Posted by Robert Half Legal on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 11:00 | Follow me
Today’s clients are expecting more out of their partnerships with organizations that provide legal counsel and services. According to Robert Half Legal’s Future Law Office research, client demands are now “primary drivers of change within the legal profession.” The report reveals that clients are seeking more value for their money, including alternative fee arrangements and better counsel and communication on new legislation and rules that may affect their firms are working to strengthen client relationships and enhance the value of the services they provide. Here are five strategies that can help boost client satisfaction:
Listen. The nature of your counselor role obviously requires you to offer advice. But far too often, lawyers and other legal professionals focus on talking and less on listening to their clients. Sometimes, clients may need to share important new details, ask questions or simply voice their opinions about a particular legal matter. Being receptive to their questions and concerns enhances their sense of trust and loyalty with you.
Manage their expectations. This is perhaps one of the most important pieces of career advice for legal professionals who work directly with clients. While lawyers are often good at managing expectations when it comes to the likelihood of winning a case, many in the legal profession fail to manage other important client expectations. For example, if you are going to be unavailable for a few days due to a heavy workload, a trial or vacation, let your clients know ahead of time. If they call and can’t reach you for a full week without an explanation, you will likely have a frustrated client on your hands when you return. Similarly, if you foresee that you’re going to need more time to meet a deadline, don’t leave your client hanging. Give them a call, explain the situation and tell them you’re going to need a few more days.
Ask for feedback. In the legal profession, it’s important to actively solicit feedback from clients who aren’t speaking up. Whether you encourage constructive criticism from these clients on an informal basis or conduct official client satisfaction surveys, feedback is absolutely essential when it comes to strengthening client relationships. Furthermore, this feedback provides an additional point of reference that could help you improve your services. For instance, you may discover your fees for certain services are too high, your staff is shorthanded or that unnecessary steps could be removed from a particular legal process.
Keep them posted. Reach out to your clients frequently to ensure they know what’s going on with their case or project. When you regularly provide status on the work you’re handling for them, not only will they feel like you’re taking care of them, but they will less likely be blindsided by the bill.
Put it in layman’s terms. Don’t overwhelm clients with legal jargon they may not understand. Rather, try to explain things in the simplest terms possible. When you’re finished with an explanation, ask your client if he or she has questions about what you’ve told them.
By following this career advice, you can enhance clients’ satisfaction with your firm or legal department as well as strengthen your partnership with them.
What suggestions can you offer to help improve trust and satisfaction with legal clients? Share your comments below.