As an attorney, chances are you have had at least one unhappy client. Legal matters bring up all sorts of emotions for your clients and they may blame you for things that are out of your control. These situations can often result in current or former clients releasing their anger on online review sites. This can be very damaging to an attorney’s reputation, as most of these review sites are high ranking with search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. There is a very specific approach attorneys should take to mitigate these negative online reviews.
• Do not respond out of anger. A negative review can be frustrating, particularly if portions of it are untrue. The worst thing you can do is reply with a defensive response. Take some time, cool off and then decide the best course of action to take.
• Think before you take legal action. You may be tempted to file a defamatory lawsuit against the individual that posted the negative review, but this approach can undoubtedly backfire. The likely outcome of a lawsuit is that more attention is brought to the review than it would have received beforehand (aka- the Streisand Effect).
• Consider that the negative review might be true and take responsibility. The negative review may not be about you; it may be that one of your office personnel is mistreating a client or your front desk person is being rude when answering the phones. If you can, use the negative feedback to better your practice. It is also a wise idea to send out online surveys to past clients to ensure their satisfaction with your services and also catch any complaints.
• Contact the client offline. Some review sites have the option of keeping the reviewer’s anonymity and some do not. If you know the client who posted the review, consider contacting them offline to settle the matter. Be understanding and listen to them vent. Chances are the client will feel better to know that you care and will likely remove the review if you settle the matter appropriately.
• Respond with caution. If you are unable to figure out who wrote the review, you can simply reply to the review. Do not mention any specifics of any cases and do not respond defensively. Urge the reviewer to contact you directly to settle the matter and ensure the person that you truly care about their concerns.
Avvo.com Webinar: Someone Online Hates You
If you have any questions on this topic or would like to hear how the latest media, marketing and technology strategies can help grow your law firm, contact Kristine B. Snively at (954) 376-3683. Also serving Central Florida and surrounding areas at (407) 982-1707.