Do you have a long-term plan for taking in, and dealing with, clients? No? You’re not alone.
Most law firms don’t, and it’s costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars a year – perhaps millions. If you don’t want to end up like the firm down the street (that’s losing money), here’s what you need to do.
Focus On Customer Service
You already have one strike against you, and that strike is customer service. When it comes to returning phone calls, lawyers are guilty until proven innocent. You know it, and so does everyone other lawyer in “the biz.” Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. Either hire a receptionist to return calls or do it yourself. You have no idea how different you will be from your competition – in a massively, epically, fantastically good way.
Develop a Standard Patient Intake Protocol That’s Client-Friendly
Do you have a standard intake form? What about a process that leads clients through the trial and arbitration process? How well do you communicate the idea of negotiation and settlement options? If your clients don’t really understand anything you do, it’s a bad sign.
Also, if every client you see feels like the first client you’ve ever seen, you don’t have a process. When a potential client walks in the door, there should be a seamless transition through several steps in the process of retaining that client.
People seek out professionals or experts. For instance, upon a car accident, most people contact specialists, such as the Watson Goepel car accident lawyers in Vancouver, who promote this aspect of their work effectively. People would seek out such an expert when they believe they have a legal case against the other driver or insurance company (possibly a business). So, what they really looking for is a specialized leader in their field – a professional – that knows his or her craft cold. By having a defined process (a template) for every client, you exude confidence as well as competence.
Have a Human Being Answer Your Phone
Have someone actually answer the phone. Don’t have a receptionist? Hire one. Don’t want to hire one? Outsource it to a company like Ruby. The point is, you need to have someone answering your phones because people hate automated machines.
It might sound cool, and it might save you money when you talk to an accountant about expenses and revenue, but it does nothing for your customer service, and this is one of the things lawyers aren’t known for (good customer service). So, get yourself a receptionist any way you can.
Offer Refreshments To Visitors, Treat Them Like Family and Friends
What’s friendlier than offering refreshments to prospects and clients? It shows them that this is not just an office, but a friendly place where they can discuss their legal problems with you.
Keep Every Promise You Make, and Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep
This is a big deal. Some lawyers are all talk and no show. Be the guy (or gal) that actually comes through 100 percent of the time. Is that hard? You bet it is, but it’s also how you retain the very best clients.
Acknowledge People As Human Beings
It’s easy to see a client as a dollar amount, especially when you’re a litigator or trial attorney. But, look beyond this and look at your clients as human beings. That’s what they really want – to know that you care, and not just about the money.
Christina Ross is a marketing maven of many years. When she’s not busy working, she likes to share what she has learned with others by posting online. Her articles appear mainly on business, technology and marketing blogs and websites.