In previous articles, we have stressed the importance of getting online reviews for your personal injury law firm. We’ve discuss how to handle good reviews and bad reviews. This time we’re going to talk about what to do should you receive a fake review.
Unfortunately, fake reviews are pretty prevalent online. Take the recent litigation concerning Amazon suing administrators of more than 11,000 Facebook groups in seven countries that allegedly brokered fake online reviews. The big issue here is whether consumers have been harmed ending up purchasing sub-par merchandise.
In the world of personal injury law, fake reviews for your law firm can be created by spammers, competitors, disgruntled past employees, and upset clients who were not happy with the disposition of their claim. In this scenario, it is the business, not the consumer, who is the injured party.
Many people looking for services such as personal injury law representation look to reviews to help them decide who they want to hire. If they see negative reviews and don’t know that they are fake they won’t think for a second about going to a competitor. A recent study showed that 95 percent of consumers read an online review before committing to a product or service, and that 95 percent of them will be turned off by a negative one.
For those negative reviews that your personal injury law firm may have received, as we’ve said before, your best bet is to respond honestly to the reviewer about the complaint. If you answer honestly and sincerely, chances are that you can overcome the effect of that piece of bad press.
How to spot a fake review
If you see a review that just doesn’t seem right, you may be reading a fake review. The following are a few ways you can determine whether a review is real or not.
- Check the reviewer’s identity. In today’s world it is easier than ever to try and locate the identity of someone. Social media has seen to that. Take the time to see if the reviewer is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms to gather information on them. This would include their location, account creation date, review activity, employment information, and more.
- They lack specific detail. A fake review will often lack specifics. If a victim of a personal injury is real, his or her review will include some very specific information like the type of accident, the location of the accident, or some particular aspect of the service received from the law firm.
- Competitors are mentioned. If the review is negative and one of your competitors is mentioned as an alternative attorney, you may assume correctly that this was a planted review.
- A lot of first person pronouns are used. If you are reading a review about a personal injury law firm and it keeps talking about how “I” was not treated fairly, “I didn’t get enough money,” etc., instead of how “They really helped me and my family,” “Yhey were great about getting back to me,” “They could improve by…,” chances are it is a rigged review. Studies show that the use of first person pronouns in a review setting is less sincere sounding.
- Sounds too good or too bad. Fake reviews tend to be very black and white. If an online review sounds too good or bad to be true, you might doubt its authenticity.
- Check the writing style of the review. Is the review written using words that a usual client would use? If the client uses technical legal jargon, chances are that the review is a fake. Most personal injury clients are not lawyers.
What should you do about a fake or suspected fake review?
If you suspect a review of your personal injury law firm is fake, you need to contact the reviewing website. Contact the administrators or support staff of the review site and report it. The website will investigate (they don’t want to be sued) and if they determine the review is fake, they will remove it.
Keep in mind that fake reviews are illegal. It is against the law for someone to try and manipulate a brand reputation or to maliciously cause any harm to a business through deception. Wrongdoers can get sued or fined.
It’s very important that you learn how to spot a fake review, as it could be very damaging to your reputation. You’ve worked hard to establish your personal injury law office and you don’t want anyone diminishing your efforts.If you have any questions about this article or need help responding to your personal injury law firm’s reviews, give us a call at Group Matrix. We can advise you on a number of ways about actions you may need to take to maintain your reputation.