Write your own Yelp reviews


Many lawyers complain about review sites like Yelp. They point out that one bad review can do tremendous damage and that many bad reviews are dishonest and unfair.

You can’t stop the crazies from posting their opinion. All you can do is encourage your happy clients to post positive reviews and drown out the bad ones.

And that’s exactly what you should do.

Whenever a client thanks you or praises you or your staff, they should be asked to post a review. Explain that even a few words can make a difference. Tell them how much you appreciate it and point the way to your “page”.

You should also stimulate more good reviews by conducting surveys at the end of every case or engagement. A few questions will do the trick but make sure to include a field that allows them to add comments. When you see positive comments, ask the client to use those comments to post a review.

There’s something else you can do to get more positive reviews. Write your own.

Hold on, don’t get your panties in a festival. I’m not suggesting anything nefarious or unethical. Just the opposite.

Let me explain.

Go to Yelp or another review site and peruse a bunch of reviews for attorneys. Find some of the good ones, especially of attorneys in your practice area. Copy those reviews into a document. Then, do the same thing for the bad reviews.

Bad reviews? Yes, you’ll want those too.

Next, take the good reviews and pull out phrases and sentences and stories that resonate with you. Imagine that these things were said about you and your practice. Then, use them to write a mock review, saying nice things about yourself from the point of view of an extremely satisfied client.

Grab this faux review and a pile of negative reviews about other lawyers and call a meeting with your staff. Show them the faux review and point out why it so good. Then, let the brainstorming begin.

Ask for suggestions about how you could bring about the kinds of results mentioned in the faux review. What do you need to do or change to earn reviews like this one? Write it down.

What you’re doing is creating a manifesto for your firm. Things to do to make your client’s experiences so incredible they feel compelled to write (real) positive reviews. A standard to live up to from this day forward.

One more thing.

Break out the bad reviews and share them. Have a laugh or two, and thank your lucky stars that these things weren’t written about you. Take those bad reviews and add a bunch of “don’ts” to your manifesto.

Follow your manifesto and you won’t ever worry about reviews again.

Reviews are just one way your clients can help your practice grow


Are you yelp-proofing your practice?


The other day our washing machine decided it needed to go on vacation and stopped working. My wife called the service company we’ve used in the past and booked an appointment. They were due to come out today between 8 and 11.

My wife has a busy day today and called to see where we were in the queue. Yep, you guessed it, they had no record of the appointment.

It seems that their computer also needed a vacation and lost a bunch of bookings. They had no way of knowing who to call so it was a good thing my wife decided to call them. (They’ll be here later today).

What about the customers who don’t call to confirm? When the repair person is a no show do you think some of them might call another service? And then rip into them on review sites?

Yeah, I do too.

The company needs a fail-safe mechanism to minimize the risk of this happening again. How about something simple like instructing the person who answers the phone to write down the name and phone number of every caller, on paper, before entering the info into the computer?

Problem. Solved.

If I owned the company, not only would I implement this, I would make a point of dramatizing it in my marketing. In our ads, on our website, on the phone, I would explain that since computers have glitches and the Internet sometimes goes down, we use “double entry” appointments to protect our customers. Or something like that.

This may seem like a small point but marketing is about small points. Showing the world how you are different and better than the other guys by dramatizing the little things you do to give your customers a better experience.

I’m guessing this company won’t do any of this. They won’t apologize or offer us a discount or a freebie to make amends. But if they did, they would go a long way towards strengthening relationships with the people who not only pay their bills but who can recommend them to their friends.

Client referrals start with good client relations


How do you stack up against other lawyers?


Okay boys and girls, grab your giant pencils and your Big Chief Writing tablets and take a look at the assignment I’ve posted on the black board. This week, you are to look at three or four review sites and write a paper about how you compare to other lawyers.

You don’t need to have any reviews or ratings yourself. The purpose of this assignment is to see what other lawyers’ clients said about them, so you can learn how you can deliver a better experience to your clients.

Start with the “five star” reviews and read the comments. What did the clients like about their lawyer? What did their lawyer do that surprised them or especially pleased them? How were they different or better than other lawyers?

Read as many positive reviews as you can and take notes. Write down ideas you might use in your practice.

Did the lawyer being reviewed go out of his or her way to return the client’s phone calls in a timely manner? Did they have special hours in the office, perhaps opening their doors at 7 am once a week, or staying late until 8 pm, to accommodate clients who couldn’t see them during the day?

Brainstorm ways you could do something similar for your clients. Check out the attorney’s website to learn more about what they do for their clients. Consider contacting them to ask questions and get more ideas you can use.

One benefit of this exercise is that you may discover that the attorneys who received five-star reviews didn’t do anything radical. They simply treated their clients with respect and care and provided them with value.

You might find yourself inspired by these reviews, realizing that you can do this, too.

When you’re done, take a look at the bad (i.e., “one-star”) reviews. As much as you may have learned from the positive reviews, you will surely learn even more from the negative ones.

