Stand out from the rest and build a strong book of clients by offering the best client service possible.
It’s simplistic to assume that a client’s decisions about choosing a lawyer to represent them is solely focussed on a law firm’s win/loss ratio. While, of course, this is a huge selling point, word of mouth about a law firm’s client service is also a driving factor.
Simply put, as with any industry or sector, good customer or client service leads to greater satisfaction, higher client retention and an improved public profile, which in turn leads to that book of clients growing.
So, here are five tips for offering the best client service in town!
1. Understand and improve the client journey
The ‘customer journey’ is a well-established marketing principle whereby the customer – or the client – has a ‘story’ or ‘journey’ encompassing the phases that they go through from the moment they realise they have a need for something to the moment that need is met or satisfied.
Understanding this customer journey is the keystone to offering strong law firm client service because it helps identify the touchpoints in this journey and ensure each is optimised.
This means going back and carefully analysing each step of the journey, from as early as when a client searches for a law firm (usually online, meaning a website and other digital real estate must be optimised for search and, importantly, easy to understand and navigate) to the final moment they leave the firm with a smile on their face at the conclusion of a (hopefully) successful outcome.
2. Anticipate client needs
Being across a brief is the bread and butter of any lawyer, but the extension of this in terms of great client service is anticipating client needs in advance. This can be as simple as doing extra background research into specifics of the client’s business, industry or profession, and bringing this knowledge to the table at client meetings.
Anticipating client needs can also come from work you’ve done with similar clients or cases and using this in a more generic way to offer insight into your client’s specific legal issue to chart a path forward to a resolution.
3. Develop and exhibit empathy
While the law is often seen as a profession requiring a black and white, clear-cut, logical and technically minded non-emotional head to win the day, being aware and empathetic towards your client is still critical.
This is as simple as acknowledging the stress that can come with a legal case and letting a client know their situation is understood. It’s also where some of the people skills of a great lawyer shine through, such as active listening, reading body language and keeping an open mind, all very useful in developing client empathy.
4. Communicate clearly, regularly and responsively
At the heart of client-centric professional services is a solid communications strategy, and given how much communication inevitably occurs throughout the legal process, great communications are essential to offering great client service.
By being clear, concise and using plain English rather than too much legal jargon, a much more open style of communication is established that will ultimately yield far greater results by bringing the client with you rather than having them as a passenger.
Comms should also be regular and responsiveness must be front of mind – surveys have shown that over 60% of prospective clients reported not hearing back from initial enquiries, with nearly 80% indicating an expectation of hearing back from a firm within 24 hours of an enquiry being made.
5. Transparent pricing via a strong value proposition
Even with essential services such as medicine and law, price or cost still act as a signal to clients about whether or not they will engage with a firm.
This doesn’t mean offering cut-price services to beat the competition to prospective clients but rather being transparent about what a client gets in return for the fees, in other words the ‘value proposition’ offered.
The value proposition can be presented in numerous ways and can include offering the strong brand a firm holds in the marketplace, handling niche legal situations other firms don’t and showcasing the breadth and strength of the legal team.
More generally in terms of pricing, offering different ways to settle fees – think online credit card payments, sliding-scale fees, flat fees or even getting really imaginative and offering subscription-based fees for regulars – also shows prospective clients that a firm has an understanding that each client has their own set of needs around the fee payment.
A final word on great law firm client service
Providing excellent client service can be achieved in many ways, but the final step and also one that will help with formulating even better service is asking for client feedback.
And this is not just from when things go right – some of the best feedback will come from critical feedback when a client wasn’t so happy about the way the process or case went because honest client feedback allows a firm to improve and in doing so stand out even more from its competitors.
Gorilla Jobs Can Help
We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!