Most attorneys would agree that the first time your client calls you up or speaks to you personally, they are likely going to be very anxious or let's just say, over-whelmed. While some people may mask their emotions quite well, the fact that they are seeking legal help is enough to tell you that all is not well in their professional or personal lives. They seek your help because they see you as someone who can solve their problems. If you are not providing great initial customer care that attorneys or lawyers are expected to, your client may move down the list of names and end up retaining one of your competitors.
Customer service in legal professions is something that is often overlooked. A lawyer might be more interested in snagging the right office location than getting a receptionist who smiles. Legal service providers may think it is more important to invest in marketing, and conveniently ignore the customer service and client nurturing side that supports their marketing (especially referrals). At the end of the day, to succeed as a well-known attorney or a legal service firm, you should be investing in great customer service.
Let us take a look at how you can do that.
1. Build a good website
We all know that people look for information on the internet. When people want to contact you, or if someone has recommended your services, they will most likely type your name or your firm’s on their mobile devices’ browsers or search for your area of law. Ensure that your website contains your contact information, and request your web designer to enable ‘touch to call’ feature so that it is easy to contact you from a mobile device. If you can’t invest in a professionally designed website, there are a number of WordPress hosted websites too, that do the job.
Here are some companies that build websites specifically for lawyers:
2. Be transparent
You need to be transparent not only on your website and advertising, but also when your client visits you in your office. Offer a quote without wasting their time, and explain to them how things work. They may need to gather documents, proofs, and other things that you may need to support their case. Be transparent about your policies and requirements, so that there is no confusion at later stages. If you are not transparent, and if you do not explain all your requirements beforehand, your clients may later feel unaware, or worse, blame you for not briefing them correctly. After all, it always helps to keep people informed about what they are getting into.
3. Learn from your peers
Take a look at what your peers up to, especially in your practice area. What are they investing in? Are they poaching clients from other firms? Where are they advertising? What do their online reviews say? There are a lot of things you can learn from your peers, including how they treat their clients. This is probably the most important thing you need to observe, when it comes to your peers and competitors. Offering all-around service that is even better than what other law offices do, and you can rest assured that you will keep your clients happy.
4. Empathize with your clients
As a legal service provider, you will have to be more than a stiff-upper lipped attorney. You need to start walking in your clients’ shoes and understand what they are going through. Evaluate each client carefully, and notice the unrelated personal information they may divulge during conversations. If they happen to let you know something about their son’s marriage, or a brother’s marriage, make a note of it. Ask if their son’s education or brother’s marriage went well. This shows that you care for their well being and what's important to them (like their family), and that you are willing to go that extra mile to help them.
5. Invest in automation
If you haven’t already started to use some form of customer relationship management (CRM), you should. These tools help you to gather information about your clients, and automate the process of contacting them, retrieving their files, etc. Law offices need to invest in the latest technologies in order to remain ahead of competitors and peers. Automation also reduces manual effort, and the saved time and resources can be used to provide better customer care. One of the biggest reasons why lawyers provide less-than satisfactory customer care is, they feel they do not have the time and resources to do so.
6. Provide 24/7 customer care
Attorneys and legal professionals may erroneously think they do not have to answer calls beyond office hours. However, you will be surprised to learn that clients start calling on your mobile phones, and may resent you if you start avoiding calls past working hours. For this reason alone, it makes sense to invest in 24/7 customer care services, best handled by virtual receptionists. These professional services, such as the one we offer at Abby Connect, receive calls from your clients, answer their queries the way you want them to, and even take notes for you. Not only will this make your services more accessible, but it will help to communicate to your clients that your business is always available and listening, with the best possible customer care.
Providing excellent customer service is an art, and as a legal professional, you will have to do your best to make your clients happy. It is very easy for legal clients to switch lawyers, and if you want to retain your clientele and get good referrals from them, you will have to go beyond merely providing professional services. You will have to nurture your clients, respond to their queries, make notes when they call you up, and be available at all times.