A satisfied and happy client is the best reward for your work. Happy clients are the best business strategy of all. They are the ones that drive new clients towards your firm. Managing your reputation with clients is, therefore, an essential element of any law firm. But how to do that? Here are a few simple disciplines that when incorporated into client management, can help you win them over –
1. Check Your Bandwidth
It is good to work your hardest, but never over-commit. Be sure of your capacity and capability. Evaluate the matter carefully before committing. Accept only those matters that you are sure about delivering on time. But once you commit to a time frame, it is imperative that you deliver upon your promise. A useful tip that can help you manage time better is – count 6 working hours instead of 8. That way, you have the benefit of 2 extra hours that can be kept aside for unplanned emergencies or immediate tasks.
2. Be Responsible
Responsibility is a trait clients look for and value in a law firm. It is one of the most critical aspects for creating a good client relationship. By accepting responsibility, you hold yourself and your team accountable. Clear commitments can be made and promises can be delivered upon. Responsibility fosters dependability and trust.
3. Provide the updates without the client asking for it
Good communication and transparency fortify your reputation. Effective communication is invaluable in building client confidence and trust. It is good to be enterprising and driven – sense the client’s requirements before the client is on board and acts on them. Communicate ETAs, progress reports and deadlines clearly – do not wait for the client to ask you about the updates. If there are delays or unforeseen circumstances, communicate about those as well.
4. Set the right expectations & agenda
The relationship between a client and a law firm is a long-term one. So, it is good to have clear communication regarding the term (time) of the relationship. Setting unrealistic or illusionistic goals only affects the client-lawyer relationship. It gives rise to mistrust and bad feeling, which will only jeopardise your reputation. By accurately determining expectations and drawing up clear agendas, you can work towards achieving realistic targets which in turn will boost your reputation with the client.
5. Do not hesitate to say ‘No’
Though it is very easy to say ‘yes’, it is important to understand when to say ‘No’. It is quite common for law firms to be over-burdened by expectations and cases. But when things are going beyond expectation and you are doubtful on delivering on commitments, it is very crucial that you communicate your refusal. Remember – you can do more harm by promising and not delivering than by not promising at all.
6. Give Something Extra
A client is the driving force of your business. Though the client had many options, they still chose to come to you. It is therefore your responsibility to ensure that they are happy and satisfied. Always plan to give something extra. It adds value to your service and lets the client know how important they are to you. You can show your appreciation and gratitude by going the extra mile and bringing a wow factor to your service. It is not necessary that you present gifts or tokens of your appreciation – you can equally show that you value the client by spending extra time or session with them at no charge or by helping them out with small matters and not billing them for such things.
7. Get on the relationship instead of trade
Business is good, but relationships are better. Long after the matter is past, the way you treated your client is what they will remember you for. This is what decides whether they will come back to your not. Legal fraternity, more than any other profession, is based on relationships. Emotions, along with intellect, are an equally big part of the proceedings. Clients care about how much you know as well as about how much you care.
While branding or marketing can bring clients to your doorstep, it is your reputation and the way you handle your clients that determines whether they will come back or refer their friends. For the success of your law firm, it is good to invest in providing a great experience to the clients. Though the ultimate goal is to win cases, the way you treat your clients is what builds your reputation – and your law firm.
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