Okay, every lawyer knows that, right? It’s so basic, so common sense, so elemental, so essential, so basic (alright, I’ll stop with the synonyms). Why then are clients unsatisfied even when the result is good? Because some lawyers don’t:
- Understand clients’ businesses and/or personal situation,
- Return phone calls or emails promptly,
- Keep client informed so as to avoid surprises,
- Meet deadlines
- Treat client with respect,
- Meet client expectations as to how matter will be handled,
- Respect clients’ time by keeping them waiting without explanation,
- Keep clients informed as to the process or status of their matter, and
- Keep a handle on costs and fees.
The point is obvious. There is a lot more to client satisfaction that just getting a favorable result. And remember that satisfied clients are the best source of new business – in terms of follow on work and word-of-mouth referrals. Pretty basic isn’t it.
On Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog there’s an ancient post (well, actually January 31) that I ran across, that refers to his presentation at the ABA TECHSHOW last year. I meant to post about it earlier as I’m a big fan of Jim’s, so better late than never. He talked about client development in terms of satisfied clients. He boils it down to meeting client expectations, and his article has both good advice and refers to additional resources, such as:
- Careful screening of clients (with danger signals);
- Communicating with clients in the 21st Century;
- Taming the Beast: Managing Client Expectations in a 24/7 World; and
- “Dealing with the Difficult Client” by Carole Curtis over at PracticePro (which by the way has a bunch of articles on various topics of interest to law firms.
A lot of good stuff thanks to Jim.