Sally Consumer is looking for a lawyer. She collects suggestions from friends and family, then turns to the Internet for more information. Like most consumers, Sally will visit the review section of a lawyer's profile. Internet reviews are the modern version of word-of-mouth referrals.
Future clients want reliable information when deciding on an attorney for their legal needs. Client reviews, like those found in the SBM Member Directory, are an important part of Sally's decision-making process. Should you want to add reviews to your Internet presence, you can start by updating your SBM online Member Directory profile.
The client review and endorsement features on the directory are preset NOT to enable reviews or endorsements. You must actively begin the process by opting in to these features in your profile settings.
Who Can Write Reviews?
Reviews can only be submitted by a person registered on the site as a member and who was, or is, a client of the lawyer. Fellow lawyers can't post reviews unless they were clients as well. When Zeekbeek receives a review from a registered member of the site, they send an e-mail to the lawyer being reviewed to verify the person as a client.
If the lawyer responds that the person is a client, the review will be posted; if that person is not a client, the review will not be posted and the reviewer will be notified of the reason for not posting. If the lawyer doesn't respond within seven days, Zeekbeek reserves the right to publish the review. Where there is confusion over the status of the reviewer, Zeekbeek will try to resolve the situation. The complete policy can be found at Zeekbeek Review Policy.
You can change your mind at any point and opt out of the review feature. However, if a person previously has opted in to reviews and then opts out, the reviews are still stored in the system—so if they reactivate the reviews, then the old reviews will be visible.
The Contents of the Review
Zeekbeek doesn't verify contents of the reviews. They read the reviews and if the review contains offensive language, the site administrator will notify the reviewer that the review is rejected. If the reviewer removes the offensive language, then the review is posted.
Lawyers can respond once to a posted client review, but the client can't respond to the lawyer's response. In this way, there is no encouragement of controversy. The majority of reviews are positive. But, when a rare negative review appears, think of the following:
- Consumer research shows that a few negative reviews improves the credibility of the positive postings.
- The review could reveal an office procedure that needs changing.
- A response to the review, restating your commitment to client service, sends a powerful message to potential clients reading the review.
Client reviews are not new, but the delivery system is—now they are on the Internet for everyone to see. Clients use these resources, so it might be time for you to use them too. The procedure utilized by your SBM Member Directory powered by Zeekbeek allows you to easily use reviews to your advantage.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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