If you want to give your clients a great experience, start by giving them some undivided attention.
That means meeting with them in person and looking them in the eye. It means doing more listening than talking. And it means taking time to answer their questions and ease their concerns.
Too many clients say they don’t get nearly enough of these things. What they get instead is a lawyer who is always busy or distracted, or else one who delegates most of the work to associates or support staff.
The result: a frustrated client who is more likely to file a malpractice claim if something goes wrong.
“It’s easy to forget the importance of a personal touch in interactions with clients,” writes Scott Distassio on the Clio Blog. “But for lawyers, staying engaged and attentive can make a big difference in securing new clients and positive reviews—so missing the mark can be bad for business.”
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Client Experience = Client Engagement
Here are seven tips for staying engaged with your clients:
- Set expectations early. This begins in your first interaction. Make sure your client understands the realities of their case, including how much it will cost and how long it will likely take before resolution. Stick with facts, not possibilities. Don’t predict a specific outcome unless you know you can deliver it.
- Make a good first impression. “This doesn’t just mean a firm handshake and confident introduction—it’s also a good idea to let the lobby of your office do some of the heavy lifting in this area,” advises Distassio. “Make sure the plants are alive, the magazines are current, and the coffee is fresh. Make sure clients and potential clients are greeted warmly and kept aware of when you’ll see them.”
- Focus on building trust. This is the foundation of a successful relationship.
- Be empathetic when bearing bad news. “When you’re faced with delivering the things that your clients don’t want to hear—and you know what kind of news will go down poorly—take a moment, tone down the stern demeanor, and engage with some empathy,” writes Distassio. “Clients are already anxious. So sit back, listen, and give them room to process what they’ve heard. No matter what happens with their case, when it comes to recommending you to others, your customers will remember the way that you presented the negative news and dealt with their reaction.”
- Stay positive. This isn’t always easy to do, especially when things go south and there’s nothing you can do.
- Write a script for crucial conversations. “A script doesn’t have to sound canned or insincere,” says Distassio. “What you’re actually doing with a script is giving yourself a framework that allows you to always present the most vital information and not miss any important items. If you feel like you’re reciting the same thing to every client, you’re doing it wrong. Give yourself a checklist that covers your introduction, a series of questions that will help guide both you and your client through the process of determining their goals, and lastly, asking for the sale, so to speak.”
- Use cloud-based technology. Good case management software can make your practice more client-centered. “A system like Clio’s cloud-based platform can help you avoid redundant requests for information, create reminders to check in personally with your customers, and even keep better records of your meetings. When you’re dealing with a client who will be presenting many records themselves—such as someone in an auto accident case—a service that can generate reminders and checklists for all the types of documents needed can save hours of frustration and follow-up. With a good office system, you can automate tedious tasks and present a fresher and more engaged self in your meetings—which will help you to really focus on your clients.”
What are some habits you’d recommend for staying engaged with your clients?
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