Law firms scared of feedbackWe all know the above heading is true, law firms hate to open themselves up to feedback. Although positive feedback is brilliant, the law firm cringes when thinking about the damage a negative review or feedback will do to them.

I think that any law firm that stops feedback is being short sighted and is only limiting the growth of their business.

Positive Feedback
Hell yes, that creates a warm and fuzzy feeling inside and no bad came come from it. Why do more law firms not ask for positive reviews from their clients?

For example, let’s say that you do a property transfer for a couple and just before you transfer the money (good timing helps a tad), you ask them just to drop you a quick email telling you how much they enjoyed the interaction with your firm. Of course doing this after you have hassled them about coming in for the fourth time to re-sign documents will not end well – or leaving the request too long after the deal has been concluded and they have forgotten about you will also not help.

These good reviews are dynamite for marketing your law firm, your website and social media should be filled with these positive reviews.

Let us use the above example again, you get the good review via email. They are moving into their new home and you pop in to hand over a bottle of champagne with two crystal glasses. (No branding on the glasses, they will never use them again – without branding the couple will remember you every time they take out the glasses for at least 6 months – by then you should have already established regular newsletter contact.) You take a picture, selfie if you must, congratulating the couple on their new home. With permission from the couple post the picture on social media with the positive review they gave you via email. DYNAMITE!

So ask for good reviews all the time, just time the requests well and make sure either the partner, or the paralegal involved with the matter ask for the review, not a temp calling from the cold.

The Negative Feedback
Nobody likes negative feedback, plain and simple. It helps to approach the negative issue by removing the personal feelings. When somebody writes that your service is shocking, remove yourself and realise that the client got shocking service from your business, in fact so bad that they insisted on taking the time to write to you to tell you about it. They are helping you improve your business – you should thank them for the feedback, although the good feedback is warm and fuzzy and works with promoting your firm for a few weeks, the negative feedback will help your business years down the line, it may even stop your business from going belly-up!

Always encourage feedback, but try to channel the negative feedback into private communications channels where you can diffuse the issue. Have a feedback box, with forms and a pen ready for clients to fill in right there in the signing room, or reception – this way they know you care. But make sure you answer all the problems you take from these boxes.

Send satisfaction email forms for their feedback during your interaction, make sure it is quick and easy to complete and easy to understand.

If you get lambasted with negative feedback on social media, address it as soon as possible – even if your response is only to tell them you are attending to it right now. In fact, here are a few tips on handling negative feedback in the social media space:

  • Reply to the message quickly
  • Make sure the person knows that you are treating the matter as urgent
  • Have a single “go-to” person who can make decisions with the answers quickly
  • Give feedback often, even if it is to tell them that you are waiting for the partner concerned to finish their consult with a client or that there is a meeting scheduled to resolve the matter
  • Thank the person for taking the time to come forward
  • Once resolved, post the outcome on the issue in the message thread – positive or negative
  • 9/10 times people want to let you know so that other people don’t get the same bad experience, tell them how you have put things in place to prevent this in the future
  • There is nothing wrong with apologising in person or by sending a card or flowers – just keep it out of social media.

If the positive feedback is dynamite, the negative feedback is the gold that is now visible after the blast. Nurture this gold, sift the fragments of negative feedback for the gold nugget lessons for your law firm. Interrogate the faults, have a meeting to discuss how it went wrong and implement changes in your procedures to prevent it happening again.

By the way, it may turn out that a lot of clients dislike a certain staff member – if so, the writing is on the wall and that person should be persuaded to try a new career or be promoted to back office duties.

Use the good news and learn from the bad news.

I wish you lots of negative feedback and a healthy practice ;-).


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