Grace and Liel meet up in New Orleans at the American Association for Justice Winter Convention. In between Mardi Gras, conferences, business meetings, and networking events, they record the last episode for the 2020 Legal Marketing Toolkit for Success.

The last episode of this series of nine episodes is dedicated to Law Firm Reputation Management. In their conversation, Grace and Liel cover everything that has to do with reputation management, from first party to third party reviews, discuss the value of testimonials, explore why you should also survey your clients, and tell you how to publish your reviews on your website.

This episode will help you identify the components of a successful reputation management strategy and how to implement a system that will yield results. You will hear about the things you should consider when shopping around for Review Management software and why you should consider using or not using them.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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Transcript

Liel: [00:00:00] In this week’s episode, Grace and I meet at the American Association for Justice Winter Convention in New Orleans. To record the last episode of our 2020 Law Firm marketing toolkit for success. I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media and this is In Camera podcast where we give reviews the credit they deserve.

Liel: [00:00:55] Welcome to In Camera Private Legal Marketing Conversations. Today’s a very, very special day for many different reasons.

Liel: [00:01:04] First, it’s the final episode of our 2020 marketing tool kit for success. But also, it’s a very special episode because Grace and I are sitting right next to each other at the exhibitors hall at the American Association for Justice Winter Convention in New Orleans.

Liel: [00:01:23] Grace, how are you? How are you enjoying the AAJconvention? New Orleans, Mardi Gras. There’s so much happening.

Grace: [00:01:31] Oh, my goodness. The parades are insane. The opening convention was crazy at Mardi Gras world watching those floats and then having bananas foster.

Grace: [00:01:41] And it’s just amazing. Plus, of course, you know, all the people that we get this hang out with, including yourself.

Liel: [00:01:47] Absolutely, Grace. We cannot complain. I think it’s been a great convention so far. For me, it’s my first AAJ. And I must say, I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s been great being here. It’s been great being with other exhibitors, other marketing agencies and with all the attorneys, right?

Grace: [00:02:00] Yes.

Liel: [00:02:01] Excellent, Grace. So with that being said, then, let’s now talk about our final episode for these 2020 law for marketing toolkit. What is it going to be about?

Grace: [00:02:12] So this time around, guys, we have got to talk about reviews, not just why, I mean, not just the fact that you need reviews. I think we all kind of understand that. But the why behind it and the ways to handle it. Right.

Liel: [00:02:25] Absolutely. Great. And if I may, then I’d like to set up the scene here a little bit. Right. So bright local, a platform that some of you may or may not know, citations and they also help with your review generation. They actually did a consumer review survey for 2019. And let me share with you some statistics that honestly Grace I think they’re going to blow your mind. OK, so here’s the first one. The average consumer reads ten reviews before feeling able to trust the business.

Grace: [00:02:55] 10?

Liel: [00:02:55] Ten reviews. OK. Wait for it. Only 53 percent of people would consider using a business with less than 4 stars. And I believe that’s been mentioned before by you on one of our early episodes.

Grace: [00:03:09] Yep.

Liel: [00:03:09] OK. The average consumer spends 13 minutes in 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision. Grace, I cannot recall a Web site, where users spend as much as 13 minutes reading content in. So really what this is telling us is that people are spending more time reading reviews than any kind of content that you may have on your Web site. Just kind of like to understand the dimension that reviews having your strategy. 

Grace: [00:03:43] Guys. Visualize that 13 minutes. How many times have you heard the six second bumper ads?

Liel: [00:03:49] Yeah, exactly.

Grace: [00:03:50] Goldfish standard.

Liel: [00:03:53] And I mean, it goes to putting to contrast all those statements that say that attention span and all that stuff, like when people are engaged and are actually reading or listening or seeing depending the type of reviews that they’re being exposed to, other real people talk about their experience, their real experience, you know, without trying to sell you a message. How how everything changes, how the attention span all from the studying is not that limited. And there’s way more interest. It’s mind blowing. Grace.

Grace: [00:04:30] It really is.

Liel: [00:04:30] Let me give you the last one. Among consumers that read reviews, 97 percent read business responses to reviews. Grace, 97 percent. That means that they are not just really reading the review. They’re actually reading what the business has responded to. And, you know, it will be crazy, but actually, there was another number that was saying that only 26 percent of businesses are actually responding to reviews and that’s mind blowing. That’s because it’s such a big opportunity that you have right there when your prospect clients are the most engaged reading about your law firm to really be part of that message and be able to really showcase how is it that you have those conversations with your existing clients Grace.

Grace: [00:05:20] I mean, you have their attention for 13 minutes for business shake respond.

Liel: [00:05:23] Exactly. And that’s exactly why we’re making such a big deal on review generation. And it’s a critical part of any marketing strategy. Okay. So let me make this statement, timely and effective management of your online reviews can be a strong tool for generating leads, period. Now, before we get into all of the good stuff about what are the best practices for review generation and things to avoid, we need to make a disclosure here, right?

Grace: [00:05:56] Yes. Disclaimer, disclaimer. 

Liel: [00:05:58] Disclaimer. We should actually get a little sound for it. Like when a disclaimer comes up. 

Grace: [00:06:02] Glin Glin

Liel: [00:06:02] Exactly. I like I like we have sound effects with Grace. OK. So the one thing here is that nothing we say in this podcast is going to override yours third bar guidelines about review generation and review soliciting.

Grace: [00:06:19] That’s right, guys. Please pay attention. Nothing we say in this podcast can be held against us. It does not overwrite your state bar. Seriously. You know, make sure you understand it. I know most of you are attorneys that are listening to this. But even those that are not attorneys or marketers. Of course, you know, the ABA, the marketing handbook. You must adhere to your state bar regulations and about reviews and soliciting of reviews. There are some states that allow it. Some that don’t. So just make sure you adhere to your state bar.

