For lawyers, clients who stay with you over the years and refer you are invaluable. These types of loyal clients are very different from simply having a large client list – those are clients you don’t have to worry about being enticed by lower prices or a more charismatic attorney. Providing exceptional legal services is a requirement for anyone who wants a strong client base, but it’s the little details that take your clients from a name to a committed customer.
It’s far cheaper to retain new clients than to source new ones, and the referrals generated by a truly satisfied client can keep your business going for years to come. Before you head out the door to a networking event or put together a pitch to speak on an upcoming panel, consider what you can do to keep the clients you have and make them even happier with the service you’re providing on all levels.
Create an emotional connection
Know your clients beyond their case. Find out the details of their personal lives and their businesses. If you need to, get a program to keep track of your clients and make notes after each call or when you get helpful information. For example, if your client mentions their son recently started attending college, ask how they’re doing at the new school next time you talk to them.
These seemingly small details create a stronger bond between you and your client. Once you have this information, not only do they feel connected to you beyond just being their attorney, it also positions you to be more helpful. Knowing their personal interests or business challenges makes it easy to send them helpful articles, referrals or information as you come across that they may find useful.
Don’t wait for your client to come to you. If you haven’t heard from them in a while, reach out to them. This doesn’t just go for current cases – this also applies to past clients. Sometimes all it takes is one phone call at the right time to bring in a new case.
Being proactive also applies to staying in communication. Even if you don’t hear from your client requesting an update on their case, it’s likely they’re still thinking about it. If they feel like they always have to press you to find out what’s happening, they may start to feel like you’re not invested in their case. By sending out regular updates, even when there’s not much information to share, your client will know their matter is important to you and you’re working on it.
We’ve all worked with someone who consistently failed to follow through on promises, whether it was deadlines or meetings. That doesn’t inspire positive feelings, and you want to stick to the “underpromise and overdeliver” adage. Give yourself some extra time to complete tasks and when you deliver them early, your client will be thrilled at what they feel is exceptional attention to their case.
If you say you’ll call them with an update that day, put it on your priority list. Even if you weren’t able to get the information you needed from the opposing counsel or the court, take the time to let them know.
Implement a plan
Even with the best intentions, weeks can go by without implementing any of the above tips. Choose one and start to put it into practice today, even if it’s just reaching out to a couple clients you haven’t heard from recently. Loyal, committed clients are one of your firm’s best assets, so even in the busiest of law firms, it’s critical to take the time to invest in your relationship with them.