outcomes they achieve. And they discussed with me in person.
So for law firm owners collecting these reviews can present a real challenge beyond other business owners, because in many cases, our clients do not want to put their legal business on the internet streets and with good reason. So they may love you, but not that much. On the flip side, with negative experiences, it seems that the disgruntled can’t get to their keyboard fast enough, right? Worse, many of these one star warriors aren’t even clients. They may be former employees or relatives or BFFs of those former employees, or people who call for a consult. And they didn’t like the way they felt when the receptionist spoke with them, or even opposing parties, or in worst case scenarios, opposing attorneys.
So just as a side note, if you are that opposing attorney, stop and check yourself before you wreck yourself by leaving an online review for another attorney, good or bad. Online reviews services like Google, Yelp, Facebook, AVVO, Trustpilot, and many other don’t have the best systems for getting negative reviews removed. Even if they’re false or not even posted by an actual client of the business. Maybe you can get them removed. But it could take a lot of time and effort. And if a client or former client leaves a negative review, ouch. That can be especially painful because we’re limited as attorneys in our abilities to respond. Not only by attorney client privilege, and our duties of confident confidentiality, but also by optics.
So very quickly, you can find yourself in a thou doth protest too much situation if you try to respond to any. But the more any of these reviews in anything other than a generically sympathetic way. I know one attorney who was setting himself up not only to likely be sanctioned when the Bar found out his responses to these reviews, but also to potentially be sued for breach of confidentiality. At the very least he was looking like an ass because he let reviews get under his skin to the point where he would argue with people in his responses. I know that temptation is real, but don’t do it. It will only make you feel vindicated for about a nanosecond. And then, once you calm down and you come to your senses, you’ll realize you have potentially unleashed a storm that you don’t want to be in. So please, please resist that temptation. Still, whether we want to play the game or not. The review game is real and it is significant in our society.
One client told me recently that a survey of her clients resulted in the firm’s partners changing their attitudes about reviews, because they learned that positive reviews are the second highest persuasive factor for prospective new clients selecting a lawyer. The number one factor was the volume of positive outcomes. But that’s going to be a discussion for another day and it’s a whole other ethics can of worms. So if good clients love you, but they are lax and leaving five star reviews. And bad clients can’t leave a one star review fast enough. What is a woman law firm owner to do? Here are some of my recommendations, recommended strategies that have worked not only for me, but also for my coaching clients, other women law firm owners.
So strategy number one I’m going to share with you is create a client relationship nurture system. So what do I mean by that? I mean to set up systems, and train everyone who works for your firm to be client centric. Do not wait until the end of your client relationship. When you are already when you’re already asking for a review, to tell your clients how important their business is to you and to your law firm. Instead, you want to create a high touch system that makes clients feel important right from day one and throughout the process. So here’s the question I want to add, I want you to ask yourself. Ask, what can each member of the team do throughout the process to not only ensure each client feels heard and valued, but also that they feel respected? And that they feel like solving their legal problem is your law firm team’s top priority? So this is a question that you may want to ask to your team. And let them tell you of ways that they think they may be able to help create that high touch, high level customer service experience through their job and their interactions with clients.
This process starts with your answering service, your receptionist, your client intake specialist, and it continues all the way through to all the paralegals attorneys, and any other staff members of your firm from your bookkeeper or county clerk, the marketing coordinator, whoever it is, right, even if someone is not assigned to work on a particular case, or matter, they should understand that it is their job to help any client that calls to get the answers they need, and resolve questions that they have in their mind. So perhaps it’s not their area, it that they’re not assigned to the case, but it is their responsibility to help that client feel important. And in having a system set in place to help you do that at every level is going to make a huge, huge difference. When it comes down to the time that you want to ask for a review.
So strategy number two is create a feedback culture. So what do I mean by a feedback culture? A feedback culture is a culture that solicits feedback throughout the entire client company relationship. So recently, I’ve seen this executed very well by a firm that sends short but meaningful surveys to clients at every critical stage of their case. So it’s just a way to gauge your client’s feelings about your process. And your team while the client is still a current client and involved with with your firm on a on a consistent basis. And it allows you to immediately resolve any, any issues before they become big problems. So feedback culture is simply asking, how are we doing? Repeatedly throughout the entire client engagement with your firm. So it not only gives you real time feedback, that lets you address a problem immediately. But it also establishes a pattern for the client. If they’ve been telling you in writing the whole time, they think you’re great. How likely are they going to be to then take any grievance with you or your team to Google reviews?
You’re you’re showing them through your culture, that you want to hear their feedback, and that you are giving them vehicles to share their feedback with you through this process. If they wind up then doing that, and then at the end, they go in, they write a bad review, they’re gonna look very petty and mean spirited, and just kind of, you know, inconsistent with what they’ve been telling you the whole time. So not really interested in getting a resolution to the problem, but just in being mean spirited, right. So the key to the success of this strategy is to have a process, not only of surveying throughout your client engagement, but also of routinely collecting the data and then acting on it swiftly. So collecting that data from clients may mean addressing individual concerns from the individual client, or maybe data that someone on your team assembles and collects and keeps, and puts together reports periodically. So you can begin to recognize patterns of behavior and how your systems may be able to be improved based on the data that you’re collecting.
