No matter how diligent and careful you are, our digital marketing specialists know that every law firm gets its share of negative reviews. The first time it happens is always a shock. You did your best for a client. You fought for the maximum compensation they could obtain. Yet, you see your law firm reputation tarnished by harsh words.
Among other tasks, our digital marketing specialists help lawyers like you handle negative reviews and deal with them properly. You cannot afford to ignore them, because others are looking – potential clients who are still not sure if they can trust you. A negative review can scare them away. Yet, handling it courteously and professionally may actually convince an undecided person to contact your law firm.
The Biggest Rule to Remember: Do Not Delete or Ignore Negative Reviews
Some negative reviews are fully under your control. They appear as comments on your blog articles and service pages. In this situation, you feel tempted to delete them and pretend they never happened.
This is a very big mistake. Unless they contain profanity and other unsuitable terms (which usually do not pass the content moderation filter set on your site for visitors’ comments), you must acknowledge these reviews and respond to them.
However, in most cases, you cannot delete these reviews, because they are on external platforms, such as:
- Google Business Profile
- Social media pages.
Therefore, you need to learn the proper procedure for dealing with these negative reviews. In our experience as digital marketing specialists, these are the best practices:
1. Take the Time to Calm Down and Refrain From Writing an Immediate Response
Your first instinct is to deny the accusations of unprofessionalism or carelessness expressed by the reviewer. However, this type of response is actual proof of a lack of professionalism. Thus, after reading any negative reviews, take the time to calm down.
For all you know, that person may have a genuine complaint, stemming from some kind of misunderstanding. With calm and professionalism, you can defuse the situation, solve the client’s complaint and maintain your impeccable law firm reputation.
2. Respond to Negative Reviews Within 48 Hours
Notwithstanding your need to calm down, remember that you cannot wait too long before you respond to negative reviews. The next business day or during the next 48 hours is the accepted timeframe for acknowledging the complaint.
We live in the age of speed, and any delay will be interpreted as a sign that you do not really care about your clients after you got your fees. Moreover, the situation may escalate, with other negative reviews piling up in response to the initial one.
3. Ask for Details Using Private Channels of Communication
Public forums, such as social media networks and review sites are not appropriate for discussing the ins and outs of the user’s complaint. Offer them the opportunity to send you a detailed description of your problem either by email or phone call.
This will also help you protect the client-lawyer confidentiality requirements. If the client volunteers to give specific details about their case on a public forum, without being prompted by you, then you have nothing to worry about. Still, remind them that it is safer and more productive to discuss the matter directly with you or any attorney at your firm that handled their case.
4. If Possible, Post a Public Comment Stating the Outcome of the Complaint
Everyone likes to see a conclusion to any online negative review. Without getting into any details, you can return to the original thread of comments and post a quick explanation.
In some cases, if the issue is solved to the client’s satisfaction, they will delete their negative reviews, or share an update explaining that the misunderstanding was resolved.
How to Deal With False Negative Reviews?
Let’s face it: many negative reviews you read online are the result of pure malice or boredom. Thus, you must not be surprised if you find negative reviews from people who never contacted your law firm for assistance and representation.
In this situation, your only recourse is to flag the respective review as spam and report it to the platform owners. Google Business Profile offers a step-by-step process, including the right to submit one appeal if your request to take down a review was denied.
Fortunately, Google has expanded its list of prohibited content in reviews to include:
- Fake engagement
Any of these categories can cover the instance when someone who never contacted your law firm or comments under a false name can have their review deleted.
No Matter What, Remember to Maintain Professionalism
As explained above, a lot of people will look on with interest to see how the situation unfolds once a negative review is posted. Also, many of those who post false negative reviews are motivated by the potential escalating of the situation if you take the bait and give them a strongly worded reply.
We know that getting this kind of untrue and dishonest blemish on your law firm’s reputation is hurtful and unfair. But you must be the better person and the impeccable professional in all such situations.
In the end, your polite and courteous attitude will help people understand that your law firm was the victim of a fake review.
Our Digital Marketing Specialists Can Help You Deal with Negative Reviews
The digital marketing specialists at EverConvert can help you create responses and strategies to deal with any kind of negative reviews – real or false. In some situations, we can be the first point of contact for the initial review and get you involved when a real complaint calls for a direct approach.
We know how to monitor the internet and spot these negative reviews on various platforms. This is extremely important because, as we explained above, you must answer them in a timely manner. And this is just one of the reasons why you should entrust us with your digital marketing strategy. Reputation management is a big part of this task, and we have experience in handling it for law firms.
We encourage you to contact us and find out how we can help you turn website traffic into profits and maintain an impeccable online reputation for your law firm!