Many firms find themselves able to locate and contact clients successfully, and it is easily the first step for any firm looking to raise its stock and prestige. Where many firms fail, however, is in client retention, and they lose many of these clients through poor maintenance of relationships and lackluster communication and customer service. Lawyers and legal aides are trained to provide expert legal services, but many have not been trained in or lack certain communication and customer service skills. Former Harvard Business School professor David Maister has suggested that a lawyer’s personality and training are impediments in and of themselves to better service… but the natural tendencies can be overcome.
Whether you start here, or with what you know, provide customer service training to all of your employees at the firm. You can’t expect results without putting in the work.
Present and Plan Projects Early:
Upon the receiving of a quote request or a brief, quickly and clearly outline the project. This will help both parties establish expectations early, and allow for the establishment of a timeline that will set you up for regular communication.
Listen to your Client:
In legal services, you generally find yourself in a dominant position and often anticipate responses while communicating with a client. One-sided communication is an easy mistake to make, but if you listen to your client, they are more likely to trust that you know them and understand their issue. Clients who are familiar with their legal counsel and trust them are more likely to open up and seek services.
Even if you don’t have the answer yet, assure clients that you’ve received their email, voicemail or other communication and will respond with an answer as soon as you have one. This can help build a client’s confidence in their legal counsel.
Be a Human Too:
In the event that you have to deliver any sort of bad news to a client, turn off your legal persona and give the client time to react and reflect. They are likely going to be unable to process the complexities of the legal system until they’ve regained composure, and your compassion and patience can facilitate better decisions and relations.
Log out of your Email:
Many of those in legal services communicate primarily through email and the occasional phone call, but providing a more personal service and communication to a client, especially with good news, can go a long way in building long-term client relations. Try using Skype for video calls or schedule more in-person meetings.
Whether through your speech in person, your email responses, or your online presence and website, your clients are always judging and evaluating their confidence in you. Creative use of web design and professional looking digital communications can impress clients and help build your network through maintaining current clients while attracting new ones.
In a nutshell, no client wants to feel neglected, misunderstood or of lesser importance; especially during what could end up being a potentially lengthy and emotionally exhausting legal process. Consistent communication from start to finish is essential for retaining a loyal clientele, all while allowing the ‘buzz’ get out that your office is the compassionate and dedicated firm that perspective clients are looking for. For a more in-depth look into the many facets of networking that you should be implementing for your law firm, click here!