In any line of business, creating happy clients is a proven strategy that leads to future business, but satisfied clients are especially important for attorneys. Not only will they continue to use your legal services when needed, happy clients also function as an ideal referral source that directly leads to new clients.
To tap into these benefits, attorneys need to focus on offering effective service, consistent communication, and using technology to enhance their clients’ service experience. With the help of legal practice management software, clients enjoy more options and choices, all while receiving regular support that meaningfully benefits the attorney-client relationship. Achieving these goals is as simple as following these 7 steps for creating happy legal clients.
1. Make Your Law Firm Feel Welcoming
Clients who walk into an attorney’s office should not feel a sense of disconnect, as if the lawyer is doing the client a favor by providing legal services. Instead, the law firm should have a welcoming atmosphere, and attorneys should come across as both caring and confident. These factors help to put your clients mind at ease. When clients feel their legal needs are in good hands from the start, a crucial first step toward client happiness is taken.
There are a few ways your law firm can make new clients feel appreciated. For starters, a simple client welcome kit is an excellent way to take a proactive approach to making clients feel valued.
Here are a few items to consider including:
- A welcome letter from a partner
- A pledge to provide committed legal representation for the client
- Contact information including email addresses and phone numbers
- A simple gift such as a pen with the law firm’s name on it
Additionally, the law firm itself must give off a caring vibe. That starts with the receptionists and administrative assistants, and it ends most importantly, with the lawyers. You and your employees should be approachable and receptive to your clients’ inquiries.
Client concerns should be addressed as soon as possible and with the care and concern typically expected from highly regarded lawyers.
Finally, even if a potential client ultimately decides that the law firm’s legal assistance is unnecessary or requires help with a practice area that your firm does not handle, take the time to refer them to someone who can handle their case. Not only will this make the client happy in the short term, it could also lead to future referrals from both the client and the law firm you ultimately referred the client to.
2. Emphasize Quality Communication
When it comes to keeping clients happy, quality communication is of the utmost importance. Part of quality communication involves being accessible. But it’s also important to think about the method of communication. Some clients may prefer to talk on the phone, while others may prefer email communication or a secure client portal.
Asking clients to choose the method and frequency of communication is a great way to meet and exceed their expectations. However, if you know your law firm only communicates in one way (for example, your firm only uses a secure client portal), make sure your clients are aware of this. Setting the right expectations from Day One ensures there will be no misunderstandings based on a lack of information.
Speaking of misunderstandings, always be clear about deadlines. Let clients know when deadlines are coming up, and always meet the deadlines you set. A perfect track record when it comes to communicating and meeting deadlines is another surefire way to gain your clients’ trust and belief in your law firm.
As you can see, there is a lot to keep track of when it comes to providing clear, quality communication on a regular basis. One way to ensure that you meet this standard is to use legal practice management software. Utilizing effective legal practice management software helps you to set clear deadlines and communicate regularly with your clients through a safe and secure client portal.
Instead of sending confidential information using unsecure email address, attorneys can use secure software to enjoy effective communication with safeguards in place to protect the information discussed. This level of security and safety naturally, goes a long way toward gaining your clients’ trust and increasing satisfaction with the services provided.
3. Implement Technology to Provide a Better Customer Experience
In the eyes of clients, legal billing is an arcane and easily misunderstood process. Legal practice management software helps clients easily see how your law firm is billing them, using time-tracking software that allows them to understand the cost of legal services.
Time tracking and billing software makes it easy to generate a report and send it to the client when they want to see a billing update, providing much-needed transparency to the billing process. When clients trust they are being billed fairly, happier clients are the likely outcome.
4. Expand Your Service and Support Team
No attorney can be all things to all people at once. Sometimes, when you’re busy practicing law and working on a client’s case, your clients may need customer service and support. To that end, it is helpful to have a receptionist or administrative assistant who will address your clients’ needs and represent the firm in a positive light when such situations arise.
However, smaller firms may want to look into growing their service and support capabilities virtually. Implementing a virtual receptionist system or setting up a virtual law office is a great way to provide cost-effective customer support for smaller firms. It’s also a proven way to grow your law firm when the budget is tight. Whether you use virtual support or full-time staff, it is imperative that your firm has a way to provide consistent client service, even when attorneys are otherwise occupied with legal work.
5. Personalize Your Client Interactions
Little details go a long way toward creating positive attorney-client relationships. For example, one way to do this is to take notes on clients’ pertinent personal details. Again, legal practice management software makes this easier by offering custom fields where attorneys can keep track of important information that is beyond the scope of legal cases.
Whether you want to remember your clients’ birthdays, a spouse’s name, or any other personal information, custom fields make it easy to create and access this information when interacting with clients.
6. Perfect the Art of Follow-Up
Make sure you check in with clients after key events in their case have transpired. For example, a civil litigation attorney should follow up with a client after arguing a motion in court to ensure that the client understands the next steps. That way, the client will feel that you’re going to be there each step of the way, making sure the job is done right.
7. Develop an Iterative and Working Client Service and Support System
Exceptional customer support that increases client happiness and trust does not happen by accident. Excellence, in the words of Aristotle, “is not an act but a habit.” So it goes with providing reliable client service.
Responsive service should be a built-in, routine function of your law firm such that every client walking through your firm’s doors receives the same level of attentiveness and care. Legal practice management software is a great way to turn client service from a guessing game into an automated routine.
By automating essential aspects of client service, your law firm will be well on its way toward taking these 7 steps that will create consistently happy legal clients.