Liel: [00:06:49] Perfect Grace. Thank you very much. And would all that being said and covered. I think now we can go in to all of the good stuff about review generation. So, Grace, let’s…

Grace: [00:07:00] I have my first question for you.

Liel: [00:07:02] OK.

Grace: [00:07:02] It’s my turn, Liel.

Liel: [00:07:03] All right.. 

Grace: [00:07:05] So my first question and this is kind of an extensive one, right, because there’s so many different things that are involved in reviews. What are the different types of reviews?

Liel: [00:07:15] OK. So, Grace, thank you very much. It’s very, very important for us to establish that because most of people’s mind, when they hear reviews, their mind goes right into Google My Business. Some people may think about Facebook. And some people would think about a Avvo or other legal directory platforms. But the reality is that that’s just part of the reviews. There is really three main kinds of reviews that we should include in this conversation. And the first one is going to be first party reviews. Now, first party reviews are reviews that you are actually collecting out of your own initiative and you are displaying them on your Website, on your own platform. And the reason why first party reviews are important is because they give you an opportunity to diversify the type of reviews that you actually collect. Secondly, it allows you to have them on your Website. And we will talk about why is it good to display your reviews on your Web site at a later point. Because guess what? Google likes it. And so that’s about first part of reviews now… 

Grace: [00:08:25] So wait. Quick question. So first party reviews, you’re basically saying that’s like in-house reviews in a way are like  processing it from in-house?

Liel: [00:08:34] So basically, these are reviews that you’re not using, on a third party platform to host it or list it somewhere else other than your actual Website. 

Grace: [00:08:47] I see.

Liel: [00:08:47] Right, so they’re exclusive to you. And here’s another great advantage that first party reviews have is that while, for instance, to leave a review on Google or Facebook, you have to be a user of that platform; first party review generations do not necessarily require for the user to have an e-mail or a telephone number. Most of times just their first name would be enough. Sufficient. Right.

Grace: [00:09:13] I see.

Liel: [00:09:14] That’s why it’s a very effective way of collecting reviews for when you may find challenges in getting people to share with you their email addresses or other ways, that will have to be part of the review generating process. Right? You cannot leave a google my business review if you don’t have a G-mail account. And that’s how it is.

Grace: [00:09:34] Yes.

Liel: [00:09:35] And I’m telling you, that’s been a challenge for some of my clients because many Hispanics, they don’t use e-mail in general. They primarily deal everything with text messaging. And so… 

Grace: [00:09:47] Or WhatsApp.

Liel: [00:09:47] Yeah. And so for for the attorneys to get them to leave Google, My Business reviews, it’s been sort of a challenge at times because their clients in the first place don’t have a G-mail account. And so that’s something we’re going to talk in another episode is how to encourage at an early stage in the case management process for your clients to have, for you to have access to your clients via email and the right email platform. Right. But that’s gonna be a different conversation.

Grace: [00:10:18] OK. 

Liel: [00:10:18] Now moving back. So we talked about first part of reviews, Grace; now, what are then the third party review platforms that I’ve just mentioned? Like what would be third party review platforms?

Grace: [00:10:30] So as you know, from what you’re saying and as you know from my understanding and to give you guys a little more clarification, a third party review site or user reviews that are collected by third party Websites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, things like that.Correct? 

Liel: [00:10:45] Yes, absolutely.

Grace: [00:10:48] So why do we separate the two? Can we explain it to them?

Liel: [00:10:51] Right. And again, third, party reviews are strictly collected by another organization another institution. Right. And the whole purpose of having this third party review platforms is because users can access them without necessarily being invited by you to leave a review.

Grace: [00:11:13] Got it.

Liel: [00:11:13] Whereas the first party of review generation will have to have your involvement. Third party platforms not, like anyone, anyone, whether they’re a client or not. Mind you can go to your Google my business and leave you a review. And I know a lot of attorneys are frustrated with that. And there’s a way to actually report reviews that are not coming from legitimate clients. Nevertheless, and I must say, it’s a reality many times Google won’t do anything about it, but that’s why it’s so important that you’re on top of actually answering and responding to reviews so you can actually make the point that you want to make in that response. And so that’s, I would say, the main differentiation between third party reviews and the first part.

Grace: [00:11:56] So what do you what do you consider the third type of review?

Liel: [00:12:01] Ok, so the third type of review is actually going to be testimonials. Right. And the reason why it’s its own category is because many times testimonials can come not necessarily via a form that you actually submit it to an existing client asking for feedback. It could be voluntarily. Somebody could actually just say, you know, I’d like to share with you some comments. And then this can also come in different ways. It can be audio recordings. They can be videos, right? And these are extremely powerful, very, very powerful. Now, testimonials and first party review generation can go hand in hand. You can definitely use your first party review platform to generate testimonials. But there’s definitely also the likelihood that some testimonials and feedback will come through different ways where you can actually access this information.

Grace: [00:12:54] Testimonies are super powerful. 

Liel: [00:12:56] Very, very, very powerful. And again, these things should always be hosted on your Website. You should, make sure whether you’re collecting them or they’re happening through a third party, there are ways that you can actually…

Grace: [00:13:10] Get it back to your pages.

Liel: [00:13:11] Yes. Integrate your reviews to your Website in a way that it’s going to be relevant for the readers when they’re actually visiting your site. Cool. So now that we know what are the different kinds of review types. Let’s talk about soliciting reviews. Right, Grace? So, Grace, can we actually solicit reviews? Can we? Like, are we allowed to tell our clients, please, can you share with me some feedback on Google?

Grace: [00:13:45] So back to our disclaimer, right? State bar regulations in terms of soliciting. But even with that, there are very specific platforms that tell you what you can and can’t do in terms of soliciting reviews. Google is one of them. They specifically say that reviews are only valuable when they’re honest and unbiased, obviously. Right? I mean, we all want real reviews because that’s what we’re trying to, you know, to give to our clients.

Liel: [00:14:10] And that’s actually from the Google My Business Help page, like what you’ve just said is actually the Google policy.

