The Myth of the Angry Reviewer

The Myth of the Angry Reviewer

Last time in this space, I talked about the fact that with the rise of the Internet, law firms are no longer in control of their own reputation. If you’re like many attorneys, you might think of online reviews as public enemy number one.

I’d guess that it’s the seeming ubiquity of online “trolls” that makes attorneys steer clear of online critiques. They suspect that only unhappy clients bother to write reviews. And anonymous commenters? Why they’re little more than vandals, waiting gleefully for the opportunity to spray-paint graffiti all over a firm’s well-tended reputation.

But here’s something that I think will surprise you: While more than half of all legal consumers are leaving reviews online, nearly all of those reviews are positive.

Want evidence? According to a recent ratings and reviews survey conducted by FindLaw, 57% of consumers who have used an attorney left an online review or rating for their attorney. What’s more, 81% of those left a review to leave positive feedback. By and large, survey respondents who said they didn’t post reviews simply didn’t know they could do so.

Here’s the upshot: Consumers want to leave upbeat reviews. They want to spread the good word of the solicitous service and timely help they received from a law firm.

This is good news for a number of reasons. For one thing, it should reassure you that traditional word-of-mouth recommendations still have a lot of business-building power. It’s just that these days, “word of mouth” extends across a much bigger universe.

It also demonstrates that reviews and ratings aren’t something that you need to fear. In fact, as our new white paper notes, even though you can’t control what people say about you online, you can manage it. It’s just that reputation management requires different skills in a digitally interconnected world.

You can download a free copy of that white paper here, by the way.

In my next two posts, I’ll discuss how your firm can best deal with negative reviews—yes, you might get a few. Then we’ll discuss how you can put reviews – even the bad ones – to work in order to build your business.

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