Sometimes we spend an enormous amount of time working on new logos, websites, and letterhead.
We fret over:
- Whose name should go first on the letterhead?
- Which shade of blue is right?
- Should we use an ampersand or the word and?
- What are the right graphics for every page of our website?
- Should we build microsites?
- Should we have video on our homepage?
- How about videos on our attorneys’ bio pages? (yes)
Then we really have fun with these questions:
- What size offices we should have at our firms?
- Who gets to sit in which size offices?
- Should we have offices at all, or should we try that (not so) newfangled open concept everyone is talking about?
- What should our building look like?
- What kind of artwork should we put inside our offices?
Some of these efforts take months, if not years, don’t they? I know they did when I was in-house. Some of them cost tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
How Much Do You Spend On Your Client Experience?
All of those decisions are important, but how often do you deliberately and methodically sit down and fret just as much over what your clients really care about?
All of those things I mentioned above certainly contribute to building your overall brand, and yes, you must do them, but do you spend that same amount of time every year on discovering what your clients really care about, which is how you solve their problems, and how you help them avoid those problems in the first place?
Do you spend time researching and discussing how your firm and your lawyers make your clients feel when you do business together tackling those problems? Do you ever ask them what it would take to keep them for the long haul?
Does working with you make them feel happy, frustrated, relieved, skeptical, confident, angry, comforted, fed up, nurtured, positive, or some combination of all of these? Do you know which of these emotions they would love to feel as a result of working with you, or are you just guessing?
Clients Care About User Experience
Even though this might not be a term clients use, they care about their user experience when dealing with you, your colleagues, and everyone in your firm. That experience determines how you are making them feel, which is why they need you in the first place.
Not only is there a situation that is causing them to seek legal advice, but there is always a feeling behind that situation that is driving their actions.
I challenge you to think about client experience and what your clients really care about, and what is on their minds night and day. I’ll give you a to-do list in a moment to make this easier.
Once you are confident you have a grasp of all of that information, make sure the solutions you provide and the manner in which every single person in your firm interacts with your clients addresses their concerns, both expressed and those kept deep inside that are difficult for them to talk about.
Client Experience Is More Important Than Your Beautiful Office
The experience clients have with you is infinitely more important than the trappings that you surround yourself with every day. Again, I am not suggesting you shouldn’t worry about those things because you absolutely should. They contribute to your overall brand, which has impact inside and outside of the firm and contributes to the position you hold in your clients’ and prospects’ minds, which is called positioning.
What I am suggesting is that all of this must blend together to make sure you are answering the needs and the experience your clients and potential clients have when they come in contact with you.
What Should You Do Next?
Research and discover the answers to these questions:
- How do your clients feel when they are searching for your help?
- How are you making your clients feel when they interact with every person in your firm?
- How are you listening?
- How are you approaching the way you do business with them?
- How are you minimizing their fears and oftentimes their feelings of inadequacy because of the misinformation and the firehose of opinions that come from a variety of sources?
- What would cause them to say “wow” at different stages of your matter and your relationship?
Once you know the answers to these questions, and more, create a plan that lays out exactly how you can and will address their thoughts and experience.
Everyone In The Firm Is Responsible For Client Experience
Make sure you include legal and business professionals from every nook and cranny of your firm because this will result in a more informed plan.
I’d then like for you to make sure every person in the firm understands and receives training on how to deliver the stellar client experience you have come up with in your plan. Don’t assume people hear your new message and understand how it impacts them, or that they are equipped to deliver this new level of service. Sometimes they need a little help and guidance.
Also, don’t assume that delivering this message once to everyone in the firm will suffice. Just as with any training on any tool you have, your professionals, both legal and business, need to see and hear your message and your plan often. They need to be reminded how and why this is important to your firm, but even more important, they need to be reminded how and why this is important to your clients.
One of my mantras is take the time.
Take the time to work through a process that defines how you and your firm are going to deliver an amazing client experience that is as thoughtful, if not ten times more so, than the amount of time your spend on working on your new logo, your new artwork, your company party, your new custom imprinted item for your United Way campaign, what brand of coffee or water you serve in your office, what food you are going to serve at your next reception, and on and on.
Be The One
You will also hear me beat the drum to be the one. Be the one to figure out how to define and deliver an amazing client experience that leaves your clients thinking they are lucky to work with you, one that causes them to say “wow” even if results don’t go in their favor.
Be the one that cares about doing the research and asking the questions that will help figure out what experience will make your clients and potential clients feel happiest and safest, or whatever emotions you have uncovered in the research I outlined above.
Then I want you to incorporate answers to all of those questions in every single thing you do every day. If you don’t, then what is to keep them from going down the street to someone who will deliver the client experience they want, need, and deserve?
Yes, take the time and be the one. Your clients will thank you.
Nancy Myrland is a Marketing, Business Development, Content, Social & Digital Media Speaker, Trainer & Advisor, helping lawyers and legal marketers grow by integrating all marketing disciplines in order to maximize business development efforts to grow their practices. Known as the LinkedIn Coach For Lawyers, she is a frequent LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for Business trainer, as well as a content marketing specialist. She helps lawyers, law firms, and legal marketers learn and implement marketing and business development efforts that are more relevant to their current and potential clients. She also helps lead law firms through their online social media strategy when dealing with high-stakes, visible cases. As an early and constant adopter of social and digital media and technology, she also helps firms with blogging, podcasts, video marketing, voice marketing, flash briefings, and livestreaming.
If you would like to reserve an hour of Nancy’s time to begin talking strategy or think through an issue you are having, you can do that here.