Should Your Law Firm Respond to Negative Online Reviews?

Should Your Law Firm Respond to Negative Online Reviews?

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What clients say about you online is somewhat out of your control. Of course, you can believe that you have provided a client with an excellent service, but they might disagree and then turn to a third-party review site or social media to leave your firm a negative review. You may even find people leave negative reviews on a platform despite having never been a client! 

Reviews are a good thing, though—as frustrating as those negative reviews might be, they are, firstly, a great way for your firm to understand where there is room for improvement. They can also provide your firm with an opportunity to respond to the review in a professional manner, meaning you could increase the trust potential clients might have in your firm.

Getting more reviews should be part of your marketing strategy, as it can impact your law firm’s local SEO efforts. Negative reviews are inevitable, so if you are starting to get more reviews but are seeing some negative reviews there, we’ve detailed how to respond to these reviews below.

Should you respond to negative reviews?

As mentioned above, negative reviews can be an opportunity for you to build trust with your potential clients. Responding to positive and negative reviews shows you care and appreciate the feedback from clients, taking the time to write them. By responding to reviews, you can get across your firm's values, experience and expertise in another way and become more personable to potential clients.

Although negative reviews can be helpful, you ideally want to provide a service that receives positive reviews all the time. So, when you receive a negative review, it’s important to respond to it to help minimise brand reputation damage. If you aren’t sure how to respond to a negative review, follow our top tips below.

How should you respond to a negative review?

Respond quickly

It looks much better to potential clients, and the client who wrote the review might be more receptive if you respond to a negative review promptly. If you respond to a negative review three months after it was written, you are likely just going to annoy the person again and could heighten the conflict. Conversely, if you respond within a few days and write a genuine reply, it’ll show that you care about the feedback you are receiving and, therefore, your clients.

Write from, and to, a specific person

When responding to a review, make sure to address the person who wrote it, and sign off with your name, job title and how they can contact you further to discuss the matter. This helps to show your reviews are genuine and that you want to resolve the issue.

Be empathetic and understanding

Clients using your service are likely going through a complex, frustrating or stressful time, so it is essential to consider these feelings when writing your review. If a person has recently gone through a divorce or lost a family member and has not had the outcome they wanted, it might be harder to reason with them. Therefore, stick to the facts but be empathetic and understanding, and offer advice on the next steps if they aren’t happy. Hopefully, after some time reflecting, you can resolve the problem with them.

Make the review personal to the client

Without breaking confidentiality, be as personal as you can in your reply to the reviewer. This might just be as simple as addressing them by name. If you can use personal details and things that you have remembered from their case, you can show potential clients that you do care about them. It might not help win over this particular client, but it can prove to potential clients that you are a firm worth their time.

Take responsibility

Where necessary, take responsibility for the situation and explain how you will improve in the future and stop this from happening. For example, if the reviewer states that you were uncommunicative and didn’t keep them in the loop, explain how you will implement specific training or policies to ensure that clients are more involved in the process. Some things will ultimately be out of your control, or be specific to this case, but you can still discuss how to minimise this usually.

Take the conversation offline if you can

We would never recommend asking someone to delete their review and discussing it with them offline instead. However, we would definitely recommend including some contact details so the client can get in touch with someone if they’d like to discuss the review in more detail and get some feedback from the team. This again shows that you can and are willing to take the time to sort the problem out.

How to use negative reviews to your advantage?

Negative reviews aren’t always bad – if you use them to your advantage! Negative reviews might identify an area for improvement with your services, and you could use this to implement training, hire a new staff member or use the budget more wisely. By making these changes, you can then respond with an overview of how you will prevent this experience from happening again to another person. By responding to those negative reviews and detailing how you will improve them, you are helping to build trust and credibility for your firm. In addition, negative reviews show you are a real firm with real people, which is always a good thing! Of course, you want to strive for a positive experience for all clients and, therefore, positive reviews, so this should be your top priority!

If you want some more top tips in managing and responding to negative reviews, head to this Google-specific blog post.

Can you remove negative reviews?

Your best bet, if it’s a negative review, is to respond in a timely manner in an understanding way as mentioned in the steps above. In some cases, you can remove a fake review or a review that goes against the platform’s policy.

If you have a case for requesting the removal of a review from Google, you can use Google’s review management tool – but this can be more hassle than it’s worth sometimes. Google won’t remove a review just because you don’t agree with it; it will have to violate Google’s policy or be a fake review. Find out more about Google’s review management tool here.

To respond to reviews on Google, you’ll need to set up your Google Business Profile (GBP), you can find out more about optimising your GBP here.

If you need support in trying to get your negative Google Reviews removed, we can assist you with this. Please contact or 0117 325 0200.