You’ll see many clients telling their tales of woe. They’ll say how their lawyer disappointed them, where they failed them. You’ll see broken promises, neglect, and negligence.

But you’ll also see problems occasioned by nothing more than a lack of understanding. The lawyer didn’t explain something, the client misunderstood something, or once the lawyer was retained, they failed to keep the client updated.

You can learn a lot from negative comments. It is a compendium of things to avoid. Learn from the mistakes of other lawyers, and confirm that you’re not making the same ones.

When you’re done with this exercise, you should have several pages of notes. Use them to prepare a ten page report on ways to improve your client relations and get lots of positive reviews.

Your paper is due by the end of the week, and yes, spelling counts.

Better client relations will bring you more repeat business and referrals


I know you are but what am I?


What do you do when someone posts a negative review on Yelp?

When an unhappy client goes on a rant about what a terrible attorney you are, should you respond? When someone publicly criticizes you, says you’re dumb ass, or greedy, or the Devil’s spawn because you defend child molesters.

What do you do?

Do you defend yourself? Fight back? Send them a horse’s head?

The best thing to do about negative comments is to ignore them. There’s nothing to be gained by getting into a pissing match. Even stupid people are entitled to their opinion.

You’re not going to change the mind of the opinion holder, and if you try to explain or defend yourself in public, you’ll only make yourself look worse.

If the negative comment is on your blog or on your Facebook wall, you should respond. It would look weird if you didn’t. But don’t respond in kind, just point out the facts. Your friends and followers will probably come to your defense and neutralize the negative comment, maybe even smother it.

But if someone posts a negative review about you on Yelp or another public forum, or they give your book a one star review on amazon.com, ignore it.

Let it go. Pour yourself a stiff one.

I see lawyers who are afraid to dive into social media or do anything online because they are afraid of what unhappy clients might say about them.

That’s operating out of fear. Maybe guilt.

Life (and the practice of law) isn’t about the complete avoidance of risk. It’s about the intelligent management of it. If you are alive (or open for business) there will always be risks.

You may have some unhappy clients, and they may share their unhappiness publicly, but. . .

they may not.

Are you going to forgo all of the benefits of being on the Internet because of what one or two Bozos might say about you?

How about all of the other clients who think you’re great? You’re going to get good comments, too.

A lot of people are saying negative things about Dell right now. They get tons of negative reviews. But people still buy their products.

Now if someone is posting untruths about you and not just their opinion, if someone is defaming you, that’s different. You may have to do something. A letter from your lawyer, perhaps. Or a horse’s head.

I say you “may” have to do something because sometimes, it really is better to ignore things like this. Yes, even when they are untrue and causing harm. Life is too short to get all worked up about everything.

Probably the smartest thing to do is to stop reading your reviews. The bad ones will only upset you and the good ones, well, you’re an attorney. You don’t need an even bigger ego.

Marketing for smart attorneys. The Attorney Marketing Formula.


How clients find lawyers


My wife needed dental work. After she was seen by her dentist and the work was scheduled, she saw an article in one of the newsletters she reads about a new and “better” procedure. After reading more about the new procedure, she was convinced that this is what she wanted to do and started looking for a dentist who offered it. She found one close by, had her first visit, and booked an appointment to have the work done.

She found “candidates” through a search engine. She choose the dentist she did because

  • They have a great web site. It has lots of information about the dentist and their office, and about the technology and procedures they use. There are also lots of testimonials on the site.
  • They have over 200 five star reviews on Yelp
  • They were friendly and helpful on the phone and when she went in for her first visit. They made her feel like she could trust them and that they cared about her.

By contrast, aside from not offering this new procedure, her now former dentist

  • Doesn’t have a web site
  • Doesn’t have any reviews on Yelp, or anywhere else she could find
  • Didn’t make her feel like he cared

Oh yeah, the new dentist is actually less expensive than the former dentist. Not critical, but nice.

People find lawyers like they find dentists. I’m just saying.

Marketing is easy. But you have do it. Here’s how.


Is your law firm listed on Yelp? You might be getting reviews and not know it


When my wife is checking out a new restaurant or other local business, she often checks the reviews on Yelp. If they have a poor rating she usually moves on. She may also use Yelp’s directory to find businesses in our area. She found a great auto service business that way and we’re very happy with them.

If you target consumers or small businesses, prospective clients may be checking you out on Yelp. If you have a listing, it’s one more place people searching for an attorney can find you.

The thing is, clients can post a review about you even if you don’t have a listing. You might want to do a search and see if anyone has. While you’re there, create an account so that you can post your details and contact information. This article points you in the right direction.

Once you have an account, you can add your photo, additional details, and special offers (i.e., a coupon, a free report or video, etc.). You can engage with people who post reviews.

The listing is free and it’s easy to set up an account so there’s really no reason not to. Tell your (satisfied) clients to post their reviews. You may or may not get new clients from the directory, but if anyone hears about you somewhere else and goes to check you out on Yelp, you’ll be ready.

Are you listed on Yelp? Have you gotten clients from your listing? Let me know in the comments.