Responding to Negative Online Reviews

In a world where consumers make dinner plans by reading Yelp reviews, it is no surprise that clients often choose their lawyers the same way. Good reviews matter. Bad reviews hurt business. When a client posts a negative or inaccurate on-line review, a lawyer has a limited ability to respond because of the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality. The leading legal malpractice insurer in Louisiana, CNA, recently provided this useful advice to lawyers on Responding to Negative Online Reviews:

  • If possible, don’t respond at all. Get over it. Easy as that.
  • Consider whether the review is actually false and whether it violated the terms of the social-media site on which the client posted it. If so, you may be able to ask the site to take down the false or noncompliant review.
  • Talk to the client directly. This can avoid making a scene on the internet and, perhaps, salvage a relationship.
  • If you must respond, think it over before taking to the keyboard. When you start typing, remember these “Ss”: Keep your response simple, succinct, straightforward, subdued, and sincere. If you cannot keep your emotions in check, think about asking someone else to write it for you.

All points well taken. But, of course, the best way to deal with bad client reviews is to avoid them in the first place. The three easiest ways to do that? Communicate, communicate, communicate.

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