Client reviews are important for your firm, as people often seek the opinions of others to influence the decisions they make. This seems particularly relevant when choosing the services of a solicitor, or financial adviser, or when looking to change accountants.
Since the start of the pandemic, the way we work and access information has changed drastically, and people have become increasingly reliant on online research, social media recommendations, and particularly online reviews to make key life decisions.
So, how important are online reviews, how can you go about getting them, and what happens if you get negative reviews?
Client reviews are trusted as much as personal recommendations
Recent figures from The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) suggest that 89% of consumers check online reviews and a whopping 85% trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Most people look at TripAdvisor reviews before booking a hotel, or at customer reviews when buying something on Amazon. It is no different for professional services firms where reputation and recommendations are key to decide which solicitor, accountant, or financial adviser to engage with. Seeking third-party/independent endorsements really can seal the deal. Information gleaned from reviews is also invaluable in helping to improve and refine your service offering and can help shape your marketing communications.
Client reviews and what tools are available
There are lots of options out there for sourcing reviews from your customers. The volume of reviews you ask for, as well as what budget you have will determine which solution will be best for you. Here are a few review sites for professional services:
Asking for a Google Review is a simple and free way to build your bank of reviews or customer testimonials – you just need to create a Google Account – you do not need to create a Gmail account (take a look at our Google Review infographic here).
Once you start receiving Google Reviews, always ensure you have a process in place to quickly acknowledge a new client review. If someone leaves a review who is not in fact a client (e.g., a respondent in a legal case), there are ways of addressing this (read on).
Google Reviews are a great way to boost your web presence and will contribute to your Google SEO ranking because customer reviews send a strong signal to search engines that communicates expertise, authority, and trust.
Feedback survey tools
Delighted, Survey Monkey are other free tools you can use to survey your clients – with upgrade options available if you want more functionality. The key to sending feedback surveys is to make them short, concise, and easy to complete so that you get a high response rate. Tools like Delighted are particularly good for asking for feedback from long-standing clients – they can serve as a “temperature-check” to ensure you are still working well together, although they should not replace regular client review meetings.
Net Promoter Score tools
Tools such as Satmetrix or Qualtrics measures client experience and predict business growth rather than focusing specifically on client testimonials, but it does provide insights from clients that inform the actions that will help you to build a strong ‘customer experience’ programme.
If you have some budget to spend and have a decent volume of transactions you may want to consider Review Solicitors, Trust Pilot, or Vouched For. Review Solicitors, as it says, is specific to the legal industry and can integrate with case management systems to make the process of closing matters and asking for reviews a seamless process. Trust pilot is not specific to the legal industry but is universally recognised as a quality standard. Vouched For is for financial advisers, solicitors, or accountants. These tools will boost your profile in search results, and Review Solicitors and Trust Pilot will allow you to port across reviews gained on other platforms/obtained manually.
What if I get a negative review?
Figures from Review Solicitors suggest that around 30% of those asked for a review will respond. And that 30% are more than likely to be those who are either really pleased with the service you have given them or those who have a grievance they are likely to air! So, what happens if you get a negative review? Will this hurt your reputation and credibility? And is there anything you can do about them?
Firstly, if you have 100% of your reviews giving you a 5-star rating, this may well not seem 100% genuine – after all, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, right? Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, shows that you care and that you are keen to rectify any mistakes and improve service delivery. If dealt with in a professional and courteous way, reviews can showcase your commitment to excellent customer service. Of course, if the review does not appear to be genuine or contains false information you can apply to have it removed or suspended (it depends on who you use to get your reviews).
In Google My Business, for example, you can now apply to Google to have fake Google Reviews removed.
Be aware though that the process relies on Google investigating the review and whether they deem the review to be appropriate/genuine or not. There are alternative ways of turning negative reviews into positive customer experiences. You can respond by acknowledging their grievance, and you can address ‘fake’ reviews that you know have not been left by a genuine client. For example:
“In order to properly address your concern, as we are unable to identify you as a client of ours, we would appreciate if you could email us (email@example.com) with your details and the name of our client (assuming you are connected to one of our clients). We treat feedback from our clients very seriously, similarly, we have to respond to potentially defamatory or untrue statements from people who are not clients and will pursue necessary actions to remedy such reviews.”
Client reviews can benefit your firm
Regardless of how you chose to capture client reviews or testimonials, they really can help to raise awareness of your firm, build trust in your firm and its reputation, and better inform your service offering. Client feedback will not only help you to attract new clients, but it will also help to shape your marketing messages – “this is what we know you are looking for and this is how we deliver on that”. Using reviews and case studies in your marketing messages is a powerful endorsement for any firm.
So, now you can see the benefit of seeking reviews, you will need to decide on an approach that best suits the kind of work you do and the volume of transactions you deal with.
If you would like advice on how you can source reviews/ask for feedback, or if you would simply like to know how you can use the feedback across your marketing channels, please do get in touch with Lara or call us on 01903 530787.