In today’s business world clients are more informed. They have easy access to free information on virtually any topic or issue of interest. That is good but that could also be bad for you.
With greater access to information and exposure, clients demand a higher level of expertise from law firms they choose to do business with. Therefore, it is no longer business as usual with law firms.
How you handle prospects and clients determines if they will engage your services or continue with you. Because customers and clients are better informed and can readily search for other firms to handle their matters, they expect an almost perfect client service. This could be a great game changer for you if you do it well.
For you to compete and maintain a uniform standard of quality, it will be helpful to have and use a checklist. A client service checklist comprises vital skills and strategies that help you determine what has been or what should be done to improve your standards and procedures.
Your checklist should not be cast in stone. You can modify it according to standards and review the service checklists periodically.
Although firms will have different client service checklists, there are some things that cannot be ignored by any firm trying to excel. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to providing great service.
We have narrowed it down to a 7-point clients service checklist you can use for your firm:
When dealing with clients it is important to keep in mind, you cannot solve every single complaint, but you can be open and honest about what you’re doing to help and when they can expect a response or resolution.
Every interaction with the customer reflects the thoughts, emotions, and view of your firm at large. Client service reps must live and breathe the firm’s voice. This is very important.
It should flow so naturally that team members can add their own personality to it without ever straying from the core.
Your client service staff and indeed everyone in your firm must turn up their listening skills to understand the “problem” behind “the problem.” This should be done through all media used to communicate with your clients, whether by email, social media or phone calls.
Go deeper into the “why” to fully understand and resolve the client’s issue completely, otherwise, you’ll be stuck going back and forth—frustrating the client and wasting your own time.
Give your clients more than just the answer at hand. Answer the next two or three questions they may have to really go the extra mile. Get ahead of future problems or confusion by providing more information in a clear and helpful way.
Without sacrificing clarity and empathy, make an effort to respond to clients in a quick and efficient manner. Responding quickly, depending on the situation may just mean letting them know you’ve seen their message, but need more time or information to provide a resolution. Let them know they are seen, heard, and respected first and foremost.
Answering their actual question really is secondary in such situations.
Go beyond the superficial understanding to really create happy clients. This really is sort of the golden rule of customer service.
When sending any client communications, think about what they need to know and prioritize it accordingly. Try not to get bogged down with excuses or legal/technical details, just tell clients how it affects them and what actions they need to take.
Your client service department must be properly trained and knowledgeable about what your firm is all about. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to service knowledge. Whoever you hire to answer the phones or any other form of communication with clients MUST know your firm’s services and specialty inside and out.
Why? Not just for problem-solving, but because…
Clients don’t always use the proper name or know how to explain an issue. Support reps must be able to draw conclusions and understand a prospect’s or client’s inquiry. They must be able to know what the client needs and able to match it with what you can do for them by pulling from their knowledge of your firm’s services and specialty.
There are more that could be on your checklist. We will look at some more next time, but for now chew, digest and begin to make use of these, and I can guarantee you will come back to say “thank you”.