In this webinar, McKay Allen, the VP and head of marketing of Kenect, and Dan Couvrette, Publisher of Family Lawyer Magazine, discuss how family law firms can double their online reviews & cases using a three-step process.

Dan Couvrette: Welcome, everybody, to this Family Lawyer Magazine webinar. This is the third in a series of webinars Family Lawyer Magazine is doing with Kenect. The other two are up on www.familylawyermagazine.com. I encourage you to go and watch them or listen to them. Kenect is a text messaging platform that is used by thousands of law firms throughout North America. People use Kenect to communicate with their clients. This communication with their clients has helped many of them double their online reviews. This is what we are going to talk about today. Kenect now also offers a video chat feature, which is a great system. We’ve got clients here at Divorce Marketing Group who use Kenect, and they rave about it. That’s one of the reasons why we’re doing this seminar today.

I just want to give you an insight. Yesterday, I was talking with one of our clients who have been trying for over two years to get more reviews on Yelp, Google, etc. They have not been actively trying to get reviews. The other day, a bad review showed up. It was a one-star review, and they only have four other reviews. So they have a total of five reviews. They’re now panicking to get reviews done so that they can water down that bad review because it sticks out like a sore thumb. We’re going to talk about that a bit today. We’re also going to talk about a simple process that family law firms can use to generate more online reviews for their firm.

Joining me today is McKay Allen. He’s the VP of Marketing at Kenect.

McKay Allen: We’ve done three webinars now with Family Lawyer Magazine and Divorce Marketing Group. It’s been a pleasure to work with Dan on these. The last one we did was about ranking better on Google, and we hit on reviews a little bit. Whenever we do a webinar where we touch on reviews, people always have so many questions. This is why we decided to do a webinar about reviews, how to get more reviews, and how to deal with bad reviews. That’s what we’ll talk about today.

Dan, is there anything else you want to tell us about Divorce Marketing Group or Family Lawyer Magazine?

Dan: Divorce Marketing Group is a full-service marketing agency. We do everything from building websites, newsletters, podcasts, videos, you name it. We’ve been at it for 25 years. You can go to www.DivorceMarketingGroup.com to learn more about us. You can also feel free to contact me at my email address and phone number, which are both on our website.

McKay: Let’s talk about Kenect. We are based just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah in the U.S. We are a text messaging platform built for law firms. We have several thousand law firms that use our tool, which does a few things. It allows you to communicate more efficiently and effectively with clients via text messaging and also helps you generate new leads. You can also conduct video consultations and help drive online reviews, which I’ll spend the bulk of time on.

Let’s talk about text messaging real quick. Most clients (around 90%) prefer to interact with a business via text messaging rather than a phone call. Think about the way you communicate through text with your friends and family, your kids, your spouse, etc. Clients want to communicate with businesses that serve them in the same way. Texting is the predominant and most common way of communication. One of the reasons is because 98% of all text messages are opened within three minutes. Compare that to emails, which are around 10% to 12%. You can probably look at your phone and see the number of emails that you have unread versus the number of text messages you have unread. It’s not even in the same ballpark. Text messaging is the wave right now. We all know this, we just haven’t carried that over into thinking about our law firms in that way.

Kenect focuses on two-way texting for your law firm. We can use your business number and make that a line that people can send text messages to. Then you can receive and send texts via an inbox within Kenect. You can also put a little ‘text us’ button on your website that allows you to receive leads directly from your website. You can also collect payments via text messaging and even generate reviews via text messaging, which we’ll also talk about later.

With Kenect you can also schedule appointments and set appointment reminders, so instead of jumping in and out of the hall in between hearings to call somebody, you can just text them. Most people will respond, especially if they’re in a meeting. The amount of phone tag you can play with a client can get ridiculous at times. Interactions are greatly improved when you can just text a client using a tool like Kenect. You can also collect fees and send invoices, you can do video chat, you can send and receive photos, videos, PDFs, attachments, etc. You can also capture reviews from Google and Facebook. All the texts come into an inbox. You can assign them out or they can automatically be assigned to paralegals or certain attorneys based on what the text is about. It’s very simple to use.

Kenect is different from a chat. All you have to do is put in your cell number, and suddenly you are talking to someone from your cell phone.

