Start the new year off right with easy to implement customer service wins that keep your clients feeling like you care. Especially in competitive practice areas like personal injury or small business law, they have many lawyers to choose from. Make them feel like you will be dedicated to them and not searching for their file in a stack on your desk or in the middle of a discussion with a staff member about the last client who just left.
It’s happened to all of us one time or another: you walk into a small business and you feel uncomfortable. Not because of the business owner, but just the overall presentation of the office, or process by which you are brought to your appointment.
Example: When I managed a textile design studio, we used a local printing company often. Often as in 2-3 visits per week, to the tune of a few hundred dollars per visit. Their rates were competitive and work was done well, but the office experience could be described as painful at best. Office papers stacked everywhere, staff unfamiliar with our account, nowhere to sit (without being cleared) and nothing to do, drink or read while you waited sometimes for hours for your order to be ready.
- “Client Ready” your office: Stock the fridge with soda, bottled water, and even snack size bags of cookies or chips. You would be amazed at what $20.00 at Costco can do to help you make your clients feel at home. Meetings are long, and no offense, but anyone with 2 pennies to rub together can offer you water or coffee. Having a selection shows that you think about making your clients comfortable. On that note, also make sure you have a place to meet with them. Whether it’s in your office or a conference room, don’t wait until the last minute to clear off or move chairs around like it’s the first time you’ve met with a client in ages.
- Extra credit: Print up a menu of the items available. It takes about 2 minutes to type this list up and print it out, and looks like you are very prepared to serve them refreshments, and speak about their legal needs.
- Get Organized! Even if you have to come in on a Saturday and bribe your staff with pizza to help you, it’s well worth it. An organized office provides a better working environment for your employees and self, not to mention a very positive impression of efficiency and cleanliness to your clients. Get rid of stacks of paper or files and useless clutter. Embrace electronic storage; it is your friend and the world will be a greener place with less paper laying around.
- Bonus: It is a proven fact that people are more productive in an organized space. So make sure you and your clients are getting the most out of all those hours of work!
- Greetings Matter! Reset yourself and respect their time! When a client or potential client enters your office, the staff member greeting them should be calm, collected, and pleasant. Preferably smiling and prepared for their appointment ahead of time. Even if you have an emergency or stressful situation, the client should not feel, hear or see the signs of that happening. It is important for staff members to reset themselves, and take a deep breath before each interaction with potential and current clients, both over the phone and in person. It is important that the client feels their time is respected, and not overruled by another client’s pressing issues or internal business matters.
Maintaining a high level of client service can be especially challenging during crunch times. Join our next Power Chat on January 27 or 28, when Mari Jo Clark will share strategies for Serving Clients and Saving Your Sanity During Crunch Time.