[Webinar Transcript from April 2022]
Hi everybody, welcome to the webinar today. My name's McKay Allen. I'm on the marketing team at Kenect. We're excited you're here today. We are going to talk specifically about how to double your law firm's online reviews with texting. This is an important topic. We'll dive into it in-depth. We hope it's interesting. We're going to try to keep this short, say 25, 30 minutes. And we think this will be beneficial for you.
So, first of all, 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 what we do is we allow you to communicate more efficiently, generate new leads, conduct video consultations, drive online reviews, and collect payments all with texting. Basically, we allow you to keep your main business number, but we simply make that number textable. So you're able to send and receive text messages to and from your main business number.
We were recently listed as one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. We're on the top 5% of the Inc. 5000 list, which is a big deal. We're also integrated with the leading case management systems in the legal industry. Now I want to make something super clear. You don't have to use one of these tools to use Kenect, but you can. So we have integrations with the ones you see on your screen plus SmartAdvocate, plus MyCase soon, plus Actionstep and with LawPay as well. So again, you don't have to use any of those to use Kenect, but you can.
So how do we do it? Two-way text messaging for your law firm without giving out your personal cell number. Every attorney I've ever talked to has a horror story about giving out their personal cell. They want a text, they want a text with their clients, they want to have their clients text them, but then they have to give out that personal cell and it turns into a mess in many cases. So we allow you to text to get the benefits of texting that you want without having to give out your personal cell.
We also allow you to get web leads straight from your website. You can put a “text us” button directly on your website and start generating leads. You can also do a video chat for virtual consultations and then generate reviews with texting as well. Why are we so obsessed and worried about text messaging? It's simple. 89% of clients would prefer to interact with businesses via text rather than a phone call. 98% of all text messages are open. 95% are read within three minutes. 96% of your clients find phone calls could be disruptive.
Bottom line is, most people in the US say a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important updates and information. I mentioned that “text us” button we can add to your website. That's what it looks like. And then, of course, you have the texting inbox. This is a texting inbox that looks and functions like an email inbox. So basically it acts like an email inbox, but it's for texting. You can send and receive text messages to and from your clients with this inbox just directly by logging in.
You also have the Kenect mobile app that you can use so you can download this on your phone, have anybody at your law firm downloaded on their phone and you can send and receive text messages directly from your phone as well. You can assign leads to people at your firm. You can get alerted when they do or do not respond to those leads immediately. You can see the leads that are coming in for your team, et cetera. You can also do quick replies. You can request reviews. You can request payments, you can schedule messages, all of that with the Kenect app.
So top eight ways law firms use Kenect: Scheduling appointments, sending reminders, streamlining intake, sending case updates, collecting fees, and even resending and receiving photos, videos, PDFs, attachments, DocuSign, et cetera.
Okay, let's talk about Google reviews, let's give you some background initially and then we'll dive into how you can double reviews specifically. So first let's talk about Google My Business. Google My Business allows you to put basic information about your business on the internet. It is the place Google goes to determine where the accurate information is about your company. Your Google My Business page generally receives five times more views than your actual website, which is a really big deal. This is important because a lot of law firms, most law firms, all law firms are spending hundreds of dollars a month, thousands of dollars a year on their website.
And that's great. You should have a good website, but you also need to pay attention to that Google my business page. Why? Because it gets viewed more than your actual website. And yet in a recent study, 78% of law firms said they never log into their Google My Business page. They don't know where it is. They don't know anything about it. In many cases, they don't even know how to edit it. This is the location though where reviews are left and housed. And it is what allows your business to show up in Google results and on Google Maps.
If you have a Google My Business listing that is verified, you are two times more likely to be seen as reputable. So GMB and Google reviews. This is the primary method for clients to share feedback about your business. Anyone using Google can review your business and leave a star rating, anybody. These reviews can be just star ratings. They can be long or short. And Google does not verify to ensure that these people are your actual client.
So why do they matter then? Why should we focus on them first? Because they matter to clients. 93% of clients use reviews as the first step in choosing a law firm. 91% trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. So these are really important. If we would've done this webinar say five years ago, these numbers would've been in the 50 to 60% range. Now they're 93 and 91%. Your clients really do care. Most people will not take action until they read reviews. They need validation for their decision. And if a law firm does not have reviews, they are not seen as reliable. Your clients want to be heard and this is their chance. So if the first reason you need to care about this is because these reviews matter to clients.