For law firms who have used this, we have seen an increase of about 260% in terms of the number of leads they receive. We also have a mobile app that allows you to send text messages, receive text messages, send attachments, videos, etc. all on your cell phone. You can also assign leads, set up notifications from members of your team, all that kind of stuff. You can also quickly reply. We’ll have attorneys who just have this on their phone, and they will be able to respond to clients whenever and wherever they want because the app is on their phone. McKay,

Dan: As a marketing guy helping family lawyers secure more clients for 25 years, this is very important. If you can double your marketing efforts, whether it’s just the results from your website, or the results that you have from a pay-per-click advertising program, or the results you have from sending a newsletter, if people end up texting you, it’s unbelievable in terms of return on your investment. So I just want to point out that this is extremely important if you’re looking to get more business for your firm. The more leads you have, the more you can qualify people, and the more you have the option of only taking the business you want rather than taking the business that comes your way.

Mckay: That’s a good point, Dan. The interesting thing is oftentimes I think law firms and attorneys specifically believe that people are choosing them because of their educational background and their skill as an attorney. They are in many cases, but most people choose a firm because they respond quickly and communicate better than others. Most people will usually go with the firm that gets back to them first, so it’s about responding rapidly, especially if you’re using text messaging. The ability to generate more leads with a quicker response is where text messaging is powerful.

Another thing I wanted to highlight is a new feature we launched about a month ago. We’ve already got several dozen law firms using it and they love it so far. They’re also using it in ways we didn’t think about when we launched it. The way it works, if you’re texting somebody using Kenect, you can simply click on a little video button in your Kenect platform, which I’ll show you in a moment. That text can turn into an instant meeting via video. There’s no software to download. There is no installation of things beforehand. You just click a link and you’re video chatting regardless of what kind of phone you have. We have law firms who are telling us they’re using this a lot because it’s so quick. They’re not having to send out Zoom meeting links. They’re just texting, and all of a sudden, boom, they’re in a video chat. That is huge and has been very effective.

Here’s how it works. Step one, you’re using the Kenect mobile app or the Kenect desktop. I’m just using the screenshots from mobile. You’ll click on that little video icon there that’s circled. Then you and the client both click on that link, and you’re chatting. This all happens within five seconds. They don’t have to have an iPhone or use FaceTime. They don’t have to download something for Zoom.

So why use it? As I said, no additional software is needed for mobile and desktop. We’ve got some of our law firm clients using it as an alternative to Zoom. Some of them are saying, ‘hey, I did all my meetings today using Kenect.’ So why are they using Kenect instead of Zoom? Well, because it’s so easy, and they’re texting anyway. You can even do it with up to 30 people, so meeting with clients, their families, or multiple people in multiple locations is easy. Just put everybody in the text and send the link. They click on it, and it’s done. It’s pretty powerful stuff. Dan, any thoughts on that before I jump into reviews here?

Dan: I thought I’d mentioned that when clients feel they are being taken care of, they’re more likely to give you a review, and that review is more likely to be positive. It’s all about better communicating with your client, whether that’s through texting, video, or anything else. It’s all part of staying in communication, particularly in the area of divorce and family law. The better the communication with your clients, the easier it is for you.

McKay: One of the ways that clients choose you is based on how quickly you respond. But first, they have to find you, and they have to be willing to reach out and text or call you. So how do they decide on which firm to contact? The first and most important thing they do is go to your reviews. They’re going to Google first, and then based on which firms come up on the first page of Google, they’re going to look at reviews from each of those firms. They’re going to look at a couple of things in these reviews, which I’ll talk about shortly. We recommend having over 150 reviews.

Potential clients are also going to look at the star rating for those reviews. A four to a five-star rating is critical. If somebody is in the three-star for law firms, that’s a red flag. There’s data from Clio that found that once people have three stars or less, you are facing an 80% decrease in people who are interested in hiring you. Having a lot of reviews, especially a lot of positive reviews, is vitally important. It’s the first step in choosing a law firm.

One statistic that shocks me is that people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Online reviews are the new word of mouth, and it makes sense. For example, I’m finishing the basement in my home right now. My friends gave me a list of subcontractors, drywallers, and plumbers they know, but I found myself not using my friend’s recommendations and just searching it in Google and finding the best reviews. Most people will not consider your firm if you have low numbers of reviews or low-star ratings. Dan has talked about this a ton in past webinars. The fact is, you are going to get more clicks on your website if you have more reviews, and if they’re good reviews, you’re in the best position.

What do people want to see in your reviews? Quality, of course. They also want recency. The last thing you want is to go and see a website that has old reviews from 2016. How many reviews should you have? 150 reviews is an ideal number. You should also be responding to reviews, whether they are negative or not. This is vital.

