Want to know the key to establishing a successful practice? Develop and maintain strong client relationships. Believe it or not, it really is that simple.
Law firms are often too focused on “closing the deal” or “increasing revenue” but, in order to do so, you need clients first! By focusing on providing exceptional service, you will gain loyal clients who will, in-turn, open new doors for your business. A good client will not only support your firm with their loyalty, but they'll also help you establish a good reputation through word-of-mouth recommendations, online reviews, testimonials, and referrals to their friends and family. That said, you can see why it’s important to make an effort to connect with each of your clients, be open and available for them, and always go the extra mile!
If you’re ready to start improving your client relationships, here are our 4 tips for building lifelong bonds that will help your law firm thrive:
Get to know your client.
First and foremost, in order to start a successful client relationship, you really have to establish a solid connection. Sure, you gather basic information about your client and discuss what you can do for them, but in order to keep your client around for the long haul, you should strive to achieve a genuine and personal connection with them.
Start by being friendly! Ask about their work, family, or even dig around for some shared interests to talk about. This kind of conversation will create a comfortable environment for your client and make it easier for you to stay in touch later on. Perhaps more importantly, don’t forget to start the relationship off by being an open book: let your client get to know who you really are by explaining your background and area of expertise, why you’re passionate about practicing law, the successes you’re most proud of, and openly answer any questions they might have.
Communication is key.
It’s no secret that communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship. In fact, one of the biggest complaints that comes from the client side is they aren’t kept in the loop and don’t always know what’s going on with their case at any given time. To avoid this issue, be consistent, prompt, and available every step of the way. Send updates as frequently as possible to thoroughly explain what’s happening with their case, why it’s happening, and answer all of their questions, comments, and concerns in a timely manner.
Another useful communication best practice is to send over a quick CYA e-mail after any client conversation. This will not only help you remember what was discussed, but it also shows your client that you were actively listening. Using a legal practice management system (like MerusCase) will even enable you to tag all of these communications to the client’s case, allowing for quick and easy recall of previous conversations in the event of any misunderstandings.
Go the extra mile. Always.
Clients always expect the most from their legal services (whether or not they deserve your A+ effort), so show them what your firm is capable of by staying on top of the game and continuously improving your firm’s processes and services. Never stop asking (and answering) the big questions when it comes to law firm management: What can we be doing better? How can we make this process more efficient? How can we improve the experience for our clients?
One way to make sure your firm is exceeding all expectations is by actively welcoming client feedback and taking note of client expectations. If you really want to show you care, you can employ simple gestures, like sending birthday cards or hosting a client-appreciation event to make each of your clients feel valued.
Build trust like your career depends on it (because it does).
Last but not least, we must acknowledge the element of trust when it comes to the client relationship equation.Trust is huge! Think about your relationships with other professionals in your life, such as doctors, financial advisors, and more. It’s difficult to work closely with someone that you don’t trust and, if they break your trust, it’s most likely gone forever, right? Your clients feel the same way in their relationship with you.
In order to prevent your firm from losing client trust, aim for clear, transparent communications and always be accountable to your actions. Above all, always follow through with your promises and deadlines, even if it means being realistic about your own capabilities and managing client expectations along the way.
Do you have any other tips for creating long-lasting client relationships, or any success stories? Share them in the comments below!