We always go above and beyond to satisfy out clients. Why? Because happy clients are loyal clients who will tell their colleagues, friends and family about your work. That’s why the communication between each individual client is so critical.
The American Bar Association noted that the main complaints filed against attorneys aren’t ethical violations. Rather, 17% of clients report lawyers for a lack of good communication.
Reputation building in the legal industry is everything. So what if one of your clients who has had a great experience with your firm talks to another of your clients who has felt neglected? You now have two clients with two different experiences. Now you are in a position where you’re risking a complaint to the bar and perhaps the loss of both. One step forward in this case, could also mean two steps back.
It doesn’t matter if it was not clearly explaining a fee schedule, not returning phone calls, or not updating clients on the standing of their matter. As a lawyer, it is important that you create and maintain a consistent positive client experience for each of your clients.
In this article, we’re going to go over some easy to implement tips to improve the experience that your clients have with your office.
1. Figure Out What Your Clients Want
Before you can provide clients great service, you first have to figure out what your clients are looking for. Of course, there are some simple universal truths when it comes to your clients basic wants: they want you to solve a problem and feel like they matter. Since we know that one of the main bar complaints filed against lawyers involves communication, it’s fair to say that clients want to be informed.
So, how do you define quality service? Well, you don’t. The client defines quality service for you. This is a concept known as total quality management. Total quality management (TQM) is a law office management strategy that involves learning what it is that your clients want and making sure that everyone in your office strives to meet that goal.
Finding out what your clients want and need can be done in several ways. The easiest way is to simply ask them. You can do this with client intake forms. You can do this in a phone call or even an email. To get unbiased feedback, setup an anonymous survey online and ask your clients to answer the questions. Keep it short and to the point.
Once you define your customers wants, you can then evaluate how your law firm is working to deliver their desired experience. This could be done by investing in new legal practice managements software, personnel, or other areas of your firm.
2. Create a Written Guide for Your Law Firm
Once you know what your clients want and need, you should create a written guide for your law firm. How should client be greeted on the phone or in person? How should clients be treated? What are the guidelines for returning emails and phone calls? When will clients receive their invoices? When creating legal documents, what formats, font, and letterhead should everyone be using?
Creating a written guide is a lot of work, but it’s important work. Work that can save valuable man hours and frustrations down the road. It’s not so much that you’re creating unbreakable rules about how the firm should operate. It’s more about ensuring consistency in how clients are treated.
For instance, are some clients getting return calls within hours while other clients have to wait days to hear back from your office? If so, that’s a problem. It’s not necessarily that your employees are looking to treat some clients better than others. It’s most likely that there just aren’t any guidelines in place and so they do it simply when they think they have time.
3. Lead by Example
If you truly want your employees to change certain behaviors, you must lead by example. This means every employee should be formatting legal documents a certain way. You need to have time set aside each day or week to answer questions that your assistant cannot answer. You must be willing to listen to clients when they are upset and offer professional empathy if you expect your employees to do the same. Creating a consistent client experience is a team effort, that starts from the top down.
4. Ensuring Your Clients Time Feels Respected
Trouble making time for some of your clients? Sometimes court hearings, meetings, and other life events run far longer than expected. There’s not a lot you can do about that. However, you could have a policy set in place that encourages clients who have appointments when your schedule goes awry to create a new meeting so they don’t feel neglected or unimportant. An explanation and an honest apology can go a long way when it comes to avoiding client frustration and anger. These clients should be scheduled to the first available appointment. Having a person or communication software that allows you to be better accountable for time management and client communication is essential.
5. Formatting Legal Documents & Streamlining Legal Document Creation
The way you communicate with your clients isn’t purely done over the phone or in person. Every legal document or piece of correspondence that passes through your office represents your law firm.
Where formatting legal documents is concerned, you never have to worry about any document looking out of place when you utilize firm branded templates. Legal template software exists to ensure your brand logos and font are consistent, firm-wide.
Infoware Group has created Word LX™ Legal Document Software to help law firms of any size create quality, customized, and consistent legal documents. This legal software was created by lawyers for lawyers. We have leveraged the power of Microsoft Word and tailored it to benefit those specifically in the law profession. Add to that the several minutes a day this innovative law firm software can save everyone in your company, you can allot more time for quality time with your client base. To learn how our software can help you, schedule your free demo.