This guest post is from Annette Hazard. She is a freelance writer who usually writes about business, home, and financial issues. She is a mother of one and currently resides in Illinois.
Individuals who own and/or work within the field of law know how crucial the development and maintenance of an excellent public relations department can be to success. Because the field of public relations is one designed to help an organization maintain a favorable public image, having a great public relations department can help you retain clients and attract new ones. Unfortunately, however, public relations departments often find themselves encountering or creating problems. These problems can preclude the law firms they represent from maintaining the great public image they desire. Yet when firms learn how to avoid these problems, the reputation of the firm can be preserved. Here are five public relations problems and how your firm can avoid them:
1. Unnecessarily Complicated Language.
Because the world of law includes its own complex lexicon, this language can often creep into the communication styles that public relations representatives adopt when speaking to the public. Luckily, there are many solutions for this problem. The most advantageous and implementable solution is probably devising several brief, simple scripts for public relations representatives to use when communicating with clients on the phone or in person. While representatives do not have to read from these scripts word for word, they can use them as a guide so that they don’t use language that is not common to the general populace.
2. Lack of Attention to Detail.
Oftentimes public relations professionals can become so immersed in attempting to accomplish the overarching goal of making the company look good that they forget the “little things.” What these little things are will differ from law firm to law firm, but it could include anything from uploading content to social media to making sure a press release goes out on time. There are several solutions to this problem, and one of them includes creating checklists of tasks that public relations representatives are responsible for performing daily. These can help PR representatives accomplish their tasks and also provides their direct supervisor with a way to monitor whether or not they are doing what it is required of them.
3. Customer Appreciation.
Despite the fact that one of the primary goals of a PR team is to make a law company look good to the public, this does not mean that PR representatives are effective in showing customers that they are greatly valued. Indeed, many customers complain that they are not valued by the law companies whose services they use, and this problem must be addressed. One great solution is to give away free promotional items to clients. This will let them know that you value their opinions and want their feedback regarding the products you’re selling specifically and your firm generally. If you live in the Ohio area, consider purchasing some Cleveland Ohio promotional items for your law firm.
4. Offending a Client.
No matter how hard a PR team attempts to please a client with great customer service, it is inevitable that at least some clients will become offended. Since this is the case, law firms that want to maintain a good public image should have a plan in place to handle situations in which a client becomes disgruntled. An example of a good plan would be to refer them to a manager who will evaluate the legitimacy of the complaint and offer a solution to make amends such as a complimentary service, product, or sincere apology.
5. A Scandal.
Unfortunately, the people who work within the law firm you run may be morally flawed. As a result of this reality, it is possible that your law firm will at some point undergo a scandal. If this happens, the solution is for you to be transparent and discreet simultaneously. Lying about the reality of the scandal is unethical and the lie will likely be uncovered. At the same time, it is not necessarily ideal-either practically or legally-to divulge the details of whatever scandal is unfolding. To make sure that you are acting appropriately in the event of a scandal, be sure to confer with a lawyer.
Although running a law firm can be fun and economically rewarding, doing so successfully necessitates that you have a well-functioning Public Relations staff. With that thought in mind, you should keep the information above in mind so that you will know how to effectively handle the challenges that can arise within the world of Public Relations. Good luck!