Over on the LawMarketing listserv there was a discussion on “what clients hate about lawyers.” There was input from several marketing/management consultants who I know and respect, including David Maister, and John Remsen, as well as others I haven’t met but respect their views, including Nancy Myrland, Mark Merenda, Rod Sloane, and Patrick Valle.
Their collective views on the subject boil down to the following significant complaints:
*Unresponsiveness (and not listening, which is difficult if your not responding to phone calls or deadlines. One client reportedly said they’d “rather hire a good, responsive lawyer than a great, non-responsive one.”);
*Poor cost management (treat their money as if it were yours, but don’t take that literally by padding your bills), and over working a matter;
*Surprises (as in high invoices, or failure to keep them inform about their matter, or delaying bad news, or changing lawyers without telling them, etc.); and
*Not knowing their business (which can lead to poor advice and legal product).
That is not a complete list, but you get an idea of things you should be really concerned about, even if just one applies to your firm.
First, recommendation is to stop what you are doing, pick up the phone and return any unreturned client calls immediately. While you are at it, seek feedback on any possible complaints they may have. This suggestion ranks third in my top ten marketing tips as mentioned in an earlier post. Remember, it is better to learn about any “issues” now before the client sends the next matter to a competitor.