How to turn a negative review into a positive experience.
As a family law solicitor and acting for one party, it’s inevitable that at some point the ‘other’ party we are not representing isn’t going to be happy – especially when we’re doing our job properly and getting the results our client needs, to the frustration of the opposition. The field of law is very much win or lose – sometimes there can be compromise, but essentially it is a highly emotive and stressful time for all parties.
Whilst here at Sheryl Perry Solicitors we try our hardest to manage our cases diplomatically and sensitively, we have come to learn that it’s true what they say: “You can’t please all of the people all of the time!” This has only just come to light in a rather eye-opening way for us. Our glowing 5* reviews have been tainted by a 1* review left by a ‘friend’ of ‘the other party’; it’s not even a valid review from the client who instructed us.
So how has this left us feeling? Apart from being naturally disappointed, this has helped us to reflect on how we handle difficult situations. In this particular case, it has highlighted how we uphold our duty of care to our clients. If other parties decide to go against seeking their own independent legal advice, that is completely out of our control and we should not be targeted with a poor review as a result. If every disgruntled opposing party left a 1* review on their ex-spouse/partner’s representing law firm, there would be no 5* reviews in the legal world.
For us, getting a 1* review was unappreciated and unmotivating, but on reflection we don’t think it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s given us a little reminder to check that our processes are working well for our clients – and they are.
We know we’ve put the work in and we know that we’ve executed everything expected of us to our reputable high standard. Our first response to this negative feedback could have led us to become quite defensive, but after taking a deep breath, we gave a solid and informative response which we feel has a far greater impact; it shows that we have listened to the reviewer. This has shown us that criticism can be just as constructive as it can be damaging and the choice of response is always firmly in our hands.
This experience has highlighted a few things that we need to think about going forward should something like this ever happen again:
Was there any truth in the bad review? Even if it is untrue, were there points we can learn from? In this instance the review was from an opposing third party; our duty of care is always towards our client which was fully met.
Do we need to make changes to our onboarding processes to enhance our client experience? We have onboarding procedures in place to protect our clients including providing additional support for special needs or disabilities. We cannot be held responsible for any opposing party who refuses to seek their own legal advice nor can we be responsible for any additional support they need. If we did, this would be at the expense of our client which would be unethical.
We won’t take it personally; we’ll just deal with it and respond professionally and with dignity. However, if any incident escalates into online abuse, this will be discussed offline and if necessary we will take steps to have any untrue or harmful review removed.
In our sea of positive reviews, the negative one may stand out but it shows the reviewer in their true light and emphasises it is not from our client but the opposition. Our many clients respect and value our professionalism and legal expertise, that’s why they choose us to represent them. Our reviews also show that we are keeping it real.
If you find yourself in need of expert family law advice, Sheryl Perry Solicitors is here to support you. For a free and confidential discussion, please contact us today.