The Client Relationship: What It Means for Your Practice
We live in an age of technology that drives us to depend on blogs, social media, and email campaigns to attract new clients to our firms. Lead conversion obviously plays a significant role in growing any business, but the thirst for a growing client base must not overshadow the importance of fostering our existing client relationships.
When a client leaves your office, can you say with certainty that they’ll darken your doors again? Maybe your firm offers the best service in town, but maintaining solid relationships with your clients often goes beyond that. What else can you do to ensure people are talking (positively) about you in between appointments?
The Perks of a Client Relationship Marketing
First, let’s talk about why it’s important that you stay in your clients’ good graces. In short, it’s the answer to all of your marketing problems.
Client acquisition and retention mean everything to your firm’s success. As you’re no doubt aware, attracting new clients means spending obscene amounts of money and time on developing and executing marketing strategies. But what if “marketing” encompassed more than costly campaigns? Businesses of all types rely heavily on what we call relationship marketing : building and fostering connections with clients who will bring their business back to you and, hopefully, use the power of the grapevine to spread the good word about your law firm.
It’s arguably the cheapest, most effective marketing strategy you could hope for. With a little care and attention to detail on your part, your firm can retain old clients and use the momentum to attract new ones.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Always remember that there is no such thing as too much communication. It’s the easiest way to build trust, and it keeps your firm at the front of your clients’ minds.
- Start an email newsletter. Keep your clients up to date on major developments within the firm, milestones, or anything else that bridges the gap between you and your client base when you aren’t advising them.
- Respond to all inquiries as quickly as possible. With smartphones becoming so commonplace, there is really no excuse to slack off in this area. Email, text messaging, and social media are all at your fingertips. Quick responses let clients know that their business is important and that you care about their schedule.
- Remember the little details. Send thank you notes, holiday and birthday cards, even small gifts when appropriate. Your thoughtfulness won’t go unnoticed, and it might even set you apart from other attorneys in the area. When your client feels valued, they’ll value your firm even more.
Consider dedicating a portion of your precious spare time to getting involved with your community. That could entail any number of things, from attending charity functions to coordinating community events centered around a particular cause.
The goal here isn’t just to get your smiling face seen around town (though that is a helpful side effect). It’s an invaluable bonding experience that shows clients you share the same interests and concerns, and that you care enough to come out in support of them. Additionally, community activities provide the perfect opportunity for you to collaborate with future clients. All of this, plus you’re establishing that your firm has deep ties with the community as a whole, not just the members who help pay your bills.
Keep Your Promises
“Your word is your bond” never holds more weight than when we’re talking about client relationships. It should go without saying that promise keeping is a major aspect of building trust, but in the hustle and bustle of your profession, it can be easier than you realize to forget about little obligations that can make or break your reputation.
- Meet deadlines, no matter what. Your clients should never question whether or not you’ll meet a deadline, especially if you set it yourself. If they can depend on you to deliver on time, they’ll almost certainly come back.
- Manage expectations. You can promise your clients the moon and stars, but what are they supposed to do when you show up with a handful of dirt and some broken glass? Learn to under-promise and over-deliver to maintain your firm’s wow factor.
These tips will go a long way in nurturing your firm’s relationship with clients, serving as a marketing strategy all on their own. Has your firm seen success by implementing these or any other relationship marketing tactics? Tell us about it in the comments!