Consumers trust online reviews from strangers just as much as they trust real-life recommendations from family and friends. This makes having positive reviews on your law firm’s online profiles—Google+ Local, Yelp, AVVO, etc.—worth their weight in gold. But what about when an unhappy client leaves your firm a bad review?
No matter how consistently you provide good service, you will likely have one or two clients that aren’t completely satisfied. Fortunately, having one or two negative reviews can actually be a good thing. Having a less-than-stellar review legitimizes all of your great reviews.
When you receive a negative review, you have two choices: you can either redouble your efforts to get more good reviews in order to offset the bad one, or you can attempt to remove the bad review.
You should know that removing reviews is very, very difficult. Most review sites, including Google+ Local and Yelp, have a policy of keeping reviews unless they feature false information or abuse. You can ask the reviewer himself to take down the review, but that is obviously at his discretion. On many review sites, you can respond to reviews in order to explain your side. However, this practice comes with ethics ramifications. Recently, an Illinois attorney’s response to one of her reviews led to a disciplinary complaint. The complaint alleges that the attorney revealed confidential information about her former client and that the response was intended to intimidate the client in order to prevent him from posting further.
If you do choose to try to remove or respond to the review, proceed with caution. We would advise that, instead, you work to get more good reviews.