Before I jump into the three methods here, I want to stress something. This three-step process is not going to work unless you have an internal process to do it. No tool can fix an internal process. If you’re not committed to getting more reviews, or if you don’t have a process, whenever there’s a positive case resolution, it won’t work. The first step is to be committed to generating reviews. Aim for 150 reviews and then continue the process beyond that. Secondly, assign this process to someone. Make it a part of their role. Any time there is a positive case resolution, whoever handled the case – whether it was a paralegal, attorney, etc. – make it their role. This is critical.

Here is step one. You send a text which you can customize within Kenect with your logo and a custom message. Then you send them a link when you have a positive case resolution. Step two is when they open the text and click on the link. Google and Facebook are fully integrated. This is vital because about 90% of phones in North America are always logged into Google or Facebook. Once the client clicks on the link, they can post a review. It’s that simple.

Now, what is the percentage of people that leave a review? If you follow this process, it’s about 35%. You might think that 35% isn’t that great, but it’s better than what you’re doing now. Right now, email rates are at about 0.8% if you send an email asking for a review. In-person is even less than that. Doing it with a simple process can be up to 35 to 45 times better in terms of getting reviews.

There are a few things to highlight here. Number one is to take control. Don’t let mad customers determine your rankings. Bad reviews can sink your business. One negative review out of five can destroy your company. You have to make sure you have enough good reviews to drown out the negative ones.

Second, build a repeatable process. It won’t work unless you have someone in your firm whose job it is to complete this process every time there is a case resolution. You can have someone do it for an hour a day or even have it automated. When there’s a positive case resolution, they simply click one button and start the three-step process. You can even have attorneys whose case it was have it sent to paralegals. It just depends on the size of your firm and your structure. As I said, this process, while not 100%, is going to be much more effective than email.

Dan, I’m curious about your thoughts.

Dan: A 35% success rate is unbelievable, and you’re right about the statistics. Sending people an email or just asking them for a review are just not effective ways to get reviews. McKay’s method is much more successful than any other way that I know of, so I highly recommend it.

Mckay: We’ve got a few questions. Robert says, ‘I downloaded the Kenect app from the Apple Store. Does it require an email and password?’

Yes, you have to be a Kenect customer for the app to work. You can download it to your phone, but to get access, you’ve got to be a customer. He also asks if texting works with a landline. Yes, we can turn your landline number into a textable number. That’s the core of what we do. We don’t take control of your phone number. We just make it textable. Great questions.

One question I get a lot is who should be the person who’s in charge of the review process?

Dan: That’s a good question because lawyers often think that they have to do it all themselves. You touched on this a little bit earlier in the presentation saying that you can divide up the responsibility through your staff, so why don’t you just say a little bit more about how that can work?

McKay: Let’s talk about the assignment process just within your firm and then how that would translate to Kenect. A common way that smaller firms would handle this is by putting office managers in charge of the process. So if you have five case resolutions every one or two weeks, a part of that person’s responsibility is to follow that three-step process. They simply log into Kenect, they send that three-step process to generate reviews, and they’re done. That office manager in that scenario knows it’s their job to do that, and that it is part of their role every week. We also have firms who assign this task to paralegals. The templates are all built, but you can customize the language and things. It is very simple to do.

Now, how does that all look in Kenect? Let me back up and I’ll show you. In the inbox, you can only see the text that the super administrator on the account wants you to see. This is the person from your office who is in charge of the account. They can assign texts to certain attorneys or paralegals. If you’re an attorney, you’re not going to see every text that comes through unless you want to. You’re just going to see the texts that are associated with your clients and the leads that you’re getting. The reason for this is because you don’t want to be overwhelmed with stuff that’s not yours. These can all be assigned out. The tasks can be automated as well.

Another question we have from the audience is from Anna. She wants to know if you can have a text box for your web page. Yes, you can. We can add a quick little text widget that says ‘text us’. Then someone clicks into it, they see a little menu, and suddenly they’re texting you. Dan, any other questions that you have that you’re seeing come through?

Dan: I just wanted to mention that about 70% of people are now accessing the internet using their smartphone. People are so used to texting on their smartphone then when that text button comes up, it’s the thing that they’re going to do. It just increases the chances that people are going to communicate with you. The question I did want to ask you is: is there a specific feature that you are finding is more popular among law firms?

McKay: That’s a good question. The ‘text us’ button has always been the most popular I think just because every law firm wants more leads, but we have been legitimately surprised by the level of adoption and usage for video chat. People love it for law firms, and they’re using it every single day. We did not anticipate nor did we want to go against Zoom but we’re having law firms realize that they are using Kenect video chat more than they are using Zoom. The reason for this is that the video chats are more in line with what they’re doing. All they have to do when they are already texting someone is click on that little button and boom, they’re in a video chat. I think that’s why it’s so much easier and more simple to use.

