Avoid Bad Reviews By Requesting Client Feedback

During a recent CLE program entitled “Reputation Management and Online Reviews” we asked the attendees if they sent satisfaction surveys to their clients, during or at the close of representation. No one raised their hand.

Are Your Clients Happy?

Do you know if your clients are happy with your work? Have you asked?  When clients feel they have no platform to voice their dissatisfaction with a lawyer, they turn to the internet to air their complaints. This can have disastrous effects for lawyers, who have fairly limited recourse when a former client leaves a negative review on AVVO or Yelp. The solution? Give the client a means of providing feedback throughout the course of your involvement with them. By getting ahead of dissatisfaction, you can proactively protect your online reputation.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best times to ask a client for feedback is when you send them their monthly bill. By making your invoice more user-friendly and combining it with a customer satisfaction survey, you not only increase the likelihood that the client will actually take the time to fill it out, but you can streamline the processes to increase billing transparency.  Another opportunity to collect feedback about the representation is at the close of the matter.

Touch Point #1 – The Bill

Clients value specificity in billing, so be as clear as possible when invoicing. Tell them what work was done, what team members performed the work, and how much it cost. Allow your clients to feel like they’re a part of a team with a more personalized experience, and satisfaction rates will grow. Especially as the legal world begins to meld with the internet, clients crave personalization and personality in a professional landscape where they might not even enter your firm’s office once throughout the course of representation. E-introducing them to the attorneys and paralegals working for them is a great way to bridge that gap!

Matt Homann, Founder & CEO of Filament, compiled a great example of streamlined bill/survey mailing you could send to clients. Note how user-friendly his example appears – no legalese, no confusion. It’s simple but attractive, and provides names and faces to the legal team working for the client. The feedback section is short but perfectly adequate for voicing complaints or compliments.

Check it out: https://medium.com/the-non-billable-hour/still-rethinking-lawyers-bills-dd41c3e9dfce

You can mail or email a form like Homann’s, or you can use an online platform like Google Forms or Survey Monkey to gather feedback. These are great tools for creating a survey because they allow you to track responses and get an overall sense of your “rating” as a firm – they aren’t individual emails or forms that someone in the firm has to spend time aggregating into workable data. Remember to keep your survey simple. Consider the categories and a scale on which you want clients to rate you and make it straightforward.

I’m a big fan of how Homann’s feedback form begins by asking the client to rate the firm based on several concrete commitments outlined by the firm. Not only does this keep feedback quantifiable, but you are able to set the standards upon which your work is weighed. He still gives the client an opportunity to freely voice their feedback below the report card, but it’s limited to just one question and three blank lines. This helps ensure that the feedback you receive will be helpful to you, and limits the likelihood of off-the-wall, rambling responses.  You want feedback, but you specifically want useful feedback. By providing the client with some structure, you better your odds of receiving it.

Touch Point #2 – The Closing Letter

Along with the closing letter, take the opportunity to once again ask the client for feedback (see a sample). This can also include information such as “would you refer our firm to a friend?” and other information useful for client development such as “where did you hear about us?”. The feedback information can help the firm ensure improvements in customer service in the future. While it is difficult to objectively compare one law firm to another, customer service can be a distinguishing factor.  Once the survey is complete be sure to ask happy clients to review the firm on AVVO, Yelp or GoogleMyBusiness.


Always remember, simplicity is key! It might seem like adding another step to an already busy workday, but by giving clients a platform to feel they’re complaints are heard, you can prevent bad reviews from popping up online. Take charge of your online reputation by stopping bad reviews before they start!

Improve Your Website with Google’s Test My Site

Having a modern website doesn’t just mean good design. Today it means being mobile friendly and quick to load. If your website doesn’t look good on a smartphone, Google pushes it down in page ranks. If your website is slow, a potential client may take their eyeballs elsewhere out of impatience. Make sure that your website is up to snuff by going to Think with Google’s tool, “Test My Site” testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com.  Type in your website’s URL in the bar and you’ll get statistics on mobile friendliness and loading speed on both a phone and a desktop.


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If you click “Get My Report,” you’ll receive a more detailed analysis of your website in your inbox that will tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. Common problems such as needing to optimize images or leverage browser caching can be a little complicated to tackle on your own, but the report does give you even more detailed guides on how to fix the problem yourself. You can give the report to a webmaster to fix any troubled spots you might have.

Think With Google, Google’s trends and marketing insights arm, says that people are five times more likely to leave a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly, and almost half of all users will leave if your site takes longer than three seconds to load. Don’t lose potential clients and referrals because of short attention spans. Find out your website’s potential weaknesses at testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com


Want more information on SEO? Check out our video, Make SEO Work For Your Law Firm on our BRAND NEW HOW TO LIBRARY hosted by Vimeo. You can even watch your phone or tablet! https://vimeo.com/213885271/ec347df759


Create a LinkedIn Company Page

You may be on LinkedIn, but is your firm? Separate from your personal LinkedIn profile, a LinkedIn company page lets you showcase your firm as a whole, publish news, and highlight your services as a brand. Firms of any size can benefit, but there is criteria in creating one:

  • You must have a personal LinkedIn profile set up with your true first and last name.
  • Your profile is at least 7 days old.
  • Your profile strength must be listed as Intermediate or All Star.
  • You must have several connections on your profile.
  • You’re a current company employee and your position is listed in the Experience section on your profile.
  • You have a company email address (e.g. john@companyname.com) added and confirmed on your LinkedIn account.
  • Your company’s email domain is unique to the company.


