Client Retention – The Key to Success
Can clear communication with your client base promote your business?
The answer is of course a resounding “Yes”
Competition for clients has never been so intense. Following on from the D Day scenario that from the 6th October this year non-lawyers are now allowed to offer legal services; law firms will need to be much more client focused in their approach than ever before. One way to ensure that clients are kept within a law firm is ensure that clear communication with the client is paramount in the mind of all staff who deal with clients. That could be from your reception area to general staff working within your firm, and of course the fee earner who deals with their case load.
Joe Noya, Retention Team manager at a national law illustrates some key ways to ensure that the client stays with your firm and does not stray to any of your competitors and suggests implementing the following:
Retaining clients through clear communication?
Rapport: Rapport with clients making their cases individual to them. Asking them how they are and how they are doing always gets a positive response. This tends to immediately create rapport which is a powerful tool when dealing with clients. This way the client does not feel that they are simply a number in a persons case work load and the service becomes much more personalised.
Specific: Knowing what you need in terms of information from the client and explaining to the client the process and what will happen next. Clarity about the clients’ responsibility in relation to providing instructions and why certain forms have to be completed and returned. Being knowledgeable about their case and answering queries with clarity and without hesitation, this increases the clients’ confidence in the handling of their claim.
Voice mail messages: Leaving clear contact details such as direct dial, e-mail and willingness to answer queries should they have any problems or concerns. Inviting clients to call at any time to discuss their case (office hours need to be specified of course); consider the tone of voice used as this can have a profound effect if the message left sounds disinterested. Being enthusiastic about clients’ claims will also encourage the clients to be motivated to provide any instructions that are needed. If interests in the clients cases is shown then it follows that the clients will also be interested and motivated to progress their cases.
Understanding: Checking to make sure that the client understands the information provided, this entails listening and feeding back to ensure that clients have understood all that has been said.
Reassurance: Explaining and reassuring the clients that their claims are under control that sound legal advice is provided. Providing clear, accurate and concise information; this can further seek to increase rapport which will encourage the clients to stay with a firm and will also reduce any client complaints. A client is unlikely to complain if they like the person they are dealing with!
Promoting awards and services: The Lexcel accreditation backs up your credentials as a law firm, and this is something that the non-law based firms may lack at the outset. Promoting other membership bodies will also boost confidence with clients and this will lead to retaining their business. This should also lead to repeat business which will also enhance reputation.
Advising clients of your other services will encourage clients to stay with your firm if they have some other type of legal need. This promotes the firm as being able to handle all their legal needs and will reduce the need for the client to shop around if they have had a good experience.
The client experience: If the client has had a good experience then they will come back to your firm, this will also lead to further referrals by word of mouth and to law firms this should be considered to be very valuable. The reason for this is that it does not cost in terms of advertising, a good reputation in terms of customer service can soon lead to much more repeat business, as a personal recommendation is a trusted lead.
Retention of your clients is of paramount importance and communication is a key factor. Analysing communication as to how information is delivered and the accuracy therefore, leads to more clients being retained which will overall lead to a more profitable practice.