Like any business, it’s critical for a law firm to deliver reliable results while providing exemplary customer service. You can’t expect to have return business if you treat customers poorly, or to build a sustainable customer base if you can’t be consistently approachable.
Understanding what clients like about your business, or what you might need to improve, can help you build a bigger customer base, increase standing in your legal community, and ensure return business in the future. You can look at how to improve your customer service after you understand why excellent customer service matters to your bottom line.
The Metrics of Initial Contact
A study by the American Bar Association showed first interactions between prospective clients and law firms were dismal. In most interactions, callers didn’t get to speak with a lawyer in their first phone call, law firms would take several days to respond to voicemails or web-generated requests, and some prospective clients even hung up in the first 10 seconds of a call.
It’s no wonder some clients would be discouraged by these statistics. Most people might not be proactive, and they will call a law firm when they need legal assistance immediately. The public doesn’t usually deal with legal matters, so calling a law firm can be a daunting task. Finding one that answers the phone and connects the caller with an attorney would go a long way to securing their business.
Looking at What Makes Customer Service Click
It’s critical to see what brings customers back to you. Understanding what potential customers want to see in law firms can help you create an environment that keeps them returning for your help, and makes you an essential business in their future needs.
Selling the Product: You
Unlike an auto sales shop or a restaurant, it’s hard to see the results of a good attorney. Even if you manage to get a large settlement for a client, or if you get charges reduced or dropped, you’re just doing your job.
However, clients are coming to your firm for your legal expertise and the expectation that your knowledge will help them with their case. It’s critical to balance professional aptitude while also remaining personable. You shouldn’t be too aloof with clients; you can achieve the best outcome with them if they trust you. It’s a good idea to temper that approachability so they don’t see you as a class clown.
If you help them see you care about them while taking their case seriously, they’re likely to recommend you or return for your services in the future.
Costly Endeavor Softened with a Great Experience
Getting help from attorneys is expensive, so customers can be wary about working with law firms, or hesitant to rely on them because they might feel like a rip-off. Like other specialized services, going to a lawyer may seem pricy.
Being attentive and cordial with clients can help them realize they’re getting their money’s worth. Being the economical and friendly choice can lead to return customers, as well as ease customers’ worries when it comes to the bill after their case.
Trust Builds Results
Being friendly and professional are good ways to ensure a client will trust you. There are plenty of jokes about attorneys being slimy and unlikeable characters, but as with most stereotypes, those worries can be erased with focused conversation and quick responses.
The more a client can trust you, the more likely it is they’ll work with you. You’re there to ensure they can get the assistance they need for whatever legal matter they’ve come to you for. There’s an inherent distrust of the legal system already, so someone who’s giving straight and honest answers while taking their concerns seriously is a good way to get the best results for each party: the customer is more likely to volunteer information and trust your judgment and you can build their case and search for the best options in their case.
Good Customer Service is the Right Thing to Do
The clients coming to your firm for service are just like you: people. It’s essential to remember that everyone has their own story, and just like you might have concerns about the auto garage you take your car for service, they’ll have concerns about you. By showing clients you care, you show them you’re human.
It may seem like a common-sense concept but letting them understand you have other clients and concerns about your own life can help build an empathetical connection. But being a decent person and giving them the best service possible is a good way to ensure good reviews and good business.
Great Customer Service Generates Success
For some law firms, customer service might seem like a secondary concern. After all, the client is there to get through legal trouble, not be coddled. But being too cold and clinical with every case is a good way to see your business drop off. Build your base and improve your public image by being a better firm with good communication, empathy, and effective counseling.
All opinions, advice, and experiences of guest bloggers/columnists are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, practices or experiences of Solo Practice University®.