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“The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.”
Increasing revenue, building loyal client relationships, and having a competitive edge over rivals – these are just a few of the many goals of a law firm.
Do you know there’s a magical success formula that can help your law firm achieve these goals? Enter outstanding client service.
There is a sea of law firms in the U.S. What can help differentiate your law firm from the others is not just the legal expertise you offer, but also the client service that you provide. In the current marketplace, exceptional customer service can promote client loyalty and prevent client base attrition.
Here are five tips that can help you strengthen your relationship with your current clients and acquire new ones.
- Providing Personalized Service
Imagine your client’s delight when he/she is welcomed by your receptionist with a warm smile, offered a beverage of his/her choice, and informed about the details of his/her scheduled meetings well in time!
Providing such personalized client service can help make your firm come across as professional, competent and a company that genuinely cares about its clients.
Here’s what you should follow:
- Greet the client by his/her name.
- Make sure to be on time. In cases where the wait is unavoidable, make the experience for the client a pleasant one by offering a beverage, a comfortable waiting area, access to the phone or the Internet, entertainment options such as television or print materials.
- Refrain from discussing the client’s case in public places such as a hallway, an elevator or the cafeteria.
- Give your client your undivided attention.
- Make sure to introduce a visiting client to other attorneys and staff, especially those on his/her team.
- Anticipating Needs and Preparing in Advance
Understanding your client’s needs is extremely essential. Only then will you able to develop a plan to achieve the desired goals. Keep the following in mind:
- Prepare an agenda for each meeting with specific objectives and be prepared for the meeting well in time.
- Ask clients how often and through which mode they would prefer to receive communications on their legal case.
- Establish scope of work, provide an estimate of time, and prepare a budget at the outset of any project.
- When it comes to the expenses, ensure to bill with clarity, accuracy and on the basis of the value provided to the client.
- Being Easily Accessible and Responsive
Accessibility and responsiveness play a crucial role in building strong relationships with clients. Here’s what you should bear in mind:
- Provide your client with your office and cell phone numbers, email address and an extranet site where he/she can access the information from about his/her legal case 24/7.
- Make sure to clear the doubts and concerns of the client right away.
- Respond to the client’s complaints and fix them immediately.
- It is important to always have a backup plan for times when the concerned attorney is absent or for unscheduled meetings.
- Ensure that the entire staff is well-trained and adept at communicating with the clients in a professional manner.
- Creating a Culture of Excellent Client Service
Client service should be an integral part of the firm as a whole, and not just the customer service department. It is, therefore, essential to create a culture of continuous service improvement with an unwavering focus on customer experience. More importantly, an uplifting client service culture requires every employee to take responsibility, understand and play their roles with clarity and vigor. Here’s how you can go about creating one:
- Articulate your law firm’s central philosophy in a few yet meaningful words.
- Make sure to elaborate on the core values of your firm.
- Hire the right candidates, train them, and use discipline to enforce what matters to you.
- Ensure that every employee is contributing for continuous service improvement.
- Encourage customer feedback as that will help you identify potential problems.
- Celebrate client service improvements by rewarding your staff and appreciating them for their hard work.
- Continuously strive to innovate and improve your services in order to create more value for clients, employees, and partners.
- Following the Other Essentials
- Remember, you get only one chance to build your firm’s first impression. Make sure you build a great one.
- Leveraging existing technology and incorporating new ones can help improve business operations and provide cost effective services. CRM systems can help develop client relationships to a great extent.
- It is essential to manage your time effectively to meet deadlines.
- Provide regular updates to the client and keep him/her informed about the progress of the case.
- Most importantly, take responsibility and apologize when something goes wrong.
It is important to remember that simply excelling in the practice of law is no longer enough to differentiate your firm from the competition. Client service excellence is a crucial competitive advantage for a law firm or any business for that matter. Right from catering to your client’s preferences and acquiring a thorough understanding of his/her legal matter to being easily accessible and responsive, you should take care of the important aspects in order to provide exceptional client service. Follow the above-mentioned tips and you will be able to build long-lasting and profitable relationships with your clients.
About the Author
Jeff Tomczak is an experienced personal injury attorney in Joliet, IL. at The Tomczak Law Group. As the founder of the firm and a lawyer by profession, he has years of experience in handling the most serious and high-profile personal injury, accident and criminal cases since the last 25 years. He is dedicated in his work of representing victims and strives for availing significant compensation for his clients.