Treat your client like you would want to be treated. Legal problems bring out the worst in people. To provide the best customer service you need a professional level of empathy. In simple terms, how would you like to be treated if you were in the client’s shoes.
It could be said that lawyers lack sensitivity in this area because they are seldom consumers of legal services themselves. For this reason you find that everything regarding a legal practice ie. the operating model, the language and processes used are focused on making things easier for the lawyer to practice rather than making it easier for the client to access the services.
According to lawyerist.com (article by Robin Bull published in April 25th2016):
- ‘’Fewer than 10% of clients who call a law firm will actually get to speak to a lawyer.
- More than 40% of people who leave a voicemail or fill out a web form wait two or three days before they hear back.
- 11% of callers hang up within 10 seconds of calling a law firm because they’re frustrated at not getting to speak with the person they ask for by name.’’
How do we make things easier for the client?
- Simplified language:‘’You should also be careful about the language you use when you talk to your clients. Legal jargon can cause frustration and can even come off as condescending. Client should not need the services a legal expert to help them understand what their lawyer is actually saying. Use plain english to explain updates or progress of the case. If there are terms that you simply can’t replace, make sure that you explain the concept.’’ (lawyerist.com)
- As they say, ‘Feedback is the breakfast of champions’. Always ensure that you are at all times aware of what customers say about your business or the service they receive from your business. Remember, happy clients refer your firm to others.
- Provide regular updates to clients on their cases. As indicated above, be as concise as possible to ensure that your client actually understands the status of the case. Don’t hide behind the jargon.
- Be accessible and have the courtesy to return calls or respond to emails.
- Be consistent with the way your charge. Have a scientific mechanism of charging fees and apply that consistently. This will give you good reputation.
- Listen. In the words of Stephen Cowey , “Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.”
Remember ‘’It doesn’t matter how great of a lawyer you are if you don’t have any clients. If you want to continue to grow your law firm, you must focus on customer service. Happy clients refer your firm to others, and it isn’t that hard to make sure this happens. It’s just a matter of providing your clients with good customer service.’’ (lawyerist.com). This is not only applicable to lawyers in private practice. Customer service is just as important for in-house counsel too.