Thursday, 8 January 2015

Online client reviews: worth the risk?

Catching up on my reading, I found myself scouring the pages of the November/December print version of Nick Holmes'/Delia Venables' Internet Newsletter for Lawyers (on which, details can be found here). This publication is always interesting and carries lots of good ideas, but it's also a bit annoying in that it can't help conveying the impression that there are lots of other lawyers out there, enjoying themselves online with the latest wheezes and gimmicks but at the same time doing far more useful things than you are -- and that they are doing so in a profitable and practice-building manner.

The item that caught my eye this time round was however written on a topic that has the capacity to do as much harm as good -- the provision of online facilities for your clients to review your practice.  This item, by Daniel Kidd ("Why customer reviews are so important", which you can read here),  looks at various service review packages and opens reassuringly with the words
"Getting your firm reviewed by customers is extremely easy and cost effective and has the potential to improve your search rankings as well as your click through and conversion rates".
Indeed, this is the case. There are however plenty of matters arising. These include and are therefore not limited to the following:

  • what to do about client reviews that are rightly or wrongly pejorative?
  • the effect of a client's accidental or deliberate mis-use of a law firm name (eg "Berwins" might refer to a firm of solicitors in Harrogate, to "Berwin Leighton Paisner" or to "King & Wood Mallesons", and Simmons & Simmons might emerge as "Summons & Summons")
  • the (non)portabilitiy of reviews where a practice dissolves and the solicitors go their different ways, whether to different firms or as soloists
  • the risk of reviews disclosing information that was not meant to be made publicly available
  • the need to develop a routine and a set of in-house practices for monitoring client reviews and dealing effectively with matters arising.

Do any readers of this blog have personal experience of client review software that they can share with us?


  1. No to experience of client review software - but I notice the author of the piece is Daniel Kidd and "head of search for law firm Michael Lewin Solicitors in Leeds who specialise in personal injury, stress at work, employment law and criminal injury claims" - perhaps all areas of law where there is greater competition for clients than there is amongst the (sole practitioner and other) legal professionals regulated by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board?

  2. The great @evanHD did a Bottom Line on review sites which you can download here. Its called TripAdvisor etc 16 Oct 14 but they discuss reviews of trades (well thats what lawyers are now in these days of regulation) as well.
    I used to keep a boasting book folder of unsolicited compliments from clients. These were mainly useful when it came to appraisal time or whenever you needed to let management know you were doing a good job. These purposes no longer exist in the solo world but I still like to receive nice emails

  3. Reminded of the flowers delivered through Interflora a few months ago that came from someone who didn't become a client - just someone I took through issues relevant to the problem he had : would client review software allow this person to comment - or would he be excluded because "not a client" ?

  4. I really like this blog, I totally agree with you, especially continue