The 3 Best Customer Service Tips Every Lawyer Needs to Know

September 30, 2016

With the marketplace being as competitive as it is, you may be struggling with making your firm stand out from the rest. Online alternatives like LegalZoom are on the rise as well, but there's one special ingredient you have that they do not: in-person interaction.

It's critical that attorneys learn to use face to face communication with clients to their advantage. After all, providing legal services is, by name, a service-based industry, so providing exceptional customer service is the one thing you can do to make your firm one of the best.

Offering low prices and quality service isn't enough anymore. Anything and everything is about the experience and how you make a client feel. The legal field is not immune to this principle.

  • Do clients feel like they are in the right hands?
  • Do they feel listened to?
  • Do they feel like no matter what, they will get a timely response to any issue or concern?

Customer satisfaction through the entire legal process is key!

Mastering exceptional customer service is built on the fundamentals of creating lasting relationships with your clients which naturally leads to word-of-mouth referrals.

Don't underestimate the power of "the customer experience." Utilize it as much as possible and make exceptional customer service the golden standard for your firm. Here's how:

1. Manage Client Expectations

In an age where everything from food to streaming movies, to basically anything is executed quickly, people expect things done fast. When it comes to the legal field, many things may seem easy to clients, but you and I know that certain matters take more time to put together, draft, submit and hear back from.  Here's something to always keep in mind: Understand that they don't understand. Allow your clients grace instead of getting frustrated with them.  For the most part, they don't know how long executing certain matters take. Filing forms or drafting documents may be routine business for you, but it is foreign territory for them. Have open communication with your clients. Provide realistic expectations with them, and if any delay comes up, they should be the first to know. When you do this, clients aren't left wondering why something is taking so long, they trust that if something comes up, they will know exactly what is going on with their case.

2. What Is The First Contact Like?

With the help of the internet, most attorneys don’t realize that clients have a preconceived impression of them before even contacting their firm. People do their research and then call and work their way down the list of attorneys they researched. Here’s what happens. If they cannot talk to an attorney right then and there, they will keep working their way down their list, but what happens if they can talk to the “second best”: your receptionists.  What if your receptionists could absolutely, hands-down make the client satisfied with their first contact with your office? What if the first time someone called in, they felt understood and helped although you weren’t available? That is how our Abby receptionists have helped many attorneys lock in a potential client, so they don’t feel the need to shop around while they wait for a return call. Your receptionists should always show empathy, patience, have the desire to help as best to their abilities and conduct a welcoming and friendly call. This alone is extremely powerful for attorneys because it has a direct reflection of your services. Although your potential client hasn’t spoken with you, doesn’t know how well you can help, or if you’re the right fit, that first time they spoke to your Abby receptionist they have a feeling of relief and certainty that you can help. They subconsciously base their decision on what that first contact was like. Make it count.

3. Last Impressions Matter

Every phase of your relationship with your client matters. From first impressions, to establishing trust, to then completing the case, how you end is important as well. That is why following up with your client is crucial. Not only do you get feedback for your eyes only vs. them publicly displaying their displeasure on highly visible sights, but you sincerely thank them for choosing your firm. Work with your clients on improving the experience for other future clients. Always put effort towards improving your firm and how you treat your clients.  Hand-written thank you cards or a small Starbucks gift card are personal touches your can add. Something really popular we see is that many attorneys use our Abby receptionists to hop on a quick phone call with their client to follow-up, ask if there are any areas the firm could improve on and then thank them for choosing to do business with us. These are all simple ways to follow-up with your clients. Simple maybe, but they go a long way for sure.

These three habits are what I notice many attorneys struggle with; therefore, the growth of their business is stagnant. Developing a top-notch customer service experience plan that covers all parts of the experience is vital.

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