If there is one thing I have preached over the years is to NEVER surprise your clients. In conducting client interviews over the years, I have consistently heard from law firm clients that they HATE surprises. So, what’s up with the title to this post? Have I gone mad? I’ll leave that to others.

By way of explanation, I ran across an interview by Dan Schawbel at Personal Branding Blog with Andy Nulman, author of a book about profiting from the power of surprise when it comes to developing your brand. What I gather that Nulman is talking about is standing out from the crowd, being distinctive…yes even shocking to your target audience.

It got me thinking about what kinds of surprises by law firms would actually “shock”clients in a good way. What immediately came to mind includes:

  • Not just meeting deadlines, producing your work product early;
  • Returning calls promptly, like almost immediately;
  • Discounting a bill without being asked;
  • Raising billing rates only after discussing it with the client;
  • Understanding – really understanding – their business;
  • Letting clients determine the value of a project; and
  • Seeking feedback, and then acting on what you hear.

Maybe surprises are not always a bad thing. And undoubtedly some firms actually get it and have surprised their clients in some of these ways.

So, yes, surprise your clients… but pleasantly in ways that matter.