Here’s a question for you to consider: You may be what your clients need, but are you what your clients want? Sometimes we become so focused on the work that we’re doing and our own perceived value, that we forget to put ourselves in our client’s shoes and think about what they value. And when clients aren’t satisfied with their experience with you they may not return to you for future legal needs and may even discourage others from doing business with you. On the flip side, if a client is satisfied with your service they may become a loyal returning customer and may even sing your praises to friends and family.
When you think of it from this angle, customer service and satisfaction should soar right to the top of your priority list. Although you need to be surveying your clients for their desires and expectations throughout the time that you’re working with them, there a few things that all clients are looking for when they seek out an attorney.
1) A Down-to-Earth Expert: Clients are likely seeking your services in a fairly vulnerable state because they’ve encountered a hardship of some kind. They certainly want to know that you are the expert in the law, but speaking in “legalese” can lead to feelings of confusion and intimidation rather than feelings of assurance. Your clients need to be put at ease and empowered to learn and ask questions. You can give them this confidence by letting clients know up front that your job is to make sure that they are clear on everything you discuss and if not, you are happy to take the time to clarify. Then follow through with this promise by checking for understanding throughout your meetings and patiently answering all questions.
2) A Trustworthy Advocate. Clients want to know that they can trust you and that you’ve got their best interest in mind. No one likes to feel like they’re “getting the wool pulled over their eyes.” So how can you get clients to trust you? How about by being trustworthy? Be up front about what you can provide and by when you can provide it. Then stick to your word. Neglecting to follow through will only burn bridges when referral time comes.
3) A Focused Responder. A client wants to feel as if they’re the most important client you have. Sure, you may have bigger fish to fry, but they don’t want to know that. Respond quickly to clients’ inquiries and give them the focused attention that you might give to your biggest client. Everyone loves feeling important and by offering this to your clients, you stand out in the crowd.
You’re a skilled, experienced and hard-working lawyer, but that doesn’t mean that you should expect your clients to revolve around you. Your firm exists to serve them and you should always be thinking about how to make your business more client-focused. If clients stay, then you stay in business.