The Forest for the Trees – 411 and Directory Assistance

I learned a surprising thing about my firm recently. I learned that none of my partners were listed in the telephone directory assistance. When someone called directory assistance or 411 and asked for “Stephanie Leet, a lawyer in Chicago,” or “Edwin Reyes at 10008 S. Western Avenue,” or “attorney Roy Garcia,” directory assistance would say, “we have no listing.” What a shock! A potential client could be looking to call one of the lawyers in the firm and not be given our number.

The firm name was listed, I was listed (afterall, I pay the phone bill, right?) and even Michael P. McCready & Associates (the prior name of my firm) was listed. The fact that the individual lawyers were not listed should not be surprising, I just never thought about it.

An easy fix

After a few minutes in speaking with AT&T, the problem was fixed. Apparently, phone companies share directory assistance so fixing it once was all it took to remedy this issue. So, stop reading right now and call directory assistance. Make sure you and any other lawyer are listed in directory assistance. Make sure any variation of your name is also listed. For example, Roy Garcia’s proper name is Rogelio Garcia. I had to make sure they had a listing for Roy Garcia as well as Rogelio Garcia. This may seem an insignificant difference, but remember the operator is not going to take the time to differentiate when someone calls for a listing

The logical next step

The directory assistance issue got me thinking. If something as ordinary as telephone assistance did not have everyone listed, what about the internet? Did you ever do a google search for your name? Take a minute and do this now. When I search Michael McCready, I get different results than when I search Mike McCready. If you have a common name or you do not come up, try searching your name plus lawyer or attorney. You need to make sure the contact information for you is accurate. As an aside, did you know that google tracks web sites by address? It is CRUCIAL that you you enter your address exactly the same on all websites. 10008 S. Western Ave. is different to google than 10008 S. Western Avenue. Make sure your on-line contact information is accurate, consistent and up to date.

What else did you find?

Hopefully your google search of your name did not result in any unpleasant surprises. Whatever search results came up for you are also showing up for potential clients. Negative review? You need to address it. It doesn’t go away. Unflattering photo from Facebook? You need to delete it at it’s source and wait for it to fall in google’s ranking.

Padding your search results

Rather than wait for negative things to surface on the internet, be proactice in getting information on-line. Ask satisfied clients to post a review. We have a form e-mail which goes to satisfied clients (we make sure we are selective as to who we ask to write a review) with direct links to google+, yelp and to post a review. When you do an internet search for your self or your firm, you want the results to make a good impression.

We all get so busy in our practices that we forget about minor details such as 411 and directory assistance and internet searches. Think these don’t make a difference? I guess you’ll never know what client or case you didn’t get. Take a few minutes after reading this, or have a staff member do it.