The second is because they matter to Google. 97% of people go to Google when they want to find a law firm, they don't go to Avvo. They don't go to Yelp. They don't go to Facebook. They go to Google. Google determines the order in which firms are listed based on ratings and reviews. And if you are not in the top three, you will not get clicked. 98% of the clicks are in the top three.
Now, one of the reasons that sometimes people get frustrated with Google reviews is because the results appear so differently every time. You will sometimes have the map first, then you will have organic listings based on the number of ratings and reviews. Sometimes the order will change within the top several firms depending on the replies or depending on the number of reviews. So it can get frustrated. You will also see instances where the paid listings are first. These are basically ads that are appearing on the actual results page. So you will see paid ads, then the map, then organic listings. Other times you'll see paid listings first, then paid ads, then the map, then organic listings.
Now I want to stress two things. Number one, the people at the top paid handsomely to get there. They're paying anywhere from $12 a click to $60 a click. And by the way, that's not for a lead, that's for a click. That's a significant expense. So they're paying a lot to get there. Then second, they are still not getting as many clicks as the Combs Law Group. Why? Because the consumer knows that those are ads at the top. And they know that the Combs Law Group is a firm that is there because they have a lot of good reviews. So they're going to get more clicks.
Now, why does Google care so much about reviews? Think about it from their standpoint. Their job is to produce the result the searcher wants to see. So if you're Google, the best way you can do that is if someone's searching for a law firm, if someone is engaged with a law firm and they want one and they go to Google to figure it out to decide which firm they want, the best way for Google to produce the result the searcher wants to see is by showing them the best businesses. And the way they can do that is by showing them the businesses that have the most and the best reviews. So how can you get more positive reviews? Let's talk through that.
I want to highlight, before we dive into that, a case study from a law firm called Dozier Miller. So this is a really important case study because it details exactly how they generated 116 reviews over the last 12 months, a 253% increase in their review generation. They are now texting every past client who's worked with them and liked them, and asked them to leave a review.
So what do potential clients want to see in your reviews? Let's go through a couple of these. First is quantity. A minimum of 50 reviews is necessary. 150-plus is ideal. If you don't have at least 50, it's going to be very, very difficult for you to get found. Now I hear some of you saying, "Look, I'm a small firm in a small town. How am I going to get that number of reviews?" Here's what I'll say to that. Reach out to people who you've worked with in the past and text them and ask them to leave you a review. You'll get 50 in no time. Develop a process for reviews going forward and reach out to people in the past. And then the other one I'll focus on is recency. 73% of clients disregard reviews older than 90 days. Most don't even read old reviews. So that means you can't do a blitz in the month of May and never think about it again. You have to consistently get reviews every month.
All right, let's talk about how we do this. First is define your process. Write down a simple process to get Google reviews at your firm. Most law firms do not have this process. And if they do, nobody knows about it. This process does not need to be complex. It does not need to be difficult. It does not need to be confusing. It's really important to note this. Who do you ask? You ask everybody or just those that like you? I would strongly suggest asking just those that like you. If you ask everybody, you're going to get a bunch of reviews that you don't want. You're going to get some negative stuff. How do you ask? Texting, email and person on the phone. That's important to note. How do you ask?
We are biased. We fully admit this, but if you want reviews, you should ask for them via text. That's really important. Ask for these reviews via text. If you ask via email, you will get reviews between one and 2% of the time. If you ask via text, you will get reviews between 35 and 58% of the time. That's a big difference. And it's an important difference. When do you ask? Do you ask after the case, during the case? What's the process there? I would strongly suggest that you define this.
I don't have a good answer here for after the case or during the case, but make sure you define it. And then the most important thing here is who's in charge of asking. You have to determine an owner. Put someone in charge of this process. The best process in the entire world does not matter if someone doesn't own it. It doesn't really matter who it is, by the way. Could be a receptionist, could be each lawyer's in charge of getting reviews for their clients. It could be a legal assistant. It could be paralegals. It could be partners do all of it. If you're big enough to have a marketing person or marketing team, that person can do it. But this is really important. Make sure they know they're in charge of it and make sure that they get some sort of a bonus or financial compensation if they hit that goal. So if your goal is to get eight new reviews every month let's say, pay that person 400 extra bucks if they get eight new reviews that month. Vitally important.
Use texting and not email. Most firms send an email asking for a review. That's a waste of time. You need to text. If you text, you will get responses and I should change the top number on this because that's 58% are new numbers. So between 35 and 58% of the time.
And then finally, be aggressive. If you sit back and wait to get good reviews, you will not get them. Hope is not a strategy here. Aggressively seek new and positive reviews. That's the only way you're going to succeed on Google. The only way.
