Reputation Management: Understanding the Importance

Your firm’s reputation is one of its most important assets. It counts for a huge amount when clients are weighing up who to give their business to.

In fact, the Legal Services Consumer Panel found that 81% of consumers consider reputation when looking for a law firm, making it the most important factor.

Every business faces occasional problems with clients. And the internet has made it easy for people to air their grievances in a public forum.

But the positive is that online management of your reputation is within your control.

Here’s our guide to ensuring you’re keeping on top of the discourse around your brand.

Audit your firm

Take a look online. Carry out online searches to find out where people are talking about you. Once you know where the mentions are concentrated, you’ll know where to focus your attention.

If people are using social media to discuss your firm, that’s where you should invest your time. But if they’re more active on review sites, you know that’s where to be present.

Once you’ve found these mentions, evaluate whether they are largely positive or negative. A few negative reviews or comments is to be expected and nothing to really worry about when the majority are positive.

But if they’re mostly unfavourable, you’ll have some work to do. Just remember that if you’ve found these mentions of your brand, others can too. And they could be potential clients.

Claim your accounts

Review sites allow you to claim your business’ profile. This is true of customer review sites and employee review sites, such as Glassdoor.

If people are present and leaving their thoughts about you, they’re owning the conversation. This is what you should be doing. Don’t let others control what’s said about you.

You can also use these profiles to fill up the first page of your chosen search engine. The more accounts your business has on other sites, the more results a brand search will return.

This can help you in a crisis as it can keep negative stories from appearing at the top, meaning they might not be seen by people searching for information on your firm.

Address criticism

Law firms work with people at some of the most stressful times of their lives. This means emotions are heightened, which can exacerbate situations where clients feel they haven’t been listened to or think they’ve been treated unfairly.

This could lead to them sharing their opinions online. There are various ways that disgruntled clients can make their feelings known – from review sites like Trustpilot to Google reviews to their own social media accounts.

If they are determined to share their negative opinions, they will. It’s up to you to take charge and address the criticism they’ve levelled at your firm.

Do it promptly and avoid getting emotional. Let the reviewer know that you appreciate what they’re saying and offer an explanation or an assurance that it will be investigated. Don’t be flippant or sarcastic. When virtually the entire world is present on social media, this kind of response could go viral in the worst way.

Investigate claims

When something is said about your firm, don’t assume it’s just the reviewer feeling angry or slighted. There may be some legitimate issues that they’ve encountered.

Look into the allegations being made. That way, you’ll know if there’s a potential problem within your firm and you can take steps to address it.

You’ll then also be able to detail your investigation and the corrective actions you’re taking to stop it happening again. This can prove reassuring to potential clients who have come across the comments.

Use your own site

Keeping an active blog or media centre gives you the opportunity to address anything that’s said about your firm.

This will obviously be reserved for the major instances – when another business is making allegations or your firm has hit the headlines, for example – but it’s a valuable piece of real estate you can use to put your perspective forward.

It also gives you the opportunity to reflect your values and what’s important to your firm. You can use this to tell your story, giving you an advantage when it comes to reputation management.

Top tips for reputation management

  • Maintain an active online presence

Being present online lets you check what’s being said about you and gives you the chance to address it then and there.

  • Get your colleagues active

Clients will often search for the person they worked with rather than their firm, so getting them to manage work profiles can help them address any issues directed at them specifically.

  • Set up alerts for your firm

You can receive an email when your firm is mentioned in the news or elsewhere online, helping you keep tabs on all the discussions.


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