It should come as no surprise that clients don’t like surprises. Who does? Well, most of us wouldn’t mind being surprised with a nice Hanukkah or Christmas present about now. But, you get the point.
I have written a number of posts (three listed below) over the past eight years regarding the dangers (and benefits of a few) surprises when it comes to clients. And I’m sure you can find a gazillion more on the Internet.
But, particularly around this time of year when law firms raise rates (or try to), that is a bad idea. That’s putting it mildly, according to Susan Hackett’s Corporate Counsel “annual rant” on the topic earlier this month. I remember many years ago, when I was in-house as a marketer, the CFO informed the “C” level staff that the firm was going to raise rates for the third time that year. In DECEMBER no less, to ensure the January bills reflected the increase. Well, it was a different era, and I’m sure no firm would be crazy enough to attempt that today in the New Normal.
It isn’t just surprise rate increases that are a problem though. Any unwanted surprises relating to a client is BAD. Whether regarding missing deadlines, failure to keep them informed about their matter, bad news of any kind, and so forth. It’s a value thing, and surprises are anti-value.
So, do not surprise your clients…except for that very nice holiday gift you are certainly intending to or have already sent. BTW, I like surprises this time of year myself.
Work on the Good Surprises, and Avoid the Bad Ones in Your Client Relationships