You’ve probably used the online review website Yelp to help you evaluate local dining, shopping, and entertainment as well as things like schools, health clubs, and mechanics. Indeed, it seems that few establishments are able to fly under the Yelp radar…and this includes a law practice.
While you may not be all that surprised to learn that your firm is listed on Yelp, the weight that people assign to Yelp legal reviews may very well surprise you. A new survey by the Austin, TX-based software research company Software Advice reports that Yelp is the most popular and trusted website for online attorney reviews—more popular even than dedicated legal review sites such as Avvo and Super Lawyers.
“Yelp is the most commonly used site to search for attorney reviews online,” writes Chantelle Wallace, managing editor of Software Advice. “58 percent of respondents in our sample said it was the first place they turn. It’s also the website that 61 percent of users view as the most trustworthy.”
Other Key Findings and Implications for Lawyers
The Software Advice report is chock full of statistics that have significant implications for law firms. Here are some ways you can use the study’s findings to get the most out of not only your Yelp page, but all the other legal review sites your practice is listed on.
83% of prospective clients use review sites to find a new lawyer
Only 9 percent use these sites to evaluate an attorney they’ve already retained, and only 8 percent use them to validate an attorney they’ve tentatively selected.
Takeaway: Review sites have the potential to generate new business for you, so you need to make sure your profiles are accurate, up-to-date, and create a good first impression.
Quality of Service Most Important to Clients
When visiting legal review sites, nearly half (48%) of clients are primarily interested in a law firm’s quality of service, followed at 38 percent by its overall ratings (e.g. four out of five stars).
Takeaway: Provide great service to your clients, of course. Software Advice also recommends that firms constructively respond to negative comments to help keep their overall ratings high (look for tips on how to respond to negative online reviews in a future blog post).
Experience Noted in Reviews is Most Important Attorney Attribute
The experience an attorney has is the most important demographic to prospective clients; 48 percent rated experience as the first thing they look for on a review site. Certifications, education, age, and gender lag well behind.
Takeaway: If you’re an older or more experienced attorney, be sure to flout this in your practice profile. And if you’re younger or less experienced, play up your education and certifications.
Most Clients Will Commute for Better-Reviewed Attorneys
Very significantly, 70 percent of survey respondents said they would geographically go out of their way for a better-reviewed lawyer.
Takeaway: A firm’s positive online review is more important to a potential client than a firm’s proximity to home. And just by garnering better reviews, you may reap the added benefit of an expanded geographic target.
For more information about the source of this poste see “How Clients Use Online Legal Reviews”.