Client satisfaction and profitability go hand-in-hand… especially within a law firm, where referrals, repeat business, and reputation are vital for business growth. Unfortunately, many legal practices struggle with providing excellent customer service to their clients. But ignoring customer satisfaction can negatively affect a firm’s overall profitability.
Dissatisfied clients may refuse to pay your firm invoices, and they may also tarnish your firm’s reputation within the community. By comparison, happy clients not only become return clients, but they also give positive referrals to others and tend to pay their legal fees in a timely manner.
This post offers law firm leaders 7 strategies for improving client satisfaction and increasing profitability.
Tip #1 Client Service Starts with the First Contact
First impressions set the tone for a positive or negative client experience. From the first website visit to the initial telephone call, law firms need systems in place that leave positive and lasting impressions. For example, how much time passes before your firm responds to website inquiries? If potential clients are waiting days to hear back from your firm, they are likely to look elsewhere for legal services.
You should also ensure that your staff members understand the importance of providing excellent customer service skills. A pleasant voice, patience, problem-solving skills, and organization are all desirable traits in your law firm staff members. It only takes one bad impression to create client dissatisfaction.
Tip #2 Stellar Legal Services
Client satisfaction is largely fueled by the level of service provided by your law firm, so skilled and knowledgeable services should always be at the forefront of your practice. Take steps to ensure that all firm lawyers stay updated on their practice areas, including recent trends and relevant court decisions.
Firm leaders also need to make careful hiring decisions. Try to make your firm attractive to talented and experienced legal professionals. That doesn’t always mean paying the highest salary. Benefits packages, a flexible work environment, or growth opportunities can all be used to attract high-level candidates.
Tip #3 Consistent Updates
Clients want to feel knowledgeable and in the loop about their legal matters. Attorneys can meet this need by consistently communicating with clients and providing them with timely updates. Consider implementing such strategies as:
- Regular (bi-weekly) email updates
- Detailed billing invoices
- Client portal updates
When weeks and months pass without any communication from your firm, clients start to question whether work is being completed on their matters. These doubts and questions can breed dissatisfaction.
Tip #4 Timely Responses
In addition to regular communications, attorneys should also provide clients with timely responses to their inquiries and concerns. Unreturned telephone calls are among the most common law firm complaints. Clients do not want to wait days or even weeks for their attorneys to call them back. This type of firm culture takes away from client satisfaction and can have a negative effect on profitability. Implement a firmwide policy aimed at returning client communications within a reasonable amount of time.
Tip #5 Listen to Your Clients
Unfortunately, attorneys sometimes become so wrapped up in talking and advising that they forget to really listen to their clients. People commonly seek legal advice for assistance with some of the biggest challenges in their lives. Whether facing a financial challenge or defending themselves against a criminal allegation, clients want to feel heard and understood by their attorneys.
Attorneys also benefit from listening by gaining valuable insight into a client’s concerns and expectations. Through active listening, attorneys can better address those concerns and effectively quell unreasonable expectations with a more realistic analysis of the case.
Tip #6 Request Feedback
Simply asking about client satisfaction can go a long way towards determining whether clients are happy with the service provided by your firm. With client feedback, law firms can gauge the quality of customer service being provided. It’s a free, but an incredibly valuable, resource that can help lawyers strengthen their practices and improve services provided to future clients.
Law firms should request client feedback during and after representation. By seeking input throughout matters, attorneys can quickly identify client dissatisfactions and address problems before they become serious. Once representation ends, law firms can provide clients with a convenient method of providing feedback, like an online survey.
Tip #7 Embrace Technology
Technology has boomed within the legal industry, providing a variety of practice and administrative benefits. These innovations can also help law firms improve their customer service. For example, Contact Relationship Management (CRM) software helps law firms before, during, and after representation. It streamlines the intake processes, helps foster efficient client communications, and automates follow–up contact after matters end.
Other tech options for improving legal client services include online payment options and client portals that provide clients with a convenient way to check the progress of their cases independently. TimeSolv legal billing software offers numerous features that help law firms provide excellent customer service and craft positive client experiences.
Increased Client Satisfaction Increases Profitability
Client dissatisfaction can lead to bar complaints, bad reviews, a loss of repeat clients, and decreased profitability. Use these tips to make necessary changes within your firm and ensure that all of your clients feel satisfied with your firm’s performance. To learn more about TimeSolv, click this website link for a free trial offer.