Like any business, law firms recognize that how they treat their clients is an integral factor to their success. In an industry where clients often return for repeat business, and where referrals often come from previous clients, it's no surprise that law firms must be thoughtful and strategic about how their clients are treated.
Small firms, in particular, are well-positioned to provide personalized service, as the lawyers and staff should be very familiar with the client. Additionally, providing kind and quality service should cost very little beyond the time needed to do so, but can go a long way to keeping and generating new business.
What should law firms think about when it comes to providing excellent service to their clients?
Start With Your Employees
Set your employees up for success by establishing clear expectations for how to interact with clients, and train your employees properly so that they can do so. Deal with any issues that arise for employees so that you don’t have unhappy employees interacting with clients.
Hiring the right employees is also key. If an employee cannot connect with clients or empathize with them regarding their concerns, then they may not be the right person for the job.
How a client is greeted when they come in your office or how they are spoken to when they call with a question, goes a long way in setting the tone for their experience.
Listen to Your Clients
Lawyers are often so busy finding solutions to problems that they don't always hear what the client is trying to tell them. Clients are in your office because they feel they have been wronged in some way. The last thing they need is an attorney who doesn't listen to them. Hear what they have to say, regarding their case, their lives, and what they need from you. Make sure your employees are doing the same.
With a dearth of attorney choices available to clients, keeping clients happy is a must if you want to retain their business. If a client doesn't feel heard, rest assured that the client is not happy.
And just as a satisfied client will go home and tell their family and friends about your great work, a dissatisfied client will certainly do the same.
Listening to clients can be informal or more formalized through surveys. Be sure to follow up and let clients know how you are incorporating their feedback.
Use Common Sense
This isn't rocket science. Keeping clients satisfied just requires a bit of common sense:
- Be sure the person answering the phone and greeting guests is courteous and friendly.
- Treat clients with respect at all times.
- Be patient with a client's questions -- they didn't go to law school and they want to fully understand what is going on, and what their options are.
- Keep them informed about what is going on in their case.
- Return their call or respond to their email in a timely manner. Nothing is more frustrating to a client than not hearing back from their attorney.
- Providing quality work is a given, but make sure to proofread as well. Client do not want to see spelling or other simple mistakes.
- Above all, people want to feel valued. Ask yourself, "did my client feel valued when they left the office?" Better yet, ask the client that question. If the answer isn't "yes", time to make some changes.