If you fit this criteria, create your LinkedIn company page today at https://www.linkedin.com/company/add/show

Control Your LinkedIn Profile

If you have avoided creating a LinkedIn profile because you are in a practice (prosecutor, judge, advocacy, healthcare, etc.) that requires more personal privacy, or for you are hesitant to use social media, the good news is that with a little know-how you can have a LinkedIn profile for professional development and networking and keep it as open or closed as you want to.  If you already have a LinkedIn profile make sure you know what you are sharing, with whom and that you have some control over the settings with these tips below.

LinkedIn has organized the settings for your account, privacy and communications into a new and easier to use portal. To get there mouse over your avatar (your picture) in the upper right corner of LinkedIn on a browser (or the gear icon in your profile in the mobile app).  Click on “Manage” next to “Privacy and Settings” that appears in the drop down menu.

One thing to keep in mind as you adjust your settings – there are two levels of exposure to your LinkedIn profile – public (anyone can see) and connections (must be connected with you on LinkedIn and logged into their to see).

Public Exposure

Unless restricted, your full LinkedIn profile is available to search engines such as Google and Bing, as well as those searching LinkedIn. You can change what information is available to those who you are not connected with by going into Privacy and Settings – Manage – Privacy – Edit Your Public Profile. On the right hand side you can choose to make your profile visible to no one, or make certain portions visible by toggling the boxes on and off.  To maintain a high level of privacy, but still be found by friends and colleagues, choose “headline” and perhaps “summary” which provides your name, your location (Chicago, Greater Chicago Area) and your industry (law, etc.) and the summary you wrote.

Keep in mind, any time you add new information such as publications and organizations go back and make sure this information is left off your public profile.

Want to see what your profile looks like to the public? In LinkedIn through a browser go to Profile – Edit Profile and in the box with your name and picture click the blue button that says “View Profile As”.  On the resulting page look at the top and toggle to see how your page looks to connections versus the public.

You Looking At Me?

In LinkedIn if you look at another person’s profile they will be alerted and aware that you have done so. If you are researching a judge or juror, looking up opposing counsel or your client you may not want them to know you are looking at their LinkedIn profile. You can choose to look at people’s profiles in “private mode” which will show them that an “anonymous LinkedIn member” viewed their profile. The downside is that by choosing to be anonymous you do not get to see who is looking at your profile. To do this go to your privacy settings and click “Profile Viewing Options” and choose which mode you want to be in. You can toggle this setting on and off as desired.


Check Your Connections

LinkedIn is all about connections. You are connected to individual people, companies, organizations, groups, schools and other networks. This is why LinkedIn is such a powerful tool. However, you may not want to share information about who you are connected to, as well a list of other profiles people view when they look at yours.

In your privacy settings scroll to “who can see your connections” and then choose “only you” from the drop down list and no one else will see who you are connected with on LinkedIn.  Scroll a little further to “viewers of this profile also viewed” and toggle the switch to “no” so that people do not see a list of people in your profile.

Also, if you do not want people to send your connection requests just because they have your email or phone number in their contacts scroll down in Privacy to “Data privacy and advertising” and choose “Nobody” in the drop down options for “Suggesting you as a connection based on your email address” and “Suggesting you as a connection based on your phone number”.

TMI (Too Much Information)

You can control how much or how little information you put into your LinkedIn profile, and you can update your profile at any time. However, LinkedIn will share any updates you make with your connections. To be able to update your profile without notifications being sent out go into your settings and under “Privacy” toggle to “no” in “Sharing profile edits”.  Continue to scroll to the Data Privacy and advertising section to toggle off sharing data with third parties.

Finally, if you are newer to LinkedIn or not as active you can turn off “How You Rank”, which compares you to your connections and colleague in terms of profile views.

In Case of Emergency

While you can control the information LinkedIn shares about you and with whom, you still need to apply best security practices.  Use a unique, strong password and change it occasionally (password managers like LastPass and Dashlane make that a lot easier). Also, turn on two factor authentication. You will need to enter your cell phone number and then when you log in you will also need a 6 digit code sent to your cell phone number, in addition to your password, to log in. You can choose to trust certain devices, like your smartphone and laptop, so you don’t have to add the code every time you login. What two factor authentication does is it keeps a third party who may know your email address and guess your password from logging into your account, since they don’t (hopefully) have your phone as well. To turn on two factor authentication go to settings, then to privacy then security and activate two-step verification.


