Customer service is for lawyers, too.

Customer service applies to lawyers too. Their expertise in legal documents is their product, but between loads of television advertising, highway billboards, and elaborate websites, clients are being oh so subtly pushed to the competition with promises of better client service. There are lots of great lawyers out there, but how does a client tell the difference?

Two schools of thought are popular among lawyers as to the loyalty of their clients. Senior lawyers believe clients remain loyal, no matter what happens, as long as the attorney is able to deliver a great result. The newer school stands by the premise that the quality of the client experience while working with the lawyer decides loyalty, and excellent client service still brings in the best revenue.

Attorneys need to treat clients like they are the most important people in the world. The company must learn to anticipate, learn, invest in the relationship, and be readily available and prove they care. Law offices need to take the time and become aware of the interpersonal relationships with clients so they can make exceptional experiences. In addition they must:

  • Know their business. A law firm should be knowledgeable about their clients’ businesses; it’s a great way to become  familiar with clients and understand their needs.
  • Be totally responsive. The biggest complaint with attorneys and clients are attorneys not returning phone calls. Some clients need a return call within a few hours; others will be satisfied with a few days. Know the difference.
  • Be proactive. Can lawyers anticipate clients’ needs before the circumstance even happens? As attorneys become more acquainted with their clients, anticipating the problem before it occurs will build trust and loyalty.
  • Manage the client relationship. Some clients need weekly updates; others don’t. Some clients want their attorney to negotiate with a hard hand, while other clients appreciate the soft approach. Understand each client’s needs and how they feel.
  • Stay in contact. As with any other business, stay in contact with the client. Send out thank-you notes. Be responsive and be “human.”

Understandably most attorneys don’t have time to do all of the suggestions by themselves so it is important to implement a client service process for exceptional service with the company’s support staff:

  • Have definite client service standards. This could include greeting new potential clients, making them comfortable, the office atmosphere, etc.
  • Training of the staff. Support staff can do many of the “extras” a client will appreciate…even returning phone calls when the attorney isn’t available, follow-up correspondence, building the relationship with the client.
  • Role models. Teach, practice, use role-playing and accept feedback to enrich the client experience. Teach the support staff  the proper follow-up procedures.

Besides what clients read, what their friends tell them about other attorneys, the exceptional service will develop fans for life. Lawyers are accused of too much lip service; why not implement the best in extraordinary service and retain the old clients and attract new ones too.

photo credit: somegeekintn

3 Responses to “Customer service is for lawyers, too.”

  1. karen said:

    May 10, 10 at 10:17 am

    Cheryl you are spot on with this, it is important that in all businesses there is good customer services and this includes Lawyers after all it is a service your providing for your clients, so you should know what their needs are

  2. Lisa said:

    Nov 22, 10 at 1:36 pm

    In my view customers are not loyal with their lawyer or their attorneys until they got a good customer service. Customer is always loyal to the quality of work and quality of services, they receive from their lawyer. Besides this by implementing Customer support service. Your customer ll have more confidence towards your services and ll show you more loyalty than earlier.

  3. Cheryl said:

    Dec 11, 10 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you for reading .All attorneys need to practice customer service too.