How would you rate our communication?
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Law firms invest an abundance of time and resources into providing legendary, memorable client service. This endeavor is absolutely vital. Why? Because happy clients are essential to the continued growth and success of the firm. History has proven that clients who are satisfied with our services are more likely to leave reviews and give testimonials thus organically growing our firm through referrals.
Think about the client journey at your firm. What measures do you have in place to ensure that your team is meeting (and hopefully exceeding) the clients’ expectations of services throughout the life of their case? Every team member is responsible for their own role in delivering above and beyond client service. The best firms in the business have systems and standards in place by design. It is those systems and standards that become the measuring stick by which success is achieved.
It starts with communication. Proactive, regular, and recurring client communication that advances the case is a Vista non-negotiable. This may occur every 14-30 days at your firm, but at a minimum, you should be speaking with your client at least once a month.
You can communicate between your monthly calls with your client by text and email, but that should be viewed as an enhancement to your communication, not as a substitute to speaking with them on the phone or meeting with them in the office. Too much can be lost in translation when communication doesn’t happen via a verbal dialog…especially when it comes to how the client is doing.
Another Vista non-negotiable is that all calls, emails, or text messages are returned within a reasonable time period but no later than the end of the next business day. Not doing so sends the message to the client that they are not important to us or that we are not working on their case. Neither of those is true so don’t let perception cloud reality.
Another key element of the client experience cycle you should be tracking relates to personal information your clients share with you. When you’re talking with your client, be sure to make note of any “golden nuggets” they mention. A “golden nugget” is simply a fun fact about the client that can be used by a team member as an “ice breaker” when speaking with them.
Examples include their favorite sports teams, the name and types of their pets, favorite drinks, major life events like marriage or welcoming a grandchild, and hobbies. Don’t just ask for that information – track it! House those details on a dedicated tab within your case management system – which Vista likes to call the Secret Service tab. This system really WOWS the client and makes them feel important and understood. It also leaves the impression that they are more than just a case to your firm.
Next, Vista recommends surveying clients both during and after case resolution – at 90 days, six months, and then post disbursement and file closure. Keep the survey to five or so questions and have their answers rated on a scale of 1-5, with five being excellent and one meaning we need improvement. Some questions you might ask the client are:
How would you rate our communication?
Would you say our team is caring and concerned about you?
Do you know the name of the case manager who is working with you?
How would you rate your experience with us?
Do you believe your case has progressed timely so far?
Would you refer your family and friends to our firm?
Notice that all of these questions can be answered with a yes or no. Positive surveys should be shared with the team publicly and less than delighted surveys with the assigned paralegal/attorney and/or management team privately. If a client is less than 100% delighted during their case, you want to remedy the issue immediately and turn them into a raving fan by the time of disbursement. You should design a plan of action with the client to resolve the problem and let them know when you intend to follow back up with them. To track client survey results, Vista suggests a Client Survey tab in your case management system. Also consider providing your leadership team with tracking survey result summary scores in a report grouped by paralegal and by attorney.
When a case closes, you need to ensure your team knows the firm’s work isn’t done! They should use all disbursement meetings as a marketing event. Happy clients want to do something to thank you for all you have done for them.
You must tell them what you want, and what you want is the referral of a friend or family member and a review on Google and/or Facebook. Once you start getting those raving reviews, the job isn’t done! Set a goal number of Google and Facebook reviews per month. Once established, continue to measure and analyze them.
Finally, communication with your team is key! It’s of the utmost importance that we communicate to our team the firm’s expectations when it comes to communication and the impact it has on the client experience. Set the stage!
Expectations and KPIs should be discussed and then memorialized in team member scorecards and reviewed during one-on-one meetings and at annual performance reviews. Continue to emphasize the importance of client experience at your firm at every single opportunity you can.
Every interaction the client has with the firm is an opportunity to make a lasting impression. Let’s make sure it’s a positive one.
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