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Imagine this scenario: you Google two competing companies. For company a, 7 of their top 10 reviews are positive. For Company B, it’s just the opposite: 7 of those 10 reviews are negative.

Which company would you choose? Most folks would go with Company A, and that’s bad news for Company B, especially if those negative reviews were all incorrect or unfounded.

Nearly nine in ten consumers (88 percent) read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business, with 85 percent of consumers saying they read up to 10 reviews, according to the 2014 Local Consumer Review Survey. Seventy-two percent say that positive reviews make them more likely to trust a local business. Here’s the real kicker: 88 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

You can’t fix what you don’t know. Even if the majority of customers you interact with each day say they’re satisfied with your service, it’s inevitable someone out there has a complaint or had a negative experience and is taking to the Internet to vent his frustration. Don’t assume your reviews are positive.

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Be aware of online review sites. It’s important to understand how potential clients find you and also where past clients may leave reviews about your firm. According to the presenters, these are the most popular online review sites that any business should be aware of: LinkedIn, Justia, Avvo, Yelp, Lawyer Rating, Martindale.com, Lawyers.com, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, Google Places and Google Business.

Request and track feedback. The presenters explained that one of the best ways to obtain positive feedback is to request it from satisfied clients at the end of the task. If you request feedback and direct your clients to certain sites, it will make it easier to track what’s being said about you. One way to do this is to use the get Five stars service. And to locate other comments made about your business, use tools like Mention or Talk Walker.

Augment positive reviews. The presenters offered a number of ways to augment positive reviews, including: 1) adding them to your webpage, and 2) link to your Google+ page, and 3) claim and write thorough profile at well-known directory sites.

Manage negative reviews. Suggestions for managing negative reviews included: 1) regularly run searches for your name and your law firm’s name so that you understand what your potential clients see first, 2) resist to tell your story since doing so adds credibility to the review, 3) but do respond–briefly–and show empathy, 4) avoid getting angry–or at least don’t show your anger, and 5) counteract negative reviews by getting positive feedback on the same site.

Provide exceptional client service. The final takeaway from this talk was that the best way to get positive online reviews is to do your absolute best to provide excellent representation. Obtain regular feedback from your clients throughout their cases by systemizing the feedback process and make sure to listen carefully to them. Be receptive to their comments, and, if necessary, make changes. Thank your clients at the close of each case and stay in touch so that you let them know that you appreciate their business. Happy clients often result in referrals so always stay top of mind.

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