Lawyers As Caregivers: Ensuring Client Satisfaction
Lawyers are hired to perform services for clients. Whether these services involve drafting a will, negotiating a contract, or providing representation in a criminal defense or personal injury matter, attorneys must do more than perform the task at hand, they must satisfy clients. Most clients perceive hiring an attorney as an act that has serious ramifications, thus requiring attorneys to possess skills that nurture clients over the course of, and often after, an attorney’s representation.
Most people do not look forward to an office visit with an attorney. It is perceived as an experience that requires considerable valuable resources such as time and money while generating stress, anxiety, and uneasiness. It also signifies that there is a legal issue, typically perceived as a substantial problem that they must expediently address.
Attorneys must demonstrate genuine respect, interest, and concern to ensure that clients have a positive experience. Satisfied clients make referrals and generate return business. It is not only important for attorneys to make a commitment, but their staff must do so as well. Attorneys must convey a passion for satisfying clients to every employee.
For a law practice, there are many benefits to satisfying customers.
- Customers have a positive, enjoyable experience.
- Clients who are loyal return and provide future business as well as referrals.
- A good work environment is created for employees.
- The law firm’s reputation is enhanced.
The process typically starts when a prospective client calls a law firm. How are attorneys performing in generating a positive first impression? An ABA study found the following:
- Fewer than 10% of consumers who called law firms were able to speak to a lawyer.
- More than 40% of consumers who leave a voicemail or fill out a web form wait two or three days before they receive a return message.
- 11% of consumers who call hang up within 10 seconds of calling a law firm because of frustration at not being connected with the person they ask for by name.
- Companies in the United States lose $62 billion in revenue every year because of terrible customer service.
Law firms must invest in operating models that improve client communication and interaction, allowing personal contact and remote assistance as needed. The working relationship between clients and attorneys, paralegals, and other staff members must be transparent. Both must clearly understand the work and tasks required going forward, the timeline to complete this work and tasks, and what may be expected throughout the process of attaining client goals.
Legal services are not inexpensive for most consumers and may require hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Most law firms with the requisite expertise that lack quality customer service will fail to consistently attract clients as their reputation builds. Therefore, legal fees are only justified and valued when a law firm provides services that satisfy clients.
Attorneys must be prepared to satisfy clients regardless of the nature of the services provided. The CDTA provides the training that attorney-advocates require to meet the needs of clients in the 21st Century. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.