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How to Best Motivate Clients to Leave a Review

Think about the last time you purchased a product or service without seeking feedback from friends, family members, or online reviews. Can you even remember how long ago that was, or what you were buying? In today’s world, nearly everyone is connected to vast amounts of information within just a few clicks. Reviews matter as much for those buying a pair of shoes as it does for others searching for a lawyer to help with serious legal troubles. If your firm does not put effort into harnessing the power of positive reviews, you are missing out on the full potential of your customer base.

Reviews for an attorney or firm may include either negative or positive feedback from current clients, former clients, and peers. Potential clients who have only had a free or initial consultation can also post reviews. These individuals have the potential to influence the appeal of your business on sites like Google, Yelp, and Lawyers.com by either highlighting the amazing work you have done, or airing the details of their discontent.

yelp app on a smartphone

The Importance of Online Reviews

The impact of online reviews cannot be denied. A report from Reviewtrackers.com found that approximately 83% of people check reviews for lawyers as a first step in deciding whether to take action. 70% of prospects are willing to go to an attorney’s office in a less convenient location if the attorney has better reviews compared to legal professionals that are closer to home. 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading 1-3 reviews and 73% have formed a definite opinion by the time they have gone through 6 reviews. 60% of consumers pay the most attention to the overall star rating of a business.

These numbers support the idea that reviews act as a form of validation from clients that can automatically build trust (or distrust) with prospects. Reviews also help support your SEO marketing efforts as they are given particular weight when it comes to local search results. Search ranking factors include the number of reviews, product/service keywords in your reviews, the quantity of reviews by people who are “elite” reviewers, negative sentiments, etc.

How to Motivate Clients to Leave a Review

  • Motivate your clients to leave a positive review from very early in your client intake process. For example, provide them with reviews or email them some of your review links so they can read about the experiences of your past and current clients. Let them know that you are open to asking for feedback on a consistent basis as a way to continuously improve your practice. This is a subtle and harmless way to indicate you would appreciate a review from them at some point in the future.
  • In addition to providing reviews, it’s perfectly normal to verbally let clients know up front that you will be asking for their feedback as part of your client services process. If you are upfront and clear about your feedback process, it will not come as a surprise or feel assertive when you ask during the wrap-up phase. When clients are prepared, they will be more comfortable providing a review.
  • While many law firms pull in reviews from third-party websites, think about building a feedback page on your website that is not accessible through site navigation, and only available to those who have the link. Send the link to every client at the end of your work with them, just asking one or two questions. For example, “How would you describe your experience with our firm?” Place a disclaimer on the page that comments provided may be used on your own website for prospects to read. Pull the best snippets from these comments and place them on various pages, or on one dedicated “Testimonials” page.
  • In addition to the details on the link above, you may also want to consider providing direct access to third-party review sites to give individuals multiple posting options. The fact is that some people are already more comfortable providing feedback on specific review sites, and will feel more transparent writing for an external site instead of leaving internal reviews.
  • Providing an incentive for clients to leave a review is a powerful way to motivate them. For example, give out incentives that make sense and relate to your business such as a discount off their final fee, free legal advice on their next case, and even free gifts and promotional pieces that are branded with your firm’s name and logo. You can also create monthly giveaways to be raffled off to reviewers that are more impressive and expensive – concert tickets, an iPad, a gift card, etc.
  • Your law firm can let clients and prospects know that the business is rated on common sites by displaying signage on your front door, reception desk, and on your website.
  • Describe how a client’s review will help others. Having been in the same position, people are more likely to act if their actions can help someone with the same legal problems. Even if it means saving someone a week of research, they can still be a big help just by the power of their words. Remind your clients how important reviews were to them when they were looking for the right law firm to handle their legal issues.
  • What stops a person from writing a review might not be issues related to the quality of your service, but rather their lack of confidence about how to actually write the review. When people do not know what to write, they will either not write anything at all, or submit a review that is formal, generic, or ultimately less authentic. You can help them by asking a few simple questions to spark their memory and give them an idea about what type of information the review should contain. For example, how were their concerns resolved throughout the legal process, how did the firm solve challenges, and how would they describe their overall experience to a close friend or family member. When sending email requests, provide links to your firm’s social media profiles and clear directions on how they can submit their review for each site.
  • Acknowledging the client’s time investment is another way to motivate them to leave a review. Include information on how long you think the process should take when you speak to your client, or send an email. For example, “Providing a review of your experience with our firm should only take about 3-5 minutes of your time.” Thank people for their efforts and for going out of their way to provide feedback.