Your Game Plan for Dealing with Negative Google Reviews

by Apr 10, 2023

Reviews can be very impactful to your law firm’s digital presence. Not only do reviews serve as essential points of social proof, they can also be used to manage your reputation as an attorney. Whether a potential client is evaluating if you’re the best fit for them or they’re trying to compare their available options, a positive review can make or break your conversion. 

Sometimes, however, a review can be negative. Regardless of the nature of the bad review, it can be a very frustrating thing for attorneys to deal with. Read on for the first steps you should take if you have received a negative Google review and tips for getting more positive reviews for your practice.

Your first steps after a negative review

So, you’ve received a bad review. While this isn’t a make or break moment for your firm’s online reputation, it’s important to take the following next steps to manage your negative review:

#1 Take a breath

The best first step after receiving a negative review on your firm’s Google Business Profile listing is to stop and take a breath. A rash or emotional response to the review may not be in your best interest and could end up making things worse. 

Tip: If you don’t yet have a Google Business Profile for your law firm or would like to know more about optimizing your profile, download our Guide to Google Business Profile here.

#2 Respond

Promptly responding to all reviews that are left on your business listing regardless of their nature shows that you are active and engaged with your business. If you recognize the person who left the negative review, this can be great news! Take the time to reach out to the person outside of Google Business Profile and inquire about why they were upset, and see if there’s a possible solution. 

Many times, having that conversation will result in the client either amending the review or removing it altogether. A lot of times, clients complain — whether it’s to the bar or an online review site — because they feel like there was a lack of communication. You can often solve a lot of these complaints just by talking it through with the client.

If the review is coming from someone you don’t recognize but doesn’t appear to be phony, it’s important to also respond to these reviews seriously. This is because, regardless of if you’re at fault, a potential client can still see the review online and form a bad impression of your firm based on the review. You can use this online response as an opportunity to not only help the person who wrote the review feel less frustrated but also help to represent yourself in a positive way.

Regardless of the source of the review, formulating a response carefully can help make the difference to the reviewer as well as your potential clients. Approach the response as a marketing opportunity for you to defend yourself factually while making yourself likable. Take some time to consider how the negative review could ultimately become a positive one.

#3 Move on

After you have tried your best to respond to the negative review with care, your final step is to simply move on. Bad reviews happen, but it doesn’t mean you’re not a competent attorney who cares about their clients. If you’re stuck dwelling on the negative, it’s going to be more difficult for you to move forward with getting more positive reviews for your business listing.

Getting more reviews

One of the best combatants of negative reviews is the dominance of positive reviews on your business listing. As a regular practice for your firm, it’s important to routinely request testimonials from your happy clients following the closing of their case. 

One of the best ways to ask for reviews is to explain to the client why reviews are important to your firm. When you provide them with the necessary context, they are more likely to comply with your request. In addition, it’s helpful to make the process for leaving a review very easy for the client. For example, you can email them a direct link to leave a review on your Google business listing.

Tip: Assign a follow up date to each satisfied client file for after their case closes to request a testimonial for your Google Business Profile. Set aside some time each week to look over any new reviews, craft responses, and determine if any new reviews should be added to your law firm website.

LawLytics makes obtaining reviews for your website easy thanks to a built-in recommendations engine that allows you to request and add reviews in just a few clicks. Create an optimized display of your recommendations and drag and drop your recommendations in the order you choose.

Dealing with violations of Google’s content policies

It’s possible that you may receive a review that violates one or more of Google’s content policies. There are several guidelines that users must follow when leaving a review on a business listing, but common violations might include:

  • Uncivil discourse (harassment, hate speech, offensive)
  • Deceptive content (fake, impersonation, misinformation)
  • Mature content (illicit or violent)
  • Regulated, dangerous, and illegal content
  • Poor information quality (off-topics, solicitation, incoherent)

If you’re confident that the review is in violation of any of Google’s content policies, you have the option to request a removal of that review. After you have flagged the review, Google will remove the review if they can confirm that one or more policies were violated.

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