Putting The WOW Factor Into Your Legal Business
Think about the businesses you have dealt with in the last few weeks, in a personal or professional capacity, and think how many of those have really impressed you. Were you treated incredibly well when you bought furniture from John Lewis, or did the service you received from your Mercedes dealer really blow you away (unlikely from what the latest Top Gear survey revealed I know). On the flip side of the coin, did you receive appalling service anywhere? These are normally the easier ones to remember; for example if I were to mention shocking service at a restaurant I am sure most of you can immediately think of somewhere where this happened to you recently.
So if someone comes to your business, what sort of service will they receive? Will they be blown away, or glad to get away and never return again? What can you do to make sure that your clients are so impressed by your service that they come back time and time again, and develop a loyalty to your business like the loyalty you have developed to some of the businesses you come into contact with?
1. Service, service and service
Before we explore some more novel ways of “wowing” your clients and increasing their loyalty to you, let’s start with the most important one. If you do not provide an excellent service it does not matter what schemes you put in place you will never be able to generate the repeat business that your practice needs to prosper.
I have seen many firms spend small fortunes on promotional materials that are aimed at selling their services, such as large expensive websites or beautifully created brochures, but this is a futile exercise if the service provided does not match the expectations created by the hype on the website or in the brochure. Before you spend thousands of pounds on promotions, spend time and invest money in your staff, equipment and training. Ensure that everyone understands that if they work for, they are expected to provide bare minimum service levels that are excellent, but more often than not they are expected to exceed them. Make sure that you understand what it is that sets you apart from your competitors, and ensure this is understood by everyone in your business from the office junior to the senior partner.
- If you have service standards (or service level agreements) ensure that your staff know them inside out and adhere to them. Many firms do set standards but then fail to communicate to their team how important they are.
Let your clients know about your service standards. I have seen many solicitors create standards for major referrers of business, but only pay lip service to them. If you have them, let your clients know all about them and at the end of a matter ask your clients if you achieved them.
- Beat every single service standard every single time (underpromise/overdeliver). If you say you will call new clients within the hour, call them within 10 minutes. If the standards promise that you will respond to client’s letters within seven days, do it within three.
- If you can allow access to a case management system, allow your clients access to it and update it every time anything big or small happens on their matter. Not only does this mean that they have to visit your website once a week (great for cross selling purposes) but also by regularly updating your clients they will have less need to call you.
Only when everything is in place within your office should you really start to look at what you can do outside of it to create growth.
2.. Promoting Client Loyalty
James Dyson has created incredible client loyalty through the excellence of his vacuum cleaner: the colour of his machines, the “no bag” system, the “no loss of suction… ever” campaign. Many people are evangelical about his products which accounts for the prices charged and the high volumes of sales.
- On exchange or completion of a conveyancing transaction, do you send a text message to your clients letting them know the second they exchange or complete? We all know that moving house is one of the most stressful experiences that we have to endure in our life, yet often the biggest criticism I hear from clients is that they were not told quickly enough when exchange or completion took place.
- In every conveyancing transaction do you make a special offer to your clients for wills? With the average house price being near to the Inheritance Tax limits wills are almost always essential. What’s more, often there will be a need to upsell the wills to include some tax planning advice. Suddenly a client that was worth £600 to your business is worth over £1,000 in fee income and you only had to send an additional letter or make an additional telephone call.
- When a personal injury claim is settling for say £20,000 or more, as a matter of course do you ensure that you recommend financial planning advice to your clients? Many lawyers feel uncomfortable with this and feel it is not their job to sell referrals to independent financial advisers but look at it from the client’s point of view. You are their professional adviser and if you do not recommend advice when they are receiving a large lump sum, haven’t you actually failed them? If they lose access to some financial benefits, or invest their money poorly so that it fritters away, not only have you lost goodwill but a potential referral fee or reciprocal business from an Independent Financial Adviser too.
I can provide many different ideas, but I try and keep my newsletters brief enough for you to read in a lunch hour and still have time to apply the core message to your business. Take some time out to think about what you can do to really WOW your clients, but ensure that it fits your business ethos and that it is not just a gimmick which is not backed up by excellent service.
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