You’ve heard and read many times about the importance of communication and managing client expectations to ensure a successful and profitable engagement. The legal business is essentially relationship based and no relationship survives, let alone thrives, without good communication. The clients may care more about the communication/relationship than your ability or the quality of your work product. So if at that initial client meeting, you can put yourself in their shoes and see the experience through your client’s eyes and anticipate their needs and questions, you are one step ahead of your competitors.
A well designed new client packet can create a client experience that will be memorable, differentiate you from other attorneys in town and build the foundation for a successful and profitable engagement. A New Client Welcome Package assures your new client is properly welcomed into your practice. In this article, I want to layout items that should be part of a new client welcome packet.
First impressions matter. So invest in getting nice quality folders designed. On the cover, include your logo, address, website, and phone number. List practice areas on the back of the folder. A welcome package in a folder also provides a place for clients to keep important documents or information throughout the engagement.
Include the following items in your welcome packet: Continue reading
In a previous post, I talked about marketing as two different processes: Retaining Clients and Attracting New Clients. For this article, I am going to keep the focus on retention. Why? Because a satisfied and loyal client is likely to give you more of their business and bring new clients through referrals to friends, neighbors and colleagues. Which leads us back to the thought that more future value may be gained by retaining an existing client than by attracting a new client.
Any savvy attorney recognizes the need to develop creative ways to be memorable leading to repeat business and referrals. A successful, profitable engagement incorporates great client service throughout representation. At the end of your engagement, how can you create WOW moments that will leave your client spreading great news about you and your firm? Here are a few more tips on how you can turn your clients into raving fans.
The final invoice. How the heck can you make this usually painful experience a memorable one? If you have been successfully communicating with your client and building a relationship, you may now know if they are involved in any non-profits or have a passion supporting a local organization. Here’s a WOW tip: take the professional discount you were going to apply to the final invoice and convert it into a donation to their organization. Make sure this gesture does not go unnoticed by including a cover letter thanking the client and explaining your donation. You can also split the discount – half as a discount and half as the donation. I think you’ll agree that this is pretty memorable and something to talk about.
The second WOW idea is centered on delivering those final documents to your client now that the engagement is over. There are always final documents that need to be picked up or original documents that you collected during the engagement that need to be returned. Use this opportunity to touch base one more time and make it a WOW moment. Instead of having the client pick up the documents, have your law firm administrator deliver the documents to the client’s office or home or better yet, deliver them yourself. Now this alone is nice, but let’s makes one simple change to make it a memorable experience. Include a platter of cookies, maybe even logo cookies. With the cookies, include a branded postcard that thanks the client for using your services and lists additional legal services provided by your firm. Leave a stack of your newly branded business cards (with your QR code) for employees of the company to pick up.
I’d be curious to know if any one tries one of these ideas and the reaction you get from your client.
Peggy Gruenke, Chief Operating Officer and Business Development, email@example.com More articles available on my blog LawBizCOO.
In a recent conversation with one of the attorneys about a very needy client, I was reminded of the children’s book called “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff. It’s the one where the mouse asks for a cookie, then milk, then a dozen other things which keeps the boy busy all day long taking care of the needs of the mouse. In the book, through a series of cause and effect, the boy listens to the needy mouse and acts upon the requests. In the end, the mouse ends up asking for another cookie and the cycle begins again.
As an attorney you have the opportunity to make a client’s engagement memorable, where he may come back for more work, or feeling frustrated and dissatisfied. You invest a lot of time and energy interacting with your clients. Any client is your bank for future work – as a referral source or for cross selling. Clients care as much about communication as they do about ability or the quality of the work product. So demonstrating good active listening skills, and being consistently responsive to clients is essential for client retention. You want to give them a reason to ask for another cookie.
Here’s an idea you can easily implement: Get a batch of logo cookies made at a local bakery. Keep them in the freezer, and at your new client meetings, include a wrapped cookie with you new client packet. Let them know you’ll be there to take care of their needs and at the end, you hope they come back for their future legal needs. I am sure you will make a memorable impression on them – enough so that they will tell a few friends.
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Peggy Gruenke, Chief Operating Officer and Business Development, firstname.lastname@example.org
More articles available on my blog LawBizCOO.
By: Peggy E. Gruenke, COO Godbey & Associates
Not only is an informed client a happier client – they also tend to pay on time, are less frustrated and have a better chance of becoming a good referral source. All pointing to good things for growing your practice.
Your initial interview is the first step in managing your risk and is an opportunity to screen cases and clients unsuitable to you, thereby leaving you with the time and resources to provide excellent client service to those clients you choose to represent. Initial client meetings are to define the working relationship and set client expectations.
- Set context for relationship. Remember you want to be in control; don’t let them start off trying to mange you.
- Clarify financial obligations and consequences.
- For some, it may be first encounter with an attorney and they have no idea what to expect-explain the process.
- Clearly and accurately communicate:
- Course of action
- Possible outcomes
- Implications of decisions
- How long things may take
- Expected fees and expenses
- What types of documents they may receive