Okay, strategy number three, is ask for reviews when your clients are high on good results. So we learn from an early age to gauge the temperature of the room, before we ask mom and dad or any adult for anything we want. Do you remember this from childhood? You know, you knew if your mom was in a good mood, that was the best time to ask if your best friend could spend the night on Saturday? Or if you could go for ice cream, or whatever it is, that you wanted, right? If you forgot yourself though. And you asked her after she came home late one night, tired from working. And now it was hot and frustrated trying to get dinner on the table for the whole family. You knew that when she said we’ll see it really meant, hell no. Right. So if you’re a parent, now I’m sure your kids have done the same thing to you or with you. So when asking for what we want, take this lesson from childhood and realize that timing is everything. It was that way when we were seven, and it’s that way now. So ask yourself, when is the best time to ask for a review.
Don’t do it like my cousin Karen, her name is really Karen, and I used to do it asked her mom’s in front of each other. While your whole family was visiting, if you could stay and spend the night. We used to get in so much trouble if we did that by putting our moms in that really bad spot of having to say no, in front of other you know, the other moms, right. So read the room, catch clients when they are in a good mood because of the great results you provided. Do not wait until weeks later after you’ve gotten that result. And now you’re finally getting around to doing your closeout process and sending your letter asking for the referral or email or whatever. And they’ve already moved on with their lives. They’re working on other problems resolving other problems in their lives. And they still need to probably come up with 1000s of dollars to pay your final bill. If that is the case, they’re not going to be in the same place that they were mentally and emotionally when they first got those great results. So that really want to read the room and time your ask.
Okay, strategy number four, is make it super easy. Now, I know you might think it is super easy to just Google your firm, firm name, and click on your Google local entry there and leave a review. But it is not easy when you’re a busy person. And while you may not mind leaving a review for your attorney, when it’s convenient for you, most of the time, it’s really not convenient. And it’s probably not a high priority, right, for your clients. So many attorneys send emails with a request and a link. And sometimes that works, you would think that, okay, this will be an easy way, how hard is it to click on a link in the email that I send. But think about your own email inbox and your own habits with email. And now tell me how you feel about it. How quickly those email reminders get lost in oblivion, never to be thought of again, right? I mean, think about all the indices sort of get lost in your inbox. When you’re receiving so many emails a day. Attorneys are not the only ones who receive 500 emails a day, trust me. And even the happiest, most loyal client will likely struggle to remember. As for you, you’ll likely start to feel resentment when they don’t respond right away or at all. You may be thinking like what the hell, I got great results for them. And they can’t be bothered to click on a link and leave me a five star review, or a four star review for that matter.
So you can get mad about it and maybe justified in feeling that way. Or you could put yourself in their shoes. And think about how you respond when emails are sent to you asking you for something. And it’s just not top of mind or your highest priority. And you start then coming up with new ideas. So I’m going to give you one now for instance, a better way could simply be to have a closeout meeting with your client right after your good outcome. And then hand them an iPad all set up and ready to go to write their review while you’re putting together their final paperwork. Right. One client of mine did this and over the course of a year quadrupled, the number of good online reviews. So one caveat I want to say before you implement this idea is to read your Bar rules before implementing this or any procedure or suggestion to see if they prohibit asking for reviews in this manner in your jurisdiction. So always check your Bar rules and make sure that you’re in compliance.
Okay. Last strategy for today, strategy number five, remember, persistence pays. Okay, everybody is busy. And everybody has a full life, you know nothing about and a lot on their minds. So I’m an evangelist for writing reviews. And still, when one of my vendors asked me for a review recently, I’m embarrassed to admit he had to ask me probably four or five times over the course of a few months, and he did it in email, and over our zoom meetings. And it I thoroughly intended to provide a review for him, it was like it wasn’t like I didn’t have a plan to leave a good review. It’s just that I got busy. And I forgot. I mean, as soon as we hung up on the call, or, as soon as 10, more emails came in my inbox, I just forgot to go back to it. It wasn’t a high priority in my day, but I knew it was a high priority for him. And since it was a high priority for him, he very kindly and very persistently continued to remind me every few weeks.
So here’s the thing, I wasn’t mad about it. In fact, I felt guilty because I was being such a slacker. And finally I did, what I said, I do, and I left him a good review. It took me all of five minutes. So if you’re like me, and you tend not to be really good about giving reviews, you might want to tighten that up too. Because energetically, when you’re getting reviews, it’s probably going to bring a lot more back to you. Don’t feel bad about asking for reviews for your business as many times as you need to to get the job. I mean, if after a few times, they don’t respond, it may be because they really don’t want to leave your review for whatever reason or reason that may have absolutely nothing to do with you mostly. Maybe they just don’t like leaving reviews online, or maybe something has happened in their lives, that has just really knocked that down on a priority scale. Whatever you do, don’t take it personally, if people don’t leave you reviews, when you know that they had a good experience, and they said that they appreciated the results you got for them. And don’t ask people to leave them in exchange for some monetary incentives. Okay, that is just bad business. It’s inauthentic. And it likely is prohibited by our Bar association quite frankly.
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