Grace: [00:14:16] Pulled directly from their sites, guys.

Grace: [00:14:18] So, for example, business owners shouldn’t offer incentives to customers in exchange for reviews. And it’s the same for most of the platforms except…

Liel: [00:14:29] Yelp.

Grace: [00:14:30] That’s right guys.

Liel: [00:14:30] Right. And so I think it’s fair to say that whether it’s Facebook or is Avvo, most platforms will be fine for law firms to ask for reviews. As long as they’re not trying to be selective as to who they’re asking for reviews for. Right. However, Yelp’s policy is that you should not ask or solicit reviews on Yelp as in their opinion, it leads to deceptively biased content. And so what happens, Grace, is very simple. If Yelp is under the suspicion that you’re requesting your clients to leave reviews for you, they will suspend your account. So simple as that. And of course, with that goes all your reviews. So how can you generate reviews on a platform like Yelp. Well, I mean, Yelp will provide you with little stickers and things that will allow you to… 

Grace: [00:15:29] Encourage people.

Liel: [00:15:31] Yes. Raise awareness that you are listed in Yelp and that people are leaving feedback about you on Yelp. However, you cannot really complete the action of literally asking for it. And so that’s that’s particular to Yelp. But any other platform, as long as you’re doing it, what it’s considered to be in an ethical way, you are allowed to do so. OK? Now it is important that as we mentioned this, considering that Facebook is also a very powerful platform for where people go and research and read reviews. The reality is that the term reviews is no longer used by Facebook, yet they recently…

Grace: [00:16:14] Changed.

Liel: [00:16:14] Correct, this recently shifted to recommendations. So instead of giving you a star rating, now it’s just the same poll asked, do you recommend yes or no? And then you’re also invited to attach tags about different things. Right? Friendly staff and so forth and so on. And so that’s what’s Facebook approach towards reviews and comments on businesses is all about moving forward. So no longer star rating. It’s a yes or a no. OK? Now, with that being said, Grace. Let’s now talk about another very hot topic, which is can we incentivize for review generation?

Grace: [00:16:57] So that goes back to our disclaimer again. Fortunately or unfortunately, how you look at it. You can incentivize for reviews depending on your state, but you do want to incentivize your team.

Liel: [00:17:13] Absolutely.

Grace: [00:17:14] What does that mean? So let me give you a little story. I guess a mini blurb. A Pennsylvania law firm had to settle a lawsuit because it was discovered that they were soliciting positive online reviews from people who had never used a law firm service like employees, friends and family. Super important guys, pay attention to that. Remember, honest, unbiased, truly that were clients or worked with you that had an experience with your firm. So that leads us to the next part. Right?

Liel: [00:17:47] So, yeah, actually, Grace, what you’ve just mentioned the happened last summer and I guess it goes to the point that you’re making like do incentivize your employees to request for reviews, but incentivize them to generate authentic reviews and set up policies as to whom are they supposed to be asking reviews from, because what apparently this law firm did is that they kind of created this competition where they incentivize it. The room just went dark on us right now…. So we’re looking at each other. But that’s fine. We can continue with the recording. My point, Grace, here is that they what they wanted to encourage their teams to feel empowered about asking reviews, however, because they potentially did not set up the right parameters as to who they should be asking for reviews. The employees just look at us to, you know what? It doesn’t really matter as many reviews, the better. And then just went on and started asking friends, family members to write reviews, positive reviews on the law firm just to generate more reviews and to be able to, you know, win whatever was the reward that the law firm was offering. And, you know, from every single angle, that’s bad. But who’s the ultimate who has the ultimate responsibility? And this is the law firm. And so that’s why it’s so important that you actually set up a policy as to how are you gonna request for reviews, who’s going to be doing it and what’s going to be considered a suitable candidate for our review, right. And while these things may sound so obtuse, until you don’t have them in paper, until you don’t have them integrated to a job description, you know, you cannot make assumptions. 

Grace: [00:19:29] That’s right.

Liel: [00:19:33] Now, with that being said, apparently Grace. And I’m telling you, because I cannot test for these. It looks like, for instance, the state of New York will allow you to incentivize the actual clients to leave, you are review by, for instance, offering them a credit or a discount on their final service fees that they’re going to be paying you. Right. But here’s the thing. You cannot be selective as to whom you’re offering this deal, this incentive. It has to be across the board to anyone, whether they’re leaving you a good or a bad review. And so, again, it goes back to the same principle that Google is telling us that we should consider when soliciting reviews, not trying to eliminate the bad ones. The bad ones. Yeah. Okay. But yeah, very interesting. And we’re actually going to add a link on our episode notes because this comes directly from the state bar. So for those in New York, yes, you can. You want to incentivize your clients, apparently, check out, Grace. There is this concept, it’s called review gating. OK?

Grace: [00:20:44] Yes.

Liel: [00:20:45] Can you explain what this review gating is for our audience, for those who are listening about review gating for the first time?

Grace: [00:20:51] So review gating is generally speaking, when you have, it’s usually a third party that you’re using that will stop any bad reviews essentially from coming through and hitting any of the Web sites that we’ve mentioned. And, you know, the question is to review gate or not to review gate?

Liel: [00:21:09] Grace, I think, you know, everything that we’ve said prior to this question really kind of makes the answer even more obvious, right? Don’t review gate.

Grace: [00:21:22] That’s right.

Liel: [00:21:23] And and the reason why you need to be so aware that review gating is not a good practice is because several platforms that offer review generation or review management tools, will make it, leave it up, to your choice to the law firms choice, the client choice to decide whether they want to review gate or not. And so initially people might be tempted and say, yeah, of course, like, if I can make sure that all of the bad reviews get to a different inbox, we’re not sending them to Google My Business or Facebook to transition into actual reviews on these platforms. You need to know that it’s not a practice that is encouraged by any platform. And as a matter of fact, Google will penalize you by suspending potentially your Google My Business and deleting your reviews. And so… 

Grace: [00:22:16] I’ve seen that happen.

