Legal Marketing

The Trust and Perception of Online Reviews

5 star law firm reviews

Fake reviews sound like simple to boost your law firm’s online presence. Although you’ve probably heard about fake news, let’s talk about fake reviews instead.

For the majority, online reviews and ratings have a significant impact on their decision to make a purchase.  Simply stated, spending money on a firm with five-star reviews feels more secure than spending on those with negligible no client feedback.  Reviews and ratings have taken the place of social cues and word-of-mouth in validating consumer investments.

One issue many law firms have with reviews is that the law is often an adversarial practice, with winners and losers.  Losers often take our their frustration on prevailing counsel, with horrible reviews.  Offsetting these negative reviews makes it even more important to capture high quality reviews as near as possible to the successful conclusion of any legal matter.

But what if the foundation for this validation is false?

Fake reviews, also known as fraudulent reviews, are nothing new, but as technology advances, it gets harder and harder to spot their presence.  In addition, reviews now have a more significant influence in our digital world, heightened due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s circumstances.

There are two specific effects of the competition and the need for reviews among businesses in a recent Better Series Podcast from BBB National Programs (whether or not for legal firms).  The first is the existence of fake reviews, and the second is how skeptically consumers view online reviews.

Knowledge of a product or service is no longer sufficient to ensure a purchase.  Instead, a review can boost a firm’s online conversion by 10% or more because clients are “looking for a combination of expert and peer opinions” to support their awareness.

A firm’s reputation and financial results can suffer if there are reviews that are fake or appear fake, even though positive reviews significantly increase the likelihood that a client will make a purchase.

A full 31% of consumers say they won’t buy a product if they believe the reviews are fake.  In addition, the trust that customers have in the brand is also impacted, and as that trust erodes, “82% of them said they avoid using that brand again in the future,” the speaker continued.

Businesses and especially law firms must strive for transparency and support disclosure because doing so helps build trust in the reviews’ veracity.  This will help companies combat the risks of fake reviews.

Despite being an old trend, the pandemic has caused an increase in online shopping in 2020.  Every week since the beginning of March, more people have been ordering and shopping online.  There is a growing reliance on online content about the products customers consider buying as the world grows accustomed to online shopping.  Law firms must get ready for a new breed of intelligent consumers.

Legal firms now have a choice between ignoring reviews or taking advantage of.  Let your service speak for itself rather than falling victim to fake reviews or attempting to use them to paint a false picture of your firm.  You’ll find it simpler to retain your current clients and watch your audience grow if you practice disclosure and transparency and keep your feed free of fake reviews.

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