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July 09, 2008

The top ten ways for lawyers to increase client satisfaction

In the current economy, other lawyers will be coming after your clients.  Every lawyer would therefore be well advised to increase client satisfaction and protect the relationships that ultimately pay your salary, bonus, and rent.  You can’t make clients too happy.

Review these best practices from other law firms and select the tactics that best fit your practice.  

For current clients:

1. Schedule a free visit to a client’s office, to discuss the client’s business needs.
2. Schedule free monthly meetings or telecons “off the clock.” 
3. Conduct a formal or informal client satisfaction interview.
4. Ask the client what needs to be improved—responsiveness, timeliness, cost, and/or value—and brainstorm together about how to accomplish this.
5. Improve communication about the business implications of legal matters.
6. Increase transparency in budget estimates and billing.
7. Promote efficiencies to reduce cost, and tell clients about them.
8. Tell clients what they can do to help control or reduce legal costs.
9. Organize a client service team.
10. Improve your active listening skills.

For some litigators and others, referral sources are the most important source of new work, and should be treated as if they were clients.
For referral sources:
1. Update people promptly and regularly on the results of each and every client they’ve sent to you.
2. Ask yourself:  What has helped build this relationship in the past?  Do it again.
3. Ask yourself:  What have I done for them lately?  Do more.
4. Take them to lunch and ask:  how could I help you?
5. Schedule a visit to the referrer’s office to discuss trends in their business, and how you can help.
6. List your top referral sources and give them special treatment—such as giving out your home phone number—and make sure they know that they are in a special category.
7. Do some web research on your source’s business and work the facts into your discussions to show that you are doing your homework.
8. Send a handwritten thank you note.
9. Establish a regular schedule for updates.  Ask whether they would prefer phone or email.
10. Ask them to describe their ideal clients, then introduce them to some.

Kit For more suggestions, see The LegalBizDev Success Kit™, a multimedia reference tool for lawyers who want to increase new business by building stronger relationships.

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