Trust is important in any industry, but it’s especially important if you’re a lawyer. You need clients to trust you and perhaps just as important, you need potential clients to trust you. One of the most powerful tools you have for building trust with potential clients is your website.
According to recent data from a variety of sources, and this should come as no surprise to anyone, more than three-quarters of people look online for reviews and information before making purchase an item or service. This 2013 article from Lawyernomics estimated about 35 percent of people begin their search for specialty lawyers online – an estimate that has likely increased in the last four years.
As an attorney, your reputation is being built online and you need to take as much control of it as possible. And unless your website is establishing trust right from the start, you are losing potential clients before you ever meet them.
If you think your relationship with your clients could stand a little improvement (and what relationship can’t?) it might be time for a trust audit.
What should you consider?
Testimonials and Reviews
If you haven’t already, or it’s been awhile, now is the time to Google your firm. Browse through a few pages and see what you find.
Once you are familiar with what potential clients see when they Google you, check out a few of the most popular review sites. Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook Reviews are a good place to begin. Hopefully what you see does not come as a surprise, good or bad, but if you learn the perception of your firm isn’t quite what you thought, at least you’re aware now and you can work to change it.
Next, consider your referrals. You can do this in three parts:
1. Analyze how many clients come to you via referrals and compare that to your total number of clients. You’ll dig deeper a little later, but right now you just want to know what percentage of your clients are referrals.
2. Think about how many clients have indicated they are going to give you a referral. If the number is low, you’ll need to think about how you can improve that. Which brings us to the next step…
3. Ask yourself if you have a referral system in place. If not, you’ll need to look into creating a client after-care program of some kind to nurture referrals.
Interaction with Social Media
Once you’ve Googled your firm and checked out how referrals are working for you, it’s time to investigate your social media standing.
Are you using social media? If so how much engagement are you getting? Are you struggling to keep up with the single or multiple platforms you’ve chosen? Social media is one of the most powerful tools you have for building trust, so if you aren’t taking advantage of it you’re missing out.
General Sense of Satisfaction
Finally, do a little soul searching. Think back over the last several months and your interactions with clients. If your firm is home to multiple lawyers, gather everyone together and talk about client interaction. Ask yourself “do clients really seem happy working with us?” and be 100 percent honest with your answer – even if it makes you uncomfortable.
It’s important you reflect on all aspects of your client relationship and think about why people are choosing your firm, and whether or not you are meeting their expectation. In some ways, determining how happy clients are means assessing a gut feeling – maybe you feel something is off but you aren’t sure what. Or maybe you are convinced your relationship with clients is mutually rewarding and nothing could be improved. Either way, you have a starting point.
Once you’ve completed your client trust audit, you can create a plan for improving attorney-client relations. Your firm might need a complete overhaul or maybe you’re just a few tweaks away from perfect. Whichever the case, you’ve begun to plan for the future and make the most of all the opportunities you’ve been given.
If you’d like to discuss how your content can do a better job at instilling trust or you want tips for using your website to grow your firm, message me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kbjwriting.com