The Importance of Happy Clients to Your Law Firm
It is only natural for you want to do everything reasonably possible to keep your clients happy. You know you have happy clients when they are pleased with the investment that they made in you and your services, and when you have helped them achieve whatever it was that they needed when they sought out an attorney. Happy clients also mean a lot less of a headache for you. Here’s why:
Unhappy clients will take up more of your time. Spending more time than you anticipated or than is usual on a case is not necessarily a problem. Issues arise that need to be addressed. Sometimes the matter is more complex than you initially believed. Of course, you need to devote as much time as required to competently and thoroughly assist your clients. But unhappy clients take up time in a way that is counterproductive to both their cases and the remainder of your workload. When clients are not happy, they call and email more frequently because they assume that the squeaky wheel will get the grease. They have lost confidence that you are working towards achieving their goal in hiring you. They want to make sure that you know that they are not pleased and that they expect you to do something about it. These types of interactions may be unpleasant for you and/or your staff, and could create stress in your office. Keep your clients happy by regularly communicating with them about the progress in their case. If nothing is going on in their case, let them know that you haven’t forgotten about them, but that you are waiting for a response from opposing counsel, for the court to make a decision, or about whatever the particular circumstances are that are delaying closure in their case.
Unhappy clients leave negative reviews online. Whether it’s a new movie or a restaurant down the street, think about how much you rely on online reviews to make decisions about where and how you spend your money. The same goes for attorneys. Hiring an attorney could mean that a potential client is planning to make a big financial investment in those services. Potential clients want to make sure that they are getting the biggest bang for their buck, which means that they want to hire the very best attorney that they can afford. Now think of all the platforms available for review – Facebook, Google, Yelp, Avvo – the list goes on. When an unhappy client posts a negative review about you or your firm, it reduces the likelihood that potential clients who are searching online for an attorney will call you.
Unlike their counterparts, happy clients generally do not create issues that could be detrimental to your business, which means that there’s the possibility of repeat business or referrals and positive reviews online. Thus, happy clients can help grow your business and bolster your reputation. So, if you find yourself with an unhappy client, how can you turn them in to a happy one to avoid the aforementioned issues and reap the happy client benefits?
First, if a client suddenly becomes angry, address it head on instead of letting the issue fester. Respectfully listen to the client’s concerns, express your understanding of their feelings, and take appropriate action. Your ability to turn around a negative situation may leave you with a happy client in the end.
Second, remember that there’s no going back once a negative review is on the Internet. The easiest way to avoid the likelihood that negative reviews end up online is to make sure you give your clients no reason to post a negative review online. You may want to revisit how you manage your clients’ expectations to ensure that you’re not setting yourself up to fail. You also need to ensure that you and your staff are following your office communication policies and otherwise simply doing what you said you would do for your client.
While traditional wisdom extolls that you can’t please everyone all of the time, it certainly can only help your practice if you try to do so when working for your clients.
Jared Pierce hung his own shingle right out of law school and has spent every minute since then discovering the joys and difficulties of chasing success.