How to Get Good Client ReviewsHad an interesting discussion on my Facebook page yesterday. I shared a recent post by Larry Bodine on why Client Reviews Are Critical In Getting New Business with a comment that his was a great perspective to keep in mind.

Not unsurprisingly, several of my attorney friends popped up to disagree. One wrote that “any lawyer worth his sophisticated salt does not look for client reviews like a fast food joint.” He also cautioned that “when you open yourself to reviews, you also open yourself to negative reviews.”

Believe me, I get attorneys’ frustration with client reviews. Lawyering can be a thankless business, and even if you get a good result for your clients, they can usually find something to complain about — usually the bill.

But here’s the plain truth: clients are going to review you. You have no more control over that than you do the weather. And potential clients are going to read those reviews. In fact, many studies show that most consumers today trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Reading reviews when looking for a service provider is routine for most people today.

You also have to face the fact that you are going to get negative reviews too, since studies show that people are three times as likely to leave a negative comment than a positive one. The best answer to a negative review is to get as many positive reviews to balance things out. You don’t do that by ignoring the system. (See my previous post on 7 Effective Ways to Respond to a Negative Online Review.)

Here are some tips on getting good client reviews:

Just ask.  Most people enjoy sharing their experience with service providers, especially if it’s been a good one.  Just the simple act of asking a client to provide you with a review lets them know what they think is important to you – which makes them feel good.  You can start by contacting your old (happy) clients and asking them to provide a review.

Create great client experiences.  Cultivating a culture of great client service is a must for gaining positive reviews. Think about the greatest customer service experiences you’ve had and try to emulate them in your firm.

Implement a process for getting reviews.  Attorneys need to create a process for making reviews happen. Always look for those moments in your relationships with clients to create a review opportunity – when you have won a case for a client, when you have helped someone avoid litigation – all opportunities for you to generate a great review. Make it easy for clients to review you by emailing them a link to post a review on Google. Better yet, create an autoresponder email with a built-in Google review form and send it to them at the appropriate time.

Repurpose good reviews. If you have received good reviews or testimonials, post them on your website, in your e-newsletter and anywhere else that potential customers are likely to stumble upon them. And be sure to ask whoever provided you with that great review if they would also submit it to Google so it shows up in search.

Your reputation is your most valuable asset. Don’t leave it to chance by failing to manage your online reputation.