Liel: [00:22:16] Yeah, I’ve seen that happen. I must say, I’ve seen that happen.

Grace: [00:22:19] Have loads and loads of other reviews just completely deleted because they found out that they either didn’t allow certain reviews to come through or like you said, you review gat it.

Liel: [00:22:28] Yeah. And so it’s something that, you know, as tempting as it may seem to you, it’s just not considered a good practice. And I guess when we start talking a little bit more about negative reviews, you see it. People now, even those who are reading the reviews, understand that not everyone who is actually leaving a review is an unbiased person and that they’re obviously going to have very particular circumstances and that what happened to them may not necessarily be what will happen to them. They’re going to be probably more interested in seeing how the law firm dealt with it…

Grace: [00:23:03] Exactly.

Liel: [00:23:04] As opposed as anything else. And so review gating really is not…

Grace: [00:23:09] It’s not beneficial. 

Liel: [00:23:10] Not really beneficial. And there’s actually value in being able to showcase how do you deal with adversity. And we’ve mentioned this before in other episodes. Now, let’s move on to talking about then, OK, if we’re not going to review gate and we’re going to allow for all reviews to go, to come through, what happens then, Grace, when a bad review comes?

Grace: [00:23:36] Respond, respond, respond! How? Right? How do you respond?

Liel: [00:23:41] Exactly. Are we like… Just let me give you a scenario.

Liel: [00:23:46] I’ve just got a review from someone I’ve never met. They’re not a client of the law firm. OK? And are complaining that we’re not friendly and we don’t want to help and that, you know, whatever. Should I just go off on these purslane and get all upset and potentially call him names?

Grace: [00:24:06] Most definitely not. So I actually was going to say that exact story. So thank you for taking it out of my mouth. That’s exactly what happened to one of the law firms I’ve worked with before. They… Someone that never been a client, posted a review saying that they were rude. They didn’t want to take their gaze. This that the other unfortunately, the truth was they did not, they were actually quite nice. They had the recording of the review. I’m sorry, a recording of that specific prospect or the person that called them. We listened to it. We saw that there was nothing wrong with what they had done. They just weren’t able to take the case, or help them because those weren’t the types of cases that they would normally take. And so they responded. And they it’s how they responded. They said, you know, we’re sorry that you feel that way. You know, if if there’s any way that we can help you in the future, we’re here for you. However, we were unable to take your case because of X, Y, Z. And, you know, I found that a lot of people read that response to that negative review and actually said they called because of the response to the negative review and how they handled a non client. And, you know, in theory, they’re allowed to report that to Google. And they they did try to as well, but they still took the time to respond as quickly as possible, because that’s of benefit to you as a firm to show in turn what the reality is.

Grace: [00:25:31] Right? You can’t take every case. It doesn’t make sense for you to do that in general. And some cases you just can’t take to do the best for your client. Right? Or your potential client.

Liel: [00:25:43] You know, Grace, it’s I really like the part that you said that people actually called you because they read that review. I mean, it goes back to our initial stats that we shared about how much people are spending time reading reviews and so forth and so on. But let’s also remember that most platforms allow you in a way or another to like a review or not. As a user, when you’re reading, you can either rate it by saying, did you find this useful or you can give it a thumbs up. And so people actually interact with these as well.

Liel: [00:26:19] And you should and it’s very, very valuable to know that and understand how your reviews are influencing the decision making process of your prospect clients in deciding hiring you as their law firm. So what a great example. Thank you for sharing.

Grace: [00:26:38] Thank you.

Liel: [00:26:38] Yeah. Excellent. So, Grace, we’ve covered how to handle bad reviews. We’ve covered how to respond to those bad reviews. Now, Grace, let’s suppose that I’m a law firm that has one hundred and fifty reviews, right? And Grace, what? I have a nice round, 4.8 Total score. Most of our reviews are five stars and people are actually commenting that they’re very satisfied with their results that they gained. But consistently that’s the only comment that they’re satisfied with the results. Should I be concerned or should I just think that I’m a rock star because I have such good reviews?

Grace: [00:27:23] So you know how I like to take it back to other businesses and other companies and that type of thing, because, you know, reviews are are all encompassing in any industry. Right. And so to answer your question, you should be slightly concerned. Why? Because you want real information as to the client experience in the review. So are you possibly asking for the review at the, you know, at the end or at the wrong time? Is there a time that you could ask for it? Maybe earlier in the process, that makes sense. So that they can explain what their experience was even at the very beginning.

Grace: [00:28:01] You know, I know we’ve talked about it before, about when do you ask for reviews and at what point in time. And I know that everybody has a different idea as to when you should. And a lot of them are like, OK, at the pay check point. Right. When they get that money, that’s when you ask for the review because you’re giving them money. And of course, they’re going to be happy and they’re going to give you a good review. Generally speaking. Right. Especially if they’re happy with you. However, what about the intake? Isn’t that something we talked about over and over the empathy required? You know, and we do include a process where sometimes at the very end, if you feel like you’ve been extra helpful to somebody and you feel like that came away with at least something from the conversation, the intake person has the authority to ask for a review at that point.

Liel: [00:28:46] Grace, this is like so loaded of valuable information, what you’re just saying here. And so I think this is the right time to bring up another huge component that ties very well to reviews that we haven’t talked about. And these are surveys. Right. You need to survey your client several times throughout your experience. It’s not just about the end Google review that you’re going to get. You want to know that their entire client experience was a positive one. And if it wasn’t, well, then you want to know why and when. And so to find ways that you can improve it. Because at the end of the day, even if you’re getting great results, you’re actually not necessarily delivering the best experience. And the way that your business is going to grow exponentially is when you’re actually doing both, delivering a great experience and getting the desired results. Doing only the great results alone may not work, as a matter of fact, if you deliver a great experience, but then the results are not necessarily the ones that were expected or anticipated at the beginning. You may still get a good review.

