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Smart Social Responses to Online Reviews

Smart Social Responses to Online Reviews


It’s safe to say that for most attorneys, “customer service” is something we define more traditionally and it’s certainly not a quality we list first among the arsenal of abilities we offer clients.

But the Digital Age is forcing customer service to the top of the list – especially as more clients turn to online feedback mechanisms to vent their frustrations.

So what can you do to get great (quickly) at responding to digital discussions?

Be responsive.

You should monitor all the websites that mention you routinely. When you see a new piece of feedback, read it as objectively as possible. If they’ve written to share a great experience, your job is simple: say thank you! But if a client is reporting anything less than satisfaction, you need to step carefully but with due speed.

Move the conversation offline.

A client may reveal details of his case in an online complaint – but you’re still bound by privilege. Err on the side of caution and try to encourage dialogue offline. Acknowledge the complaint – “I’m sorry to hear our legal services did not match your expectations!” – and then work to connect via phone or email. This is a twofold tactic: it eliminates a protracted back-and-forth that typically doesn’t benefit you – and it also helps protect a client’s privacy.

Stay polite.

It’s natural to feel very defensive when we’re criticized. That’s compounded with online feedback – studies have shown that people are much harsher and more negative online when they don’t have to look directly at a person. But remember – you’re not just resolving one person’s complaint, you’re also showing prospective clients how personable and professional you are, even in a negative situation.
Don’t respond to everyone.

You read that right. Should you respond to most people? Yes, absolutely. But every once in awhile, you’ll run across that one client who is so out of control, so beyond reason that nothing you can do will make a difference. Plus, it will be clear to others reading the post that this person is over the top.

Get more reviews from clients.

Most people proactively review because they’re either very, very happy or extraordinarily angry. The rest? Not so much. But this is the perfect population to help your online presence. They’re satisfied but they just need you to ask and make it convenient for them to leave a review. Tell them how much it impacts your practice. Let them know it’s how people find you these days. But don’t incentivize for reviews, don’t pay for them, and never write fake reviews.

What are the best ways you manage your social media feedback?

About the Author

Chris Sundermeier is General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer for Reputation.com. He comes to the company after representing various Silicon Valley Internet and technology companies for more than a decade as a litigation partner at Cooley LLP.  There, Chris focused on disputes involving complex commercial contracts and technology agreements, securities, fiduciary duty, mergers and acquisitions, and intellectual property.

Mr. Sundermeier graduated magna cum laude with his law degree from Boston College, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Sundermeier taught philosophy at multiple universities and colleges around New York City while working on a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Fordham University. He also holds an undergraduate degree in English and Philosophy from Creighton University.

Full disclosure, Legal Ink Magazine is an affiliate partner with Reputation.com.

Leslie Hobbs
Leslie Hobbs


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