Give Your Clients a Roadmap
Yesterday I spoke at lunch to the Solo & Small Firm Section of the Birmingham Bar Association, so I thought today I’d share one of the practice management tips I gave them yesterday.
If they don’t already have one, most people report that they turn first to recommendations from friends and relatives when seeking a lawyer. So it makes sense that you’d like to keep your existing clients happy so that they’ll recommend you to other people. But how do you go about it?
As we become more and more familiar with the areas of the law in which we concentrate, we sometimes tend to forget that a divorce or personal injury case may be completely uncharted, and usually very scary, territory for our client. So, at the beginning of every case, give your clients a road map. You can really help your clients to feel that they’ve made the right choice of lawyers when you do this.
All you have to do is develop a written chronology or frequently asked question sheet for the particular type of matter, to guide your clients through the process. Not only will these help you create a sense of security for the client and convey some tangible value received for the fee paid, but they’ll also help prevent unnecessary phone calls that waste your time and your client’s money.
The same is true of mapping out what the client can expect in dealing with you. If you incorporate this type of information into your fee agreement, you will provide tangible value at the first meeting while starting to also shape client expectations about the procedures your office uses to facilitate lawyer-client communications and handle emergencies, and what you expect in terms of billing and payment.