Providing superior client service is one of the best ways to get repeat business and client referrals. Doing so involves understanding your client’s true agenda, timetable, and specific wants and needs. If you can go above and beyond what the typical law firm provides, you can differentiate your services and build client loyalty. Here are four ways lawyers can take a proactive role in improving legal client satisfaction.
Uncover Your Client’s Underlying Goals, Motivations and Concerns.
Knowing what motivates your client is essential to becoming a trusted legal adviser. Many clients only hire an attorney when they have an immediate need for legal services, and that need is often incredibly significant and urgent. Your client may be worried about the legal outcome or the future of his business or family life.
Listen to him explain his problems and concerns. By actively listening and empathizing with your client during this difficult time, you build rapport and trust, so that when you do offer legal advice, your client is more likely to act upon it.
If you work with businesses, rather than simply providing the legal work asked of you, get to know your client’s business objections and suggest ways he might safeguard his company against future legal issues. Help him prioritize any legal risks he may be having and provide a plan for mitigating those legal risks in the future. By taking an active role in his business, you demonstrate that you have his best interests at heart.
Stay Informed of New Laws and Current Events.
The law changes continuously, so be aware of any new legal or regulatory changes that may affect your client’s case or business and inform him of any possible opportunities or threats in the near future.
For corporate work, do you know how your client’s company is doing in the marketplace or his long-term goals and objectives? By uncovering your client’s motivations and goals, you will be able to better help him keep informed of any new legal issues that may impact his business and make the strategic choices that are right for his company.
Manage Client Expectations.
Most people didn’t attend law school, so they don’t understand how much work is involved with their legal matter. Clearly explain what you will do for them and be upfront and transparent about your fees and how you will communicate with them throughout your working relationship.
One of the biggest complaints clients have about lawyers is they don’t return phone calls or respond to inquiries in a timely fashion. Not returning calls promptly is disrespectful, so make your client a priority and respond accordingly.
In addition, keep clients up-to-date about the progress of their legal case. The more significant your client’s problem is, the more worried he will be about the outcome, so be supportive and inform him of any advancement.
Solicit Client Feedback.
Finally, uncover what clients are really saying about your firm. Take the time to survey or interview your clients to learn what they liked and disliked about doing business with you, what set your legal services apart from other attorneys, and where you can improve your services. Take new clients out for lunch or coffee and ask them why they chose your firm. Try to learn as much as you can about why they hired you, what they didn’t like about their previous lawyer, and what they value most about your services
By learning more about your clients, you will build client rapport and provide better service to your clients. Disappointed clients won’t give you more work or refer business to you, so once you understand your clients’ needs, concerns, and motivations, you can more easily manage their expectations.