Google Reviews 202 for Small and Mid-Sized Law Firms

Dec 2
min Read
Legal Webinars

[Webinar Transcript from November 2022]

Hi, everybody. Thanks for jumping on the webinar today. We'll try to make this quick and useful, get you out of here in 20 to 30 minutes, and hopefully get you back here Monday and your holiday week. We're going to talk today about Google reviews. We're going to talk about them in context of small and mid-size firms because the things that small and mid-size firms have to focus on and worry about are going to be slightly different than those that large firms have to worry about relative to Google reviews. So we're going to go through a Google reviews presentation we call Google reviews 202. It dives a little bit more into how to deal with negative reviews and also some additional tactics in terms of how to get positive reviews than our Google reviews 101 presentation does. So if you do have questions, type those in. We'd love to address those as we go.

Who is Kenect?

We're based outside of Salt Lake City. We're a text messaging platform built for law firms throughout North America. Basically, we help you communicate efficiently, generate new leads, conduct video consultations, and drive online reviews, all with texting. Basically, we turn your main business number into a textable line, so you get the benefits of texting without having to give out your personal cell number. And every attorney I've ever talked to has a horror story about giving out his or her personal cell number, so you can avoid that horror story when you use Kenect.

We were also listed as one of the fastest growing private companies in the world, number 216 on the Inc. 5000 list, which has been awesome. We've been on that list for two straight years.

You can see the integrations we have. You don't have use one of these tools in order to use Kenect also, but you can use one of these solutions in order to use Kenect. So we integrate with everything on the screen, plus Actionstep, plus SmartAdvocate, plus MyCase, plus LawPay. So these are fantastic integrations if you're interested in using Kenect with them.

How do we do it? Two way text messaging for your law firm so you don't need to give out your personal cell number by lead straight from your website, video chat for virtual consultations, and then online review generation and reputation management as well. Your clients really do prefer text messaging, so 89% of clients prefer to interact with a business via text rather than a phone call. 98% of all text messages are open, 95% are read within three minutes, 96% of clients find phone calls to be disruptive. So bottom line is if you're not texting, your clients wish you were. I'll just say it that way, right? If you're not texting, your clients wish you were.

A couple of interesting stats here. If you try to call somebody from your business phone number, that phone call will get answered about 12% of the time. If you leave a voicemail, that voicemail will be listened to about 2% of the time. If you text, they will read the text message 98% of the time, and that's, I think, really important.

Top eight ways law firms use Kenect. I won't go through each of these directly, but what I will say is you can schedule appointments and send consultation reminders. You can streamline intake. Intake's a big one here. I think most law firms start using Kenect because they want to improve their intake, and then they realize, oh, it helps me communicate better, helps me get more reviews and do a bunch of other things. You can also add a text us button here on your website that will allow you to send and receive text messages directly from your website. And then this is the Kenect text inbox that allows you to send and receive text messages to and from the inbox like you would in email inbox, but it's for texting.

You also have the Kenect mobile app that you can send and receive emails from. You can send and receive pictures, videos, PDFs, attachments. You can request payments via LawPay integration. You can invite to a video chat. All of this is done with a text message to and from your main business phone number.

I mentioned video chat. You can do a live video chat while you're doing an initial consultation. So a lot of law firms will conduct initial consultations with potential clients using video chat.

Getting more positive Google reviews

All right, let's talk about Google reviews. So what are they? Well, the primary method for clients to share feedback about your business, and they're even more important for small law firms, I would argue. And the reason I make that argument is because one or two bad reviews can sink your whole business, and I'm not exaggerating there. If you're getting 13 reviews a year and you get two bad ones, that's going to have a real and dramatic and immediate impact on your business. So make sure that you're focused on this.

These reviews that Google allows you to post can be long or short, they can be just star ratings. They can also just write whatever they want, so they could say things about you that aren't true and you have no way to stop them, which is a little terrifying. Google does not also verify to ensure that they're your client. So I've never been your client, any of your firms, but I could easily leave you a review.

Let's talk about Google My Business. So Google My Business are pages that Google provides for free that allow you to put basic and verified information about your business on the internet. So it's the central location basically where Google pulls this information. Has your address, has hours, has a phone number, has Q&A, has pictures. It also, your GMB page generally receives about five times more views than your actual website. This is the location also where reviews are left and where they're housed, and it allows your business to show up in Google results and on Google Maps.

Now, according to Google, if you have a verified GMB listing, you're two times more likely to be seen as reputable. I definitely think that this is the most underutilized aspect of any law firm's marketing. Now, why do I say that? I say it because it gets more views than your website, and yet fewer law firms actually log into it.

This is the second half of your GMB page. It's where reviews are listed and where they're housed. Now, how can you claim your GMB profile? Well, search your business on Google. Google will then display what it knows about your business. You'll then be prompted to log into that Gmail account, click manage now. Google will then ask for confirmation, whether that's via phone number, an email, a postcard, whatever it is, Google will ask for confirmation, and that is, I think, really important to note. You can easily confirm that you're the business owner and you can then log in and make changes and edits.