Grace: [00:30:00] Exactly.

Liel: [00:30:00] Why? Because there was trust an interest, an appreciation that made the client feel taken care of throughout the process. And that’s what’s really making them and leaving them with a positive impression, not just the results.

Grace: [00:30:18] You’re providing value throughout the process, not just at the end. You know, some of these things take two years. And also, what what is the client experience in the in-between from day one to the day when they get the, you know, the actual check that they need to know that you’re going to hold their hand and help them through this extremely tough time. So it’s super important that you have reviews and request reviews if, you know, at the most appropriate time, of course, but early on in the process, like you said, make checks. Check it in. You know, each time a lot.

Liel: [00:30:49] Absolutely. So reviews should not replace client feedback surveys. Those should be coming through frequently and you should make sure that you’re checking up on your client satisfaction levels throughout the whole process and not just at the end when the case is being…

Grace: [00:31:09]  Settled.

Liel: [00:31:09] Settled, correct. Now, with that, because surveys, first party review generation, they’re kind of again tying back together. Grace, let me just make a point as to why is it important to collect the first party review generation. So I did mention the diversity of it. Right. That’s an important factor for local search. Google doesn’t just want you to have reviews on Google My Business. They’re going to look at where else do you have reviews and what are people saying about you in those reviews. So Google takes us into consideration. And the fact is that you actually get reviews in other sites, including you collecting your own reviews. That’s super valuable. And let me tell you something. 

Grace: [00:31:52] And thats important, guys. Please pay attention to this.

Liel: [00:31:54] Not a lot of people are doing it. Now, here’s the other upside of it. OK. Up until recently, you could add plug-ins to your Website that will allow you to pull in reviews from all kinds of different platforms and kind of mark them up using schema to show them as star ratings under your organic listings. But now Google says, wait a minute, you cannot pick and choose which reviews you want to show. These need to be authentic reviews that are not getting filtered and so forth and so on.

Liel: [00:32:27] And so first part of review generation allows you very nicely to prove Google that you’re not being selective about it, that you’re collecting reviews in an ethical manner, and that they’re actually your own reviews. And that’s why you’re putting them on your Web site and such. So with the right plug in, you can actually get to show star rating under your listing in the search results page, which is, you know, a powerful message and increase click through rate. OK. So here are a few things about doing that and how to do it right. OK. Use the right plugin that has schema markup, so Google can understand that that’s, you know, a basic. But here’s another thing. Aboard trying to put ratings on every page of your site because then Google will say, hey, hey, what are you trying to do? Are you trying to play the system?

Grace: [00:33:18] Overload it? 

Liel: [00:33:18] So you should also put the right reviews into right practice page. Right. So if it’s personal injury, personal injury page, worker’s compensation, worker’s compensation page, it has to feed and match what the review is about to the service that you’re providing.

Grace: [00:33:33] Kind of goes to the personalization.

Liel: [00:33:35] Correct. It needs to be relevant for the user. It’s all about the user experience. And make sure that you’re not marking up your home page. Your main page that it’s general with reviews because that can also get you a penalty, which will then get you potentially a webmaster tools warning and the worst case scenario, even a ranking penalty. We don’t want none of that Grace.

Grace: [00:34:00] All right, guys. So that leads us right to the next thing, right where we’ve been talking about reputation management, essentially star reviews and how to get it on your site. So the next thing is how do you select reputation management software and what is the first question you should ask when you’re looking at different types of software? Does the tool help you increase the number of reviews? That is number one, right, Liel?

Liel: [00:34:25] Absolutely, Grace. And so… I agree. I think the first thing that you need to make sure that your platform is going to enable you to is to streamline the process of asking for reviews and make it easy, not just for you, but for the actual client to complete the review process. Right. And so with that being said, Grace, what do you think should be the option number one method for requesting reviews?

Grace: [00:34:57] So everybody listen to this text messages. Right. I mean, think about it. Emails are a little bit overloaded. Your you know, this or that might be overloaded. But what do you really turnaround kind of pay attention to a text message.

[00:35:13] Absolutely, Grace. I think, you know, when you think about it like people for their daily life, for their personal lives, like why do they need to use an e-mail like, we’re so used to thinking that e-mail is such a common thing. Right. But when you think about it in your personal life, what do you use the e-mail for? Most of times just to get marketed stuff for people or places or restaurants that you visited, but they now have your e-mail address and they’re just sending your stuff. But it’s not really a platform that you’re using it that you’re using to communicate that much. Right? 

Grace: [00:35:47] Right.

Liel: [00:35:47] And so if you want people to acknowledge your request, you’re better off putting it through a platforming device that they’re actually paying attention to. And her mobile devices is definitely the best option. And text messages. Just makes you stand out. What do you think?

Grace: [00:36:05] Hundred percent. I mean, you know, you need to like you said it. I can’t put it any clearer than that. You have to make it easy for them. And how is it easy for them? Communicating in the method that they choose. Generally speaking, your mobile device. What? Are you gonna send an email and hope that they’re going to respond to you at some point? I mean, I think about, you know, my own personal email address. When you were talking about it Liel, because I want to throw it out the window half the time I’m like, there’s so much junk, so much spam, so many things that I’ve subscribed to or not subscribed to, and I’m still getting these emails. I just don’t want to pay attention. But I get a “compra caros”, you know, “buy junk cars” text message. I look at it.

Liel: [00:36:42] Yeah. Even though you’re not interested.

Grace: [00:36:44]  I don’t want to, but I see it.

Liel: [00:36:45] You’ll open it. You know what? If that would have gone to your e-mail, it would’ve probably ended up on the spam folder.

Grace: [00:36:51] It would have ended up in the spam. But because it was in my text message, I actually looked at it. I even opened it to see who was selling, you know, buying junk cars.

Liel: [00:37:00] Exactly. So I don’t think it needs more explanation as to why is it important and more convenient to generate reviews, through text message. So that’s a given. Make sure that if you’re hiring a platform, that it allows you to do these through text message in an easy way. Now, what other things should we keep in mind Grace?

