10 Ways To Make Your Clients Happy
According to a recent study by Forrest Research, it costs 5 times as much to find a new customer as it does to retain a current one. So it’s not just the right thing to do, but it also pays to keep your client happy. And when it comes to keeping clients happy, as is often said, it’s the little things that matter most. Delivering excellent law firm client service is something that must be coached into each and every employee of the firm.
Clients judge the quality of their experience on whether or not your firm has been responsive, cooperative, aggressive (on your behalf), friendly, attentive and transparent.
Here are ten manageable ways to delight your clients and exceed their expectations on a regular basis:
1. Follow the “Sundown Rule” religiously. This rule states that regardless of how late in the business day communication from your client is received, someone from your firm responds to, at the very least, acknowledge it. Responsiveness may very well be the most important measure overall. It lets clients know that someone is paying attention and that more importantly, someone cares.
2. Get fees out of the way. Clearly outlining all of the estimated costs and fees associated with your service will help your client better comprehend exactly what they’re getting into. Provide a complete picture of the different costs and allow the client to ask any questions. This also helps to establish trust, which will go a long way as the relationship progresses. Unexpected bills get paid late or not at all.
3. Clearly define the scope of your engagement. Take the time to describe exactly what the firm will and, just as importantly, will not do during the engagement. If needed, explain why each item is necessary for each matter. Set aside the time to explain the firm’s typical approach, and how the firm will handle situations that may arise over time.
4. Give each client your full attention. Making a client feel special involves getting them to feel like they’re the only person who matters when they’re on the clock. Avoid answering your phone, checking your email, and engaging in side banter with other employees who might be in the room, and make sure that you do your best to really listen to the client’s thoughts and concerns.
5. Never speak negatively about other clients, lawyers or judges. Despite the urge to the contrary, disparaging a spouse’s divorce attorney will not win you points with your client. Neither will bashing the local family court or presiding judge. In the end, remember to speak positively about other legal professionals when in the presence of your client.
6. Avoid procrastination. Research shows that 20% of the adult population readily identifies themselves as chronic procrastinators. Many more would probably indicate they are moderate procrastinators. Those folks probably should not be practicing law. Following the 3 Minute Rule can help. This basically states that anything in your way that you can accomplish in 3 minutes or less, you should simply get out of the way right then and there.
7. Communicate with your clients in the manner they prefer. Some folks prefer email. Some want you to call them. Still others may prefer that major developments be reviewed in person. Identify your client’s preference early on, document it, and follow it. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they understand what they need from you and you get what you need from them.
8. Send your new clients a welcome kit. Everyone likes to feel like they’re welcome. Nothing helps increase that feeling like receiving a special welcome kit during the intake process. Include some information about your firm that reinforces the client’s good decision. Include a free gift with your firm’s logo. Make sure the language throughout the kit is friendly and welcoming.
9. Embrace client feedback. Don’t be afraid to send out surveys. Don’t shy away from the results, good or bad. Your clients may feel empowered to give their feedback more honestly and completely when they aren’t in the intimidating presence of their attorney. Make sure that you take the time to review surveys and feedback regularly and identify any systemic issues that might be improved or corrected.
10. Follow up with your former clients. Nothing says you care about your clients more than following up with them a week, a month, a year after your services have concluded. This accomplishes two things. First, you’re showing interest in the welfare of the client beyond the scope of the actual casework and that is always a good thing. Second, you’re setting yourself up for a new engagement or referrals, one of the most important sources for new client acquisition.
In general, your firm should be proactive and customer-centric across the board. Excellent customer service must come from the top down and must be echoed by every staff member that comes into contact with clients.