So why do Google reviews matter? Number one is because they matter to clients. Most of your clients use reviews as the first step in choosing the law firm. If we would've done this webinar say five years ago, these numbers would've been 58 and 61%. They wouldn't have been close to this in terms of importance. Second is because they matter to Google. 97% of people go to Google and they want to find a law firm. Google then determines the order in which firms are listed by ratings and reviews.

You can also see here that when Google shows results, they often do it in different orders. So sometimes they will show the map first, then then they will show the listing of law firms, and those law firms are chosen based on the number of ratings and reviews. Then you'll often see paid listings or paid ads first and second. Don't get frustrated by this. These law firms paid a lot to be at the top, and still the organic listings that are after the map are going to get more clicks. So don't get frustrated if you're not able to afford those ads. That can be frustrating for small firms if you're not able to afford those ads. But again, don't get frustrated. You will not get as many clicks from those ads as you will from the organic listings below the map.

This is a question we get a lot: why does Google care so much about reviews? Here's what I'll say. They have one job, and that job is to produce the result the searcher wants to see. That's their job, to produce the result the searcher wants to see. So keeping that in mind, keeping in mind that that's their job, reviews can help them do that. If I'm searching for the best law firm, the only way that Google can give me information about what law firm may be the best is because it is due to reviews. So if you are Google, you're going to show businesses that have the best reviews possible.

How to deal with negative Google reviews

All right, I want to talk about how to deal with negative reviews. First of all, how common are they? It's about one in 50 for law firms, one in 50. That's, I think, important to note. If you're a lot lower than that or a lot higher than that with the ratio, those are things to pay attention to. Tips for avoiding bad reviews: you can't really avoid them, but you can reduce them. Some people are just going to get up in the morning and want to leave bad reviews, so you're never going to be able to totally avoid them, but you can mitigate them.

What not to do when you get a bad review, and this is important, first is you should not ignore it. You should always pay attention to it. So get to the bottom of it, figure out how it happened and how the interaction went wrong. This is going to take talking to people internally and potentially talking to the client who left to the bad review, figure out what happened, because they might be right. I know that the natural inclination is to tell them they're wrong, but make sure that you are always trying to get to the bottom of it. Don't fail to reply. Always reply. Silence is consent. So if you don't say anything, you're just letting an angry client have their say.

Don't just plan on Google removing it. They generally won't. They will almost never take down bad review, and then don't start an argument when you reply. If you reply offensively and with frustration, nothing good will come from that. Nothing good will come from an online argument. You will lose from an online argument. Will Google will take these down? The answer is usually no. Make sure you know that. Google will generally not take them down.

All right, so what should you do when you get a bad review? What you should do is, as I said, get to the bottom of it. And number two is you should reply. You should reply with something like, "I can understand why you're frustrated. My name's McKay. I'm one of the partners. Can you text our main business line? I'll reach out personally and see if we can resolve this." That's all you got to do. The goal is actually not to get them to reply. The goal is to make you look reasonable and rational to the other people who are going to read the reply and the review, the thousands of people who are going to read that over the next six months. That's why it's important to write the review.

The key though is to bury bad reviews with good ones. If you remember nothing else from this webinar, remember this: the best way to deal with negative reviews is to get more positive reviews. That's important. So how can you get more positive reviews? You've got to build a process. You've got to define who you ask, how you ask, when you ask, and who's in charge you're asking. That's important. So let's go through each one.

Who do you ask? Everybody or just those that like you? I would ask just those that like you. You have no moral, legal or ethical obligation to ask everybody. How do you ask? Do you text email in person on the phone? It's your call. I would text though, based on the data I'll show you below. When do you ask? That's your call entirely. And then who's in charge of asking? Not sure I know the answer, but define it. That's the key. So as we move to number two, let's talk about that more.

Just determine who the owner is for the process. It could be a front desk receptionist type person. It could be a marketing person, it could be a partner, it could be every attorney's in charge of getting their own. It doesn't matter. Just make sure you know who's in charge of asking and then compensate the owner. In other words, if your goal as a firm to get 12 reviews in a month, give a bonus to the person who gets 12 reviews in a month. Pay him $500 and then ask him the right way. If you text, you will get a response about 58% of the time. If you email, you're going to get a response one to 2% of the time. So step one is send a text. Make sure you're sending a text message from Kenect. It'll come from your business number. It'll have your logo, it'll have a link. You then they then select the review site and leave the review. If you do that, you are going to get reviews up to 58% of the time.

And then finally, the last thing I'll say here is take control. Don't let angry clients determine your online reputation. You have to get great clients to leave reviews. Build a repeatable process and go get reviews. I know you didn't become a lawyer or work for a law firm to go and aggressively get reviews, I get that, but you've got to go do it. You've got to go get reviews. That's vitally important.

If you're interested learning more, just text us or call us at that number. We'd love to speak with you and see if it's a fit. Thanks, everybody.

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