Dan: The pandemic has forced all of us to communicate in a different way, and the more immediate the communication, the better. You can also do appointments via video, which people are doing on Zoom. We’re not going back. We’re moving forward.

McKay: That’s a good point, I don’t think it’s going to go back to the way it was. I was thinking the other day that I hope things kind of stay this way, being able to work from home where possible and all that. I think the main thing that I am looking forward to is people realizing that they didn’t need as many in-person appointments as they thought they did.

Dan: You also mentioned the Clio report for 2020. What they found was that on a scale from one to 10, the thing that is least important to clients is the fact that you have an office. The most important thing is the reviews and how you stand out in terms of your reviews. Then it goes to communication, etc. But the least important thing is the office. More of us won’t be going back to an office, and more potential clients won’t be expecting to have a meeting in an office. I’m not saying that offices are going to be eliminated, but they are less important than you probably thought they were.

McKay: That’s interesting because I think for a long time, the location, the nicer offices, the mahogany walls, and the marble floors were all associated with good law firms. I think now people don’t care about that stuff as much.

Dan: Having worked with family lawyers for 25 years, it’s less important there as well. It’s all because of wanting privacy, and you can be a lot more private if you don’t have to walk into somebody’s office. You can just have a meeting using your app, Zoom, or any other video application.

Mckay: One last question. How do you deal with negative reviews?

We have a couple of best practices here that we recommend using. The first is to get more positive reviews. Your negative reviews matter a lot. If you have five total and you get one negative, those positive reviews won’t matter all that much. If you have 150 positive reviews and there’s one cranky guy who leaves a negative review, it won’t make that much of a difference. That’s the first thing – get a lot of positive reviews.

In terms of handling a specific negative review, the first thing you should do is respond to the review specifically. You can do this within Kenect. Respond to the negative review and say ‘hey, we’re sorry you had a bad experience. Please contact me directly and we can discuss how to make this right.’ Then put your email or phone number. That’s going to show everybody reading the review that you care and that you’re interested in solving the problem.

Don’t reply to the review and start arguing or justifying or getting defensive. The person who’s reading the response will just see an attorney getting frustrated in a public forum. Do not do that. Just respond calmly and try to resolve it. Most of the time, you can resolve it, and often they’ll turn out to be your biggest fans because you handled the situation. Dan, I’m curious if you agree with that, or would provide any additional guidance there?

Dan: You cannot debate on reviews. You have to be professional and take the high road. As McKay said, invite the person to communicate with you. That’s the best you can do. The other thing is that the cranky review may not come from a client – particularly in the area of family law. It may come from the spouse of your client. They have every right to throw a review up there because in some way they’ve interacted with you or their lawyers have interacted with you. You can’t do anything about that other than to just say that you are not my client but I’ll gladly talk with you if you want to discuss this further.

McKay: We also get the question a lot with family law attorneys. While I’m getting to this, is there a way to remove a bad review from Google? Unless you have a good reason, I don’t believe there is. I think Google makes it difficult on purpose. I’m sure there technically probably is if you know the CEO of Google, but it’s extremely hard.

Dan: The best thing to do is get a lot more reviews to push that one negative review down.

McKay: Family law clients might also be hesitant to leave reviews. They don’t want to go on there and say that they had a terrific divorce. These reviews can be general. In the text that you send, you can ask clients to leave something general. You can tell them that if they don’t want to get into specifics about the case, they can just leave a general review about how the family law firm did a great job for them and their family. That’s all they need to leave. They don’t need to get into specifics about the messy divorce and the custody battle right.

Dan: I think back to 25 years ago and how sheltered and hidden people were about their divorce cases. They are far less reluctant now to give a review than they were 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago. They understand the value of reviews now more than they ever did before and they understand that they want to pay it forward to other people. So if you’ve done a good job for them, they’re going to be a lot more inclined than they were in the past to give you a positive review. That’s the way we’re operating now.

McKay: People won’t be surprised by the question to get a review. Dan, any final thoughts from you before we close?

Dan: I just wanted to encourage people to listen to the other webinars that McKay and I have done. If you go to www.FamilyLawyerMagazine.com, you’ll find them there. There’s lots of great information about reviews and using text messaging in those two webinars that we did in the past. I always appreciate people checking in and listening to us.

If you’ve got any questions, please call Dan Couvrette at 866-803-6667 extension 124, or DanC@DivorceMarketingGroup.com