So how does it work? If you're a Kenect customer, you can send a text message. It's got your logo here. It's from your law firm. You can customize what this text template says. There's a link in it. They click on the link, They select the review site and they leave the review with their thumbs. It's that simple. If you follow that process, you will get reviews up to 58% of the time when you ask for them compared to 1% of the time with an email.
So steps of success here, take control. Do not let angry clients determine your online reputation, build a process, which we discussed, use text messaging, not email, and then respond to these. That's really important. If you follow this process, the process that we've outlined today, you are going to double your reviews in 90 days, period, full stop. You will double your reviews in 90 days. It's what we see over and over and over again. So follow that process. It works.
Now the only thing I'll say before we conclude, we get a ton of questions about negative reviews. How do you handle them? I want to be clear about something. Google will almost never take them down. You can flag these to Google all day. There's evidence that shows they take down less than 1% of negative reviews. So do not plan on that. All you can do is respond with respect and with empathy, and don't start an online argument.
All right, one more case study before we conclude Carey Leisure & Neal. They've seen an 82% increase in Google reviews in just the first 60 days.
All right. If you're interested in learning more about Kenect, you can text us or call us at this number 888-972-7422. We'd love to work with you. You can also go to Kenect.com with that. Let's take a few questions for a few minutes here. Just go to the little questionnaire and you write those questions down.
All right. Yes. Paul says, "Can you share the page where you showed the case study?" Yes. So this is one case study, Carey Leisure & Neal. They initially got Kenect to use it in their intake department, but now they're actually using it across their entire firm. So the problems they had, if you look here on the page is it was complicated to set up video calls with clients. Online reviews were difficult to generate. Needed a single phone number to be used. There were awkward situations with the previous chat tool they used. So now they use Kenect for video chat to instantly do a consultation call. They send online review request via text. We've text-enabled their main business phone number and we integrate with their case management system, which is Filevine. And they added the text us widget to the website for live responses. And they've seen an 82% increase in Google reviews. The other one was Dozier Miller that we shared. They have seen a 253% increase in online reviews in 90 days.
All right. Lindsay says, "Even if we have 160-plus reviews, you believe we can double them in 90 days?" Yes, if you haven't been using texting before. So if you've gotten these reviews from emails, then yeah, we believe you can. Now you might have to go back in the past and message people who you worked with a few years ago because that is a lot of reviews, but yes, 100%.
All right. "How do you recommend we respond to inaccurate or incorrect review?" Seth asks. It's a great question. So if something's inaccurate or incorrect like if they weren't your client or they said something that just wasn't true, I would get on and reply to that review and say something like this. "Thank you for leaving the review. We appreciate it. I'm sorry you're frustrated. I can understand why you're frustrated. My name is Seth, I'm a partner at the firm and I'd love to talk with you personally. So just text us at our main business number and I'd love to talk through this." That's all you got to do. They're likely, never going to respond, but what you've done is you've tamped down the anger. You've made yourself look professional and competent. And if they want to then flame you again, that's fine. But they're the ones who are going to look crazy at that point. And this is important for negative review response. Remember this: Your audience is not the person who left the review. They're not going to change their mind.
If there's anything we've seen over the last couple years, when you have a very well-worded post online, someone is not going to change their mind. There's not. So you're not going to change that person's mind. Your audience then is not that person. It is the thousands of people who are going to respond or are going to rather see that review. And you'll reply in the next six weeks and make a decision about which law firm to use. That's your audience.
Let's see. Emily says, "How do you suggest we respond with negative reviews that are years old?" Okay, so this is a good point. If there's a negative review, that is more than say nine months old, I wouldn't respond to it. Respond everything going forward, but there's no need to dredge up stuff from the past and make Google pay more attention to that. So don't respond to stuff that is super old. That's just pointless.
Julia says, "Please show the four steps again." Okay, here we go. Define your process. Make sure the process is defined. I'll pause for a second to let you get a screenshot, but make sure you write this process down at your firm. Determine an owner. Put someone in charge of this process. Someone has to be in charge of it. Three is use texting, not email. This is totally self-serving. I get it. Admit it. Fully aware of it. Still true. And then be aggressive. Hope is not a strategy. You can't just be like, "You know what? We're probably going to get some good reviews because we're really good lawyers." It doesn't matter. You have to go get reviews aggressively.
Awesome. Thanks for the questions, everybody. Thanks for taking the time. I hope this was useful. I told you we'd be done in about 25 minutes and we're at 23 minutes by my clock. So thanks again, have a fantastic day and a great week. Bye-bye.