Locking down your LinkedIn profile will help keep your privacy intact. Choose who you connect with carefully, as there is no granular permission for connections and they can see everything that you publish or add to your profile. As long as you know who you are linking with LinkedIn can be a great extension of networking in person, and often now people “meet” in cyberspace before they meet in person. So, tweak those settings and enjoy one of the biggest business communities in the world!

To learn more about LinkedIn you can set up a consultation with the LPMT team, watch a How To… video at www.chicagobar.org/howto or sign up for a hands on class.

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of the CBA Record.

Simplified eNewsletters with TinyLetter


If you find the prospect of setting up an eNewsletter to be daunting, you might consider the free-to-use TinyLetter, a subsidiary of MailChimp. With TinyLetter, it is more like sending a long email or blog post to subscribers, rather than “creating campaigns.” It’s very simple to use (there are no templates to set up), and it lets you read replies to your letter, unlike with traditional eNewsletters.  Though eNewsletters are still best practices for businesses because of their robust features such as surveys and ROI tracking, TinyLetter is a way to get your thoughts out, send holiday greetings, or position yourself as an expert in your practice area. You can archive your letters and make them accessible like a blog, or you can have them be email-only. Because of the intimate nature of email and the fact that it was sent by you the individual and not a business, Tinyletter can be a breath of fresh air in a cluttered inbox. There is a 5,000 subscriber limit, and you can add your contacts either through Gmail or a csv spreadsheet.

Where to Find Free-to-Use Images on the Web — FOR FREE!

Images can be a powerful tool in your online marketing, but how do you get them? You can take your own of course, but the web has a few resources on where you can find images that are not only have free licenses for commercial use, but are also completely free as well.

First up is www.morguefile.com. Named after an old newspaper-industry term for where they store print templates, Morguefile is a great resource for finding free images. Search Morguefile’s image database by typing in the keyword (for this example we will use “Traffic Light”).

Morgue FIle

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All of the images that appear will be free in terms of cost, but also in terms of license. You can even modify them and use them for commercial purposes.

Though the search feature is not a good as MorgueFile’s, www.unsplash.com is filled with beautiful, high resolution images. Explore Unsplash’s database either through search or by browsing their collections.


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Like MorgueFile, it’s free in every sense.

The New York Public Library has released a treasure trove of free-to-use images. It features prints, photographs, maps, manuscripts, and even streaming video. This year, NYPL enhanced access to all public domain items in the Digital Collection. Visit http://publicdomain.nypl.org/ to search.


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Privacy Controls in Facebook

Do you know who you’re sharing with on Facebook? The audience selector tool is available for you when you post status updates, photos and more. Click the tool and select which audiences you want to share with. By default, Facebook allows you to select making your post entirely public, available to “only friends,” or set to “only me.”


You can further customize who you share with by selecting “More Options.” An expanded menu will appear that allows you to select Smart Lists, which are automatically generated based on profile information. I have indicated on Facebook I live in Chicago, IL, so I see “Chicago, Illinois Area” as a Smart List option. When selected, this means my post will only be shared with people who live in Chicagoland.


To get even more specific, you can select “Custom,” which will bring up a new, “Custom Privacy” window that allows you to restrict the post from certain people.


You can select to share with certain people or lists by name, but you can also restrict who can see the post. Type in the names of the people you do not want to see the post in the “Don’t share with” field and select them from the list. The post will be shared with all of your friends except for whom you named.

Facebook’s audience selector tool remembers whom you shared with the last time you posted something and uses the same audience when you share again until you change it. If you choose a custom setting, such as Friends Except for (insert person here) for a post, your next post will also be set to that custom setting unless you change the audience when you post.

You can change the privacy of your posts retroactively, meaning that after you’ve shared a post, you have the option to change who can see it. If you want to change the audience of a post after you’ve shared it, click the audience selector and select a new audience.

Hiding Posts and Unfollowing Friends on Facebook

Do you have a Facebook friend who, at certain times of the year, posts too much about sports, politics or religion and you don’t want to see them in your News Feed, but you don’t want to unfriend them? Facebook has come up with a way for you to silence these contacts, but remain friends with them. This means you can still visit their profile and post on their wall if you wish, but their updates won’t appear in your News Feed. There are two ways to do this: “Hide Posts” or “Unfollow” the person.

You can do both on the News Feed itself. When you see a post on your News Feed that you would rather not, click the “V” in the top right corner:


You will see a few options. I can “Hide post,” meaning that this particular post will disappear from my feed, and Facebook will use its enigmatic algorithm to determine how to show me less content similar to this in the future. My friend, Justen will still appear in my feed. But if Justen has offended me, and I don’t want to hear anything he has to say on Facebook anymore, I can click “Unfollow Justen.” This means his posts will no longer appear in my News Feed. He and I will remain friends, and I can take any action as his friend. I can still see his posts if I go directly to his profile.


If this post violates Facebook’s standards, you can click “Report post.” Facebook will then review the post and potentially review it. The friend in question will not know you reported them.

Another way to unfollow someone is to go to their profile page directly and click the Following tab:


From here you will have the option to click “Unfollow.”


Now your News Feed will be filled with news you actually want to see!