A well-executed client experience can make a sizeable difference in your firm’s revenue and reputation. Creating more satisfied clients leads to greater retention rates and more word-of-mouth acquisitions, which can bring in more revenue for your firm. People like to spread the word when they have a good experience with a company or product, so ensuring your clients are satisfied with your legal service should be a top-tier goal.
In a Thomson Reuters survey of Canadian small law firms, 88% of respondents said they use client satisfaction ratings to define their own success. Clearly, law firms understand the importance of creating a positive customer experience, but the challenge comes from finding concrete ways to make that happen. Besides just meeting their needs in a timely manner, there are three key steps lawyers can take to improve their firms’ client experience.
Forgo legal jargon when speaking with clients
While it may be second nature for you to speak using industry-specific terms, this type of communication has been proven to be a deterrent when clients are working with a lawyer. In a 2018 Thomson Reuters Consumer Client Experience Survey, more than 90% of respondents said they valued a lawyer’s ability to discuss their case in a comprehensible way.
This is important to clients not only because they want to understand the services you’re offering, but because of the emotional component to their case. For many, needing a lawyer is a difficult experience. They may be especially stressed out and unsure of their situation, the next steps, or the potential impact on their lives. Forgoing the use of legal jargon helps ease these concerns among prospects, and helps you stay in the good graces of your existing clients.
Communicate often and be transparent
As important as it is to speak clearly to clients, it’s just as important to communicate regularly and to be as realistic about their case as possible. This will help instill trust in the relationship.
Legal consumers want approachability and reassurance. Aim for that tone, especially in your initial communications. Clearly explain the challenges they face, such as how long it may take to resolve their matter, the expenses they may incur along the way, and the possible outcomes as you see them. A client who understands the legal process and potential outcomes is more likely to be satisfied with your service, even if the case doesn’t go their way.
Additionally, ensure you are engaging as frequently as you need with your clients. This will also make them feel valued. If a client emails or phones you, respond as quickly as you can. Acknowledge their concerns and reassure the client that you will be as diligent and responsive as possible.
Show that you care
A little empathy goes a long way. Among your other tasks, take time periodically to put yourself in your clients’ shoes. Ask yourself questions such as: “What information is most important to my clients?” and “What do they truly need from me at this moment?” Keeping this perspective will help you maintain your empathy throughout the life of a case.
As expected, clients may have concerns throughout the process of sorting out their matters, such as the length of time their case is taking or not understanding your legal strategy. Be patient and sensitive to these concerns. It matters to clients that their lawyer is on their side and understands their frustrations, as well as questions they may have throughout the process.
Serving with sympathy and humanity is a soft skill, but it’s something that many clients value. This approach will help you stand out among other lawyers and firms that aren’t doing the same.
It’s important to remember that just a few small changes can make a big impact on your clients’ experience. Clients will be more likely to recommend you based on your clear communication and sensitivity to their needs. This will ultimately help secure your revenue and reputation in the long run.