Good client relationship is a critical component to the success of every law office. Having good client relations will not only inspire loyalty and devotion in your clients, but it can directly impact your bottom line. Although many attorneys understand the importance of good client relations, most law offices are too busy to spend time on building their relationships with clients. We have decided to solve this issue by showing you the rules of building lasting relationships. You will be surprised as to how simple, yet effective, these rules really are.
JurisCase has put together a 7-part mini-series on how to improve your client relations to help attorneys in excelling in their profession and succeeding among other law offices.
Without further ado, here are the first 10 rules on establishing good client relations in 2021.
BUSINESS CARDS ARE A MUST FOR EVERY ATTORNEY
Always carry high-quality, professional business cards.
Regardless of what some may think about business cards, they exist because there is a real purpose for them. Some may think that business cards are a waste of money because the receiver usually throws it away, while others think that it is a very outdated way of exchanging contact information.
Despite what people might think, just be safe and have high-quality business cards with you at all times. Something about handing a high-quality business card just makes a good impression on you.
SHOWING HOSPITALITY CAN GO A LONG WAY
Always offer visitors and clients refreshments, coffee, or tea while they wait in the reception area.
Good hospitality for every visitor will not only improve your reputation with those you come in contact with, but you will ensure that you and your staff will always be welcoming toward potential clients.
Kind treatment of people doesn’t take much effort, yet this small gesture can show clients that you value them and it can potentially earn you a client’s loyalty. When you value your clients, you building the foundation of a strong attorney/client relationship.
READING MATERIAL ON PRACTICE AREAS THAT YOU SPECIALIZE IN
Make sure your lobby/reception area contains reading material relevant to the kind of practice you want people to think you have.
Having good client relations has a lot to do with your credibility in your field. By having relevant reading material, such as magazines, booklets and etcetera, you are portraying yourself as an expert who stays up-to-date with current industry news.
For example, if you practice real estate law, make sure you have real estate magazines or books in your reception area. If your office handles different practice areas, this is a great opportunity for you to display your staff’s expertise to your visitors.
HOW TO ANSWER “WHAT KIND OF LAW DO YOU PRACTICE?”
Make sure that you are careful when you answer the question, “What kind of law do you practice?” The wrong answer might limit you.
This is a tricky one because you don’t want to sound as if you’re not sure which practice area you specialize in. Oftentimes, you’ll be asked this question when you are networking, either at a party or a networking event. Since this question is mostly asked in person, the best advice is to prepare an answer that implies your expertise in other fields, as well as your primary practice area.
Don’t respond with one-word answers, such as “intellectual property law” or “bankruptcy law”. If you work at a law firm, then talk about the wide range of services of the law firm, then follow up by explaining which aspect you personally handle on a day-to-day.
GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE FOR REFERRALS
Always send thank-you cards or gift baskets to those who refer you a client.
Showing gratitude is another way you can let someone that you value them. A thank-you letter is a very thoughtful way to express your gratitude, because it shows that you went out of your way to say “thank you” when you could have simply said it over the phone. I know some attorneys who even send small gift baskets to those referring clients. This is a very small price to pay to let someone know that their effort is appreciated, and it just might motivate them to refer you to other clients. People tend to be inspired to repeat the things they are praised for.
WHEN ACCEPTING HELP FROM A WITNESS
Always send thank-you cards to the witnesses who testify to support your case (Assuming that the local rules allow you).
Again, when someone helps you in any way, make it your personal mission to let them know that their help was appreciated and not taken for granted. Perhaps, you can write a personal note expressing how big of a help they really are. This sort of action truly inspires devotion and loyalty in those in your network.
RETURN PHONE CALLS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Be sure to return all calls yourself or have your return them for you, preferably within 2 hours.
When people are in need of an attorney, assuming they don’t already have one, they usually call local law offices by going down an online directory. In most cases, the first available law office usually wins the client’s business. This means that your first concern should
If you are unavailable, just make it a priority to call back as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher the chances of losing a potential client.
KEEPING TRACK OF CORRESPONDENCE
Always keep track of mails and emails, and send your clients copies of all “correspondence in” and “correspondence out.”
This simply shows that you and your staff keep track of everything that occurs in the office and with your clients. It gives the client the peace of mind that nothing will go unnoticed, and that their needs will be met.
DRESS TO IMPRESS… AND TO IMPLY YOUR PROFESSIONALISM
People expect attorneys to be well-dressed professionals. Don’t drop the ball.
Most attorneys understand what professional business attire is. Just in case you don’t, watch an episode of the television series “Suits”.
GETTING CASH UPFRONT FROM NEW CLIENTS IS IMPORTANT
Always try to get as much cash upfront from new clients.
When a client pays cash upfront, the client and the attorney both know that the other party is committed to the task. Don’t presume that a person is your client if they haven’t paid you yet. You will end up doing work that you cannot bill to the client.
This segment was Part 1 of the short series Great Client Relations Tips for Law Firms – The How-to’s of Client Management. Subscribe to JurisCase Newsletter to be notified as soon as the remaining segments are published.