Client review sites are playing an increasingly important role in the online ecosystem. Not only do testimonials and reviews effect your visibility in search results, they also help to shape your online reputation and influence consumers that are looking for legal representation.
My colleague, Gyi Tsakalakis, wrote a terrific article discussing the ethics of online reviews, the methodology of collecting reviews, and getting the reviews posted online (including which are the key review sites for law firms). One problem that still exists is that collecting the reviews and having clients manually post the reviews on various sites is a cumbersome process.
Ratepoint: Software To Help Manage Your Reviews
We recently started using a website called Ratepoint to help manage our review process. Ratepoint enables you to collect testimonials right from your website. Each testimonial will automatically syndicate to Citysearch and the client will be presented with an option to leave a review on Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and Yelp as well.
The interface is fairly straightforward and easy to use. You can integrate your Ratepoint account with Twitter and Facebook to publicize your reviews if you so choose. The software also comes with an email marketing component to help streamline the process of asking for reviews as well as sending out newsletters, announcements, offers, surveys, etc.
Ratepoint offers widgets, links, and seals you can integrate into your site to help streamline the process of collecting a testimonial. You can customize the seal with different colors, positions, and designs. Here is a quick pick of the seal on attorneysync.com:
There are also a variety of different types of review buttons you can use on your site to make it easy for clients to leave reviews:
Once a user clicks on the seal or review button, a lightbox appears that shows the consumer past reviews and allows them to submit a new review:
Process For Handling A Negative Review
Ratepoint has a process for handling negative reviews as well. The breakdown of managing a negative review is as follows:
The dispute resolution process automatically kicks off when a customer submits an authenticated review with a rating of one (1) or two (2) stars. The process is as follows:
1. Customer submits a review with one (1) or two (2) stars, and is authenticated via telephone. Reviews must fall within the review guidelines, and may be flagged if they do not adhere.
2. RatePoint member receives e-mail notification that a negative review has been submitted, and dispute resolution process is automatically initiated. An alert is posted to the business center portal under ‘Disputes’.
3. Immediately after a one (1) or two (2) star review is submitted, both the business and consumer receive an e-mail indicating that a dispute/negative review has been submitted and that the resolution process has started. The business then has seven (7) days to post a first response to the customer.
4. From this point, each party will communicate during the designated time period — and each response must be completed within seven (7) days. Each party will be notified via e-mail that a response has been posted in the RatePoint dispute resolution center. All responses must be submitted via the RatePoint dispute resolution center. These responses will not be posted and are intended for the business and customer to correspond directly with one another.
5. Posting Guidelines:
– If the business does not respond at any point within the designated period of time, the original review (assuming it adheres to our review guidelines and is a legitimate, accurate dispute/complaint) will be posted.
– If the consumer does not participate in the dispute resolution process within the designated period of time, the review will not be posted.
– If the dispute cannot be resolved within the designated period of time — despite participation in the process from both sides, the original review will posted with the business’ management response.
– If the dispute is resolved within the designated period of time the business may choose not to publish the review.
6. On occasion, RatePoint may remove a review or request that a review be resubmitted. Generally these instances are because a review may feature inappropriate language or personal attacks on an individual, business or other reviewer. Reviews may also be removed if they’re focused on second-hand experience or contain statements that claim to be fact, but aren’t actually proven.
Having a process in place to handle negative reviews is a vital component to a service like this. It’s important that you are aware of negative reviews and have procedures to respond appropriately. I think the process above does a nice job of facilitating this for you.