A Law Practice Is Part of the Customer Service Industry

Handshake over a desk
By Joseph Fawbush, Esq. on September 18, 2019 3:12 PM

Lawyers work hard to build their reputations. Knowledge, effective advocacy and hard work can earn the respect of colleagues. To have a good reputation with clients, however, you need outstanding customer service.

Good customer service is also the best way to generate new clients. Clients refer their friends and family to lawyers with whom they have had a complete positive experience. Obtaining a good outcome may still generate only a lukewarm referral or online review if the customer service was lacking.

The good news is the main driver of good customer service is effort. If you focus on providing a welcoming, client-focused experience, you’ll provide it. Still, it always helps to get a few reminders on what good customer service is now and then.

How to Provide Good Customer Service

The most common complaint against lawyers is for failing to communicate. Clients often mistake silence for negligence, even when nothing is happening in their case. But regular communication is only the start of good customer service.

  1. It Starts With Intake. Many lawyers do not respond to initial requests until a few days after the prospective client contacts them. This is the easiest way to improve your customer service. Clients should be made to feel welcome from the start, whether they ultimately have a case worth pursuing or not. This will also get you more clients.
  2. Make Your Entire Office Welcoming. Define what good customer service is for the entire firm. Both lawyers and staff should understand what is expected. Regular meetings or training will help keep the firm client-focused. This may include team-building exercises or material on how to maintain a positive attitude.
  3. Communicate Often. Updates and reassurances will go a long way to de-stressing your client. Give the client an idea of when you will contact them next.
  4. Follow Through. Trust is easy to lose and hard to regain. Make sure clients know generally what’s going to happen in their case and what you will be doing for them. Then do it.
  5. Be Pleasant and Empathetic. Everyone wants to feel respected. Take the time to understand what a client is experiencing and address it. If a client knows you “get it,” they will feel like you have their interests at heart.

How to Frame Your Response to a Complaint or Negative Experience

Of course, even if you do everything right, you might still get the occasional complaint. The client may be unhappy with the direction their case is going. They may just be difficult. Regardless, it is important to respond to complaints, not to brush them under the rug; it is part of providing good customer service.

If a client is unhappy, acknowledge the client’s points and feelings, and then reiterate what you are doing for them to address it. Don’t litigate the issue or get defensive.

Fortunately, if you provide good customer service from the start, you’ll get fewer complaints and negative online reviews, even if the case doesn’t turn out how the client wanted.

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