I talk a lot about branding… today let’s explore POSITIONING! How do you want to position you and your firm in your marketplace? On Tuesday I asked… Who are you? Today I ask… What is your firm known for? The answer to that question will boil down to your POSITIONING! My friend Cordell Parvin published a great post… 12 Tips to Make Your Law Firm One of the Few Your Clients Will Recommend. Your client service is the heartbeat of your firms positioning. Cordell first points out that…
"Seems like a “no-brainer.” But,
- When was the last time you talked about client service at a firm meeting?
- When was the last time you talked to your professional staff about client service?
- When was the last time your firm did any training on client service?
- When was the last time you talked to your clients about client service?
I bet most answers were… "Not in a long time and certainly not consistently." So, what can you do about it? Cordell has 12 great ideas…
- "Be more Responsive. Promptly respond to phone calls, email, and correspondence. Keep your client informed.
- Be a team player. Figure out ways to help the in-house counsel or other client representative succeed.
- LISTEN to not only what is said, but how it is said and what is not said.
- Make personal visits. You will learn more things that will give you the business context of the legal matter. You might even bring home a new file.
- Bill with clarity, accuracy and based on value. Clients resent paying for inefficiency.
- Keep your team together. Clients do not like “breaking in” lawyers who do not know their business.
- Get feedback from clients on how you can improve your service and respond proactively, including preparing a client service policy.
- Make sure you understand the technology that is available to better serve your clients.
- Understand the clients’ industry, company and the needs of the individual client representatives.
- Seek to uncover potential client problems, opportunities and changes and develop solutions to handle them.
- Provide client service training your lawyers and staff and make client service an agenda item at every firm meeting.
- Read books on customer service from other industries. You might start with Joseph Michelli’s book about Ritz Carlton service titled: The New Gold Standard."
All 12 of these ideas are client focused. That means you need to FIND a way to make it work for THEM. I can just hear it now… "But at our firm we can’t… Our firm has people who won’t…" Yes… you can find a million reasons why you can’t.
Find reasons why you CAN! Could it be that it makes GOOD SOUND business sense? You will develop DEEPER relationships with people at MANY levels of your client’s organization. They will probably pay YOUR invoices FASTER. You will get MORE work from the client. Are those good enough reasons to ignore the naysayers? I should hope so! Make 3-4 of these so important in your firm that they become part of your firm’s culture… your positioning in your marketplace.