Grace: [00:37:20] So, you know, of course, as part of the text message generation, you need to follow up and follow up. Right. But there’s also the component of there are multiple review sites. Right. So does the tool help you track your reviews across these multiple sites? And does it give you a dashboard? To me, those go kind of hand in hand that you’re able to track it across all these multiple sites. How would you do that through a dashboard?No? 

Liel: [00:37:42] Absolutely. Grace, you know, the beauty about having a platform that allows you to send text messages without actually having to use a cell phone is that it also tells you whether it got delivered, opened and clicked on. And so when you have this information, you know how to follow up and you can also keep track as to how many requests have been completed and how many have not yet, it doesn’t mean that you cannot use a cell phone to send a text message request to your clients. You can still do that. You’re just going to have to follow up manually as to whether you’re getting those reviews on the platforms that you’re requesting them for. And so this just makes the process way more easier and lets you and lets you stay on top of things. Furthermore, you can even automate reminders. Right? And therefore, freeing up more of your time, while at the same time keeping yourself on schedule of getting those reviews generated with priority. What do you think?

Grace: [00:38:43] 100 percent. I mean, the whole point of why you’re implementing a system, a policy, a procedure for getting these reviews to begin with, how you got to track it. Right. I mean, it’s it’s all well and good to implement, you know, key performance indicators and metrics. But if you’re not tracking or actually looking at all these different metrics or have a place to actually do that, it’s irrelevant. Right?

Grace: [00:39:06] Absolutely. And so what you’re seeing here, that’s another great thing that the platform should enable you to do, is be able to pull out reports as to how many reviews you’re generating, but not just that. At the same time, set up benchmark goals for yourself. Right. What’s your desired star rating that you want to have and how you’re doing in terms of that?

Grace: [00:39:30] That’s right. I mean, it goes back to what we said from the very beginning. Anything under a 4.0 is considered, essentially will not come up on best on Google. So you better make sure that you have a place that can track all your online reviews, that you have your goals set up. You know what you’re looking for. And, you know, I mean, honestly, that really leads into our kind of next big section, right? It’s reporting and goal setting, you know. I mean, we talk about constantly policies and procedures. And so part of that is implementing the metrics that you want to be looking for. That makes sense and a way to actually follow those metrics.

Liel: [00:40:08] Absolutely. There’s actually some tools that will give you guidelines as to for your industry in your vertical, what is considered to be the average review, and it will help you measure yourself against that and even competitors. So it’s very powerful. 

Grace: [00:40:25] And I train to industry benchmarks guys. I mean, for every industry. So I know we know a lot of us like to think that our industry is a little bit unique. Every industry is, of course. Yes, it is unique. But there are certain benchmarks that you can measure yourself against. And those are industry benchmarks.

Liel: [00:40:41] Absolutely. Now, we’ve make such a big deal about responding to reviews, good ones and bad ones. But you need to know when a review actually hits your platform. And so notifications.

Grace: [00:40:56] That’s right. So as you’re saying that it means their reputation management software has to notify you about events like a new review being published and even notifications can occur like within the program itself or by sending a text or email and even the system that we use in Gacovino and Lake, it notifies us on our desktop. We have desktop notifications that pop up. You know, of course, I had to allow it. But it tells me exactly when something hits where it is, where it came from. And, you know, certain things like that that allow me to respond in a timely fashion.

Liel: [00:41:28] Now, I’ll tell you what Grace would be also wonderful is for the platform to also allow you to respond from within the platform without having to go to the actual directory, whether it’s Google My Business or its Facebook or any other place to actually post a response. Right. Because that takes time. And when you have data all consolidated into one single dashboard, it makes it way more easier for you to be able to follow up on those reviews and get those responses out very quickly. Now, let me tell you about something super, super cool that exists nowadays and some platforms are offering it. Okay? So…

Grace: [00:42:05] What’s that? 

Liel: [00:42:05] So much background noise, guys. At this point, Grace and I have moved to the actual hallway. They’re preparing and doing setup for the last day of the conference. And so we apologize for the sound quality. My voice is just about to really go.

Grace: [00:42:20] He lost it from last night, guys.

Liel: [00:42:22] So we… Yeah. There is there’s a little bit of hiccups but…

Grace: [00:42:28] This is the fun of doing it at the conference. It’s OK.

Liel: [00:42:32] And we hope that the actual content is is worth its while. Right. So, Grace, what I was going to say is that some platforms will now give you a sentiment analysis on the actual review. So using A.I., it will identify which words are being used. So correlate that to what emotions are triggered and you will be able to then identify the overall sentiment that exists amongst your satisfied customers. You’re unsatisfied customers. And what are the points that are making them feel good or bad about certain things and actually dissect their review and pull out. Because the review might be five stars, but they still may have a comment somewhere written there that they were just disappointed that it took more than two days to get callbacks. Right? And so it will actually dissect that part and create a metric for it and for how many times these comments are re-occurring. So you can also have a sense of awareness as we were saying before. You cannot just look at the star rating and measure yourself against that star rating. It’s about the content in the comments. And that needs to be acknowledged and some tools will allow you to do it.

Grace: [00:43:50] I mean, that goes right back to 13 minutes of reading the review. Right?

Liel: [00:43:54] Right back at it.

Grace: [00:43:55] All right.

Liel: [00:43:56] Yeah. People care more about the comments than the actual star rating. Grace and I think last but not least, it’s gonna be the integration, right.

Grace: [00:44:05] Gotcha.

Liel: [00:44:05] If you can integrate that to your case management software or if you can integrate that to your CRM, oh my god, that makes life so much easier, right?

Grace: [00:44:13] We always talk about automation, guys, and it’s a key. Integration is key in automating. You know, if you have silos of information, how are you gonna get them to speak to each other? How are you going to get this on your Website? How are you going to get this into your CRM? How are you going to make sure that you’re that person that is providing you this wonderful review is constantly part of your lifecycle marketing campaign that you keep nurturing them. You keep them happy by seeing what they give you. You know, even at the negative sentiments, right?

