You’ve heard about meeting and exceeding client expectations. You may not know that most clients are only marginally more satisfied when you exceed their expectations rather than simply meeting their needs. What clients really care about is how you can solve their problems – quickly. You can build loyal attorney clients by reducing the hassle in their lives, including hassle that may result from your interactions with them.
A few months ago it took about 12 hours of phone calls, a trip to Comcast to get a new modem and a service call to get my house phone number restored after Comcast mistakenly terminated it. Every time I called Comcast I got a different person and had to repeat the story over and over. After awhile I became adamant I was not going to give up. It took 3 weeks to resolve the issue, but it got done and we now have back the same phone number we’ve used for 22 years.
A now classic Harvard Business Review article is called Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers reveals what annoys clients.
Customers resent having to contact the company repeatedly (or be transferred) to get an issue resolved, having to repeat information, and having to switch from one service channel to another (for instance, needing to call after trying unsuccessfully to solve a problem through the website).
Actually the Comcast reps who switched me from one department to the next began apologizing as they acknowledged that they could not help me.
The Harvard Business Review points out that rather than spending your time giving bonuses, premiums, refunds and extras, work hard to solve problems for your clients – quickly and effectively.
Your legal nurse consulting business is not going to involve attorneys being switched endlessly from one department to another. But you can and should make it easy to do business with you.
- A loyal attorney client may be in a rush to get a case done. “I’ve written the check”, she says. “I’ll fax you a copy of the check. Can you accept that confirmation that the check is on its way and begin the work right away?” I never said no to that request.
- “I need a report from your expert by Monday. I can’t reach her. Could you call her, please?” Yes, I’d do whatever is necessary to speak to my expert.
- “I’ve been sending you cases for years and I have always paid my bills on time. I’m waiting for a big settlement to come in. Could you be patient with me while I wait for that so I can pay your invoice?” That is a different kind of question and client than one who is new to you with an unknown payment history. Give your loyal attorney client a break and be flexible while you maintain stricter policies with the new client.
Attorneys have a lot of stress, deadlines, pressures and decisions to make. Your role is to make their lives easier (we are programmed to help others). Your services are geared to do just that. Consider ways in which you can make interacting with you hassle-free.
One important point: You’ve got loyal clients. You know them, you trust them. They pay their bills. I am not advocating being a pushover and waiving requirements to pay invoices, to send retainers, and be flexible when you observe warning signs – a new client, a solo practitioner, a person who is hard to reach. You have payment policies for a reason, and you need to protect yourself.
Want to have a talk about other ways to build your business? Let’s talk. Please complete these simple questions and let’s see if we are a good fit to talk. I work with LNCs to help them get more clients, make more money and not miss out on a big opportunity.