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Online Reputation – Responding to Reviews

Jaimee Hall - October 2, 2018

Many organizations feel trapped or lost when trying to manage their reputation online. For great advice on a pro-active approach, read this blog post by the Legal Marketing Association.

For a limited time, click here to tell us about an online review that you aren’t sure how to respond to and we will send you 2 complimentary draft responses for your consideration.

Our overview of how to handle negative online reviews is below in an easy to read, red-yellow-green format! If you want any other advice on reputation management as a part of your law firm back office operations, visit our marketing page here or contact us at info@legalbackoffice.co for more information.

Equal Treatment: Reply to all reviews

  • Generic replies acknowledging receipt of comment.
  • Specific replies of gratitude and/or an attempt to diffuse anger with attempt to reconcile.
  • Very specific replies providing business perspective on the situation good or bad.

Replying to all reviews gives your organization the chance to create its own voice. When others are reading reviews with your response, you can help control how the viewers perceive you as opposed to them not seeing any response and assuming the worst. Generic replies don’t give you a tone and tend to get dismissed. Readers want to see that a business took the time to reply to each post and didn’t just copy and paste a standard response. Acknowledging good reviews with gratitude proves those reviewers to have merit. Diffusing the anger of a negative poster by acknowledging their feelings and making an attempt to reconcile or apologizing for their experience also shows viewers your caring sentiment. If you reply with specific posts that “call out” an individual removing their anonymity or try and correct a misperception, you run the risk of others seeing your post as not accepting responsibility or being overly aggressive.

Aggression: Legal action against defamatory posters.

Negotiation: Leveraging a discount for customers in exchange for post removals or an attempt to change their opinion with giving them another experience for free or discounted.

Aggression and negotiation have their place if you have a customer that is threatening to post or you have a feeling they might spread defamatory statements. You might also have provided a bad experience and want a chance to make it right with the customer. You can give discounts or write off bills in exchange for a waiver that has them agreeing to remove all posts about the organization. You can also offer them some discounted or free services to attempt to gain back their trust. Aggression is an approach that is becoming more common as organizations are facing severe consequences to negative posters due to very little fault of their own. In a small town or close-knit industry, I would use this option very sparingly. When you decide to sue a customer, you are opening up a box that can’t be closed. Sometimes you have to trust that your posters are likely already known for their negativity and in the long term, your consistency and positive reviews, as well as reputation, will win out. In those instances where a post is not truthful and can potentially harm you in a serious way, a lawsuit can be considered and there are companies that will manage this for you. There are examples where posts have been removed and posters held responsible for organizational fallout.

Ignore: Do not reply to any reviews good or bad.

Play Favorites: Reply only to positive reviews.

Ignoring or only acknowledging the positive reviews doesn’t give your business a “voice” in the discussion or further enrages the negative posters by playing favorites. It also tells the public you may not want to address customer related issues

Remember for a limited time, click here to tell us about an online review that you aren’t sure how to respond to and we will send you 2 complimentary draft responses for your consideration.

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