Liel: [00:44:41] Exactly.

Grace: [00:44:42] Take care of them too. Why are they unhappy.

Liel: [00:44:45] And with that also comes the good stuff. Right? Friendly stuff. Like how many times is that being mentioned? And that should, you should actually measure that and see how many times names are being mentioned and utilized and recognize those who are doing a great job within your firm.

Liel: [00:45:02] I mean, feedback is so much more powerful than just how it can help you acquire more business. It could actually help you so much at improving your client experience and incentivizing your team and really, really addressing opportunities that are holding you back.

Grace: [00:45:22] And I think it’s really important to note that, you know, as we’ve talked about in a couple of other episodes, there are other, you know, motivating reasons or incentives. Right. That people don’t always want money. They don’t always want this or that. A simple kind word to the person that took care of your client, your own staff. If you just tell them you did such a great job, these people are so happy over and over. They’ve given reviews about our friendly staff and how wonderful you are. I just want to take the time to appreciate you and let you know.

Liel: [00:45:53] It’s just the, socializing, the review internally and make sure that everybody is aware that a member of your team has been acknowledged for their efforts and the interest and care.

Grace: [00:46:04] That’s right.

Liel: [00:46:05] And as you said, like, to think that you always have to reward with money, is a mistake. 

Grace: [00:46:13] That’s right. 

Liel: [00:46:13] Grace, you’re not gonna believe it. You’re not gonna believe it. But I think we made it to the point where we go through the takeaways.

Grace: [00:46:21] We’re at the end. Nice.

Liel: [00:46:23] Yes, we’re at the end. I think we go for it or I’m I don’t know. I mean, do you think we left something out?

Grace: [00:46:28] I don’t think so. You know, I like to always bring things back to another industry in sort of my own experience, right, because I’ve been in marketing for a long time. But as a consumer of products and a consumer myself, I really want to know what the first thing I do when I see reviews, I go directly to the first five star and then I go right to the first one star. And I read both and I see in between if I think that they have more one stars, obviously I’m not going there because it’s going to be below a 4.0. And that’s a hundred percent, right. If it’s below a 4.0, I’m going probably…. Actually I’m definitely not going.

Liel: [00:47:04] Next.

Grace: [00:47:04] Yes. There are so many choices in this world. Why would I go with anything below a 4.0 star.

Liel: [00:47:11] Absolutely, Grace. Well, so we’re on the same page. So let’s do our takeaways. What’s the first one Grace?

Grace: [00:47:17] So back to citations and citation management. What does that mean? If you don’t know by now, we will tell you again. It’s claiming your business. Updating your business profile and monitoring it.

Liel: [00:47:29] Absolutely. I mean, you’re going to be able to generate reviews because as we’ve said, third party platforms do not require your authorization or any of your import whatsoever for generating reviews on your business. However, you want to make sure that you’re claiming this, your listings in these directories. Number one. So you can respond to reviews. Number two. So you can optimize the listing and make sure that all the information that’s actually displayed in there is consistent with the message and branding of your law firm.

Grace: [00:48:02] That’s right.

Liel: [00:48:02] Because otherwise, all of those wonderful benefits that we’ve mentioned about the power that reviews have are not going to have an impact on you and you’re not going to be able to leverage. And I mean, going back to the numbers, like high percentage numbers of people are basically making decisions as to who are they’re going to buy from, who are they’re going to hire based on reviews, solely reviews. So you cannot ignore that.

Grace: [00:48:28] That’s right. So that kind of leads us to our next takeaway. Set up a system and policy for your law firms, review generation. Make it a part of the job description of your team that goes hand-in-hand. 

Liel: [00:48:41] Grace, I mean, I think there is nothing less powerful than just coming to your team, say, hey, we’re going to start generating reviews. That tells nothing. It’s unorganized. You’re not going to achieve anything. There needs to be a system. There needs to be a policy. There needs to be a policy for your employee. There needs to be a policy for your clients as well. Your clients need to understand how are you collecting reviews and what are you doing with those reviews? Right. And you need to make sure that there is accountability. Here’s the point. If you don’t seem to care about it that much, to actually take the effort of making it part of your employees job description and creating responsibilities and tasks and standards of operations for it.

Grace: [00:49:25] That’s right.

Liel: [00:49:26] Then your staff is not going to care, because if you don’t care enough, why should they?

Grace: [00:49:29] That’s right. I mean, that’s such an important point. I don’t think we can make that any stronger. If it’s not important to you, why would it be important to them?

Liel: [00:49:38] Yeah. 

Grace: [00:49:39] Frankly. 

Liel: [00:49:39] And that’s basically for everything.

Grace: [00:49:41] Everything. 

Liel: [00:49:41] And review generation is not an exemption.

Grace: [00:49:43] It’s the lifeblood of your business. We have gone over and over, how many times? That I mean, especially just now, 13 minutes of reading like that’s the most held hostage content there is. It’s the lifeblood of your business if you don’t do it. You’re basically… You will be going nowhere.

Liel: [00:50:01] Agreed Grace. So, next point.

Grace: [00:50:06] All right, so that brings us to, you know, use a platform to collect reviews or set up an internal process by creating a short URL and sending it by text messages.

Liel: [00:50:17] You know what, Grace, I’ve met over the past few months law firms who have been literally doing it manually, like sending text messages from a cell phone and really getting amazing results and review generation.

Liel: [00:50:31] So to think that you have to have a software to do so is kind of a mistake. You don’t. But the reality is that there is great solutions out there that will make things much easier, will allow you to streamline the process and reduce the amount of opportunities that could be along the way of letting their review request fall through the cracks. So with that being said, I think you need to do your own risk analysis and do a chart of what are the benefits against the cost and come to your own conclusion. Because let’s be honest, some of these platforms, well, they do cost a few hundred dollars per month. And so you have to decide what’s, whether it’s worth your while or not, how much time it’s going to free from one of your employees. And, you know, just run numbers based on that. But the reality is that whether you’re in doing a true platform or whether you’re doing it manually in-house, you have to have a system and a procedure in place. There’s like, that’s the one thing that’s not going to change.

Grace: [00:51:33] And I think that’s key in everything that we’ve ever spoken about in marketing, system follows a procedure in place for everything you do. So I think that brings us to our next point.

Grace: [00:51:44] You must respond to all reviews and respond in a personal manner. Be as personal as you need to be to make them feel at ease and that you’re answering their concern and or question and or even the positive response.

Liel: [00:52:00] Yeah, I really hope that what I’m about to say is really unnecessary. But I think some people still think that giving a like to their reviews that they’re getting from their clients, like just liking it, is enough. And that comes as a response.

Grace: [00:52:17] Oh, my gosh, you’re kidding, right?

Liel: [00:52:19] I’ve seen it… Everyday.

Grace: [00:52:21] Well…

Liel: [00:52:22] And it doesn’t count as a response.

Grace: [00:52:23] No! 

Liel: [00:52:23] A personal response is our is there is a response that you’re actually writing it, thinking particularly about your client. How is your experience dealing with them and trying to make a comment that actually ties to them as an individual and acknowledges them as an individual. Right? Of course, this is something that the entire world can see. So be mindful about it.

Grace: [00:52:47] Right.

Liel: [00:52:47] Don’t comment on something that is private or that not older people should know about. But, you know…

Grace: [00:52:53] No identifying specific information about the case and or anything, which you all know. But maybe that’s part of your policy and procedure. Right? And how you respond.

Liel: [00:53:03] Grace, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Your standard of operation for review should go all the way to how do you respond? What are the timelines? What are the timelines? Because guess what? Like, if you’re setting up a timeline that you’re going to respond to all reviews within a day and reviews aren’t getting a response within a day, then somebody is gonna have to be called to a meeting.

Grace: [00:53:28] Accountability. 

Liel: [00:53:29] Accountability. It’s just it’s that’s the way.

Grace: [00:53:31] That’s right.

Liel: [00:53:32] That’s the way you cannot let these things slip and slide. Not with the impact and the important role that they pay within your marketing strategies. As simple as that.

Grace: [00:53:39] I tell people all the time, reviews are the lifeblood of a business. It affects everybody’s bottom line, including your own, right? If I’m not around tomorrow and I’m showing that I care about reviews and you in turn don’t guess what the firm could close, right? I mean, I’ve seen it happen where, you know, they just don’t have any reviews. They don’t exist anywhere. They didn’t claim their listing or their page. So now they have to go somewhere else. You know, that’s terrible, but it can happen. So just make sure you put all these things in place that we’re talking about, because that’s what this is about, right? It’s about…  No B.S. conversation and letting you know what should be done. But people don’t necessarily talk about.

Liel: [00:54:19] Absolutely. And again, I think the last one, Grace is user experience. Use your reviews to better describe your services in your Website.

Grace: [00:54:31] That’s right.

Liel: [00:54:32] Integrate your reviews, the reviews that have to do with your particular practice areas in your website so that users don’t have to go outside of your Website to read reviews. Like I mean, it’s what we were talking about the fact that they don’t have to leave and that they can find all of the information in one place on your Website, just lends for a better user experience. And that’s why we do things right. Yes. We do care of what Google thinks about us. We want to make sure that we’re playing by the rules and that we’re doing everything we can to favor our rankings. But at the end of the day, we’re also doing it because we want to provide our prospect clients with a good experience. And that’s good client experience, not having to have five types open just to get information of your law firm.

Grace: [00:55:18] Right? 

Liel: [00:55:19] Find it all in one place.

Grace: [00:55:20] Yeah. And it’s by practice area. So it’s funny because Liel and I were actually talking about this earlier before we even started the podcast. How, you know, that Google is now starting to give you this option to go to directly to the product. So let’s say you buy a shoe and I want to review on that specific shoe. I’m not going to go to your home page and, you know, read reviews about you as a company. I want to know about that specific shoe.

Liel: [00:55:45] Absolutely. I think you’re touching on a good point. Shopping. They’ve been doing this forever, like reviews are product based. The same should be for law firms. And so very good point that you’re bringing there, Grace. It’s a it’s a great kind of like example as to what is it like we should be aiming for when it comes down to generating reviews based on our practice area. Great.

Grace: [00:56:06] So you guys and you just, you know, think about these things, correlate them because, you know, certain things that work across every industry, work across every industry for a reason. You know, people want to know about you and how you can handle my car accident. If you can handle my slip and fall, can you handle my premise liability? Can you handle my Social Security claim? Can you handle this? I want to know specifically, can you handle this? Not oh, you’re a great law firm because everybody says so.

Liel: [00:56:32] Yes. It will always be much more relevant for you to be able to read comments that are actually relevant to the same needs that you have. So, Grace, those are our takeaways. And with that said, we’re coming to the end of the final episode on our 2020 toolkit for success for your law firm. And so with that, I say we must ask for our listeners. This is a time that we want to hear your feedback, whether this tool kit was useful for you. What have you implemented? What are you struggling implementing and what else would you like to hear us talk about? Needless to say, however, we’re going to come back next week with a new conversation, with a new topic. And I hope that you continue to listen because we’re just getting started.

Grace: [00:57:18] So start sending in your submissions, guys. We’re here for you. Let us know what you want and what you want us to answer.

Liel: [00:57:24] All right, Grace. With that, we say goodbye from the AAJ Winter Convention in New Orleans. And we’ll talk to you next week with another private legal marketing conversation at In Camera podcast. Bye bye.

[00:57:43] If you like our show, make sure you subscribe. Tell your co-workers. Leave us a review and send us your questions at ask@incamerapodcast.com. We’ll see you next week.

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