Tips For Implementing A Client-Focused Culture In Your Firm
Realize that exceptional client service is the name of the game. Your law firm exists to serve clients. They pay your bills and if you don’t perform they will take their business to another firm.
Make a commitment to providing exceptional client service. Not talk or slogans – but action-orientated client-first behavior that become part of the firm’s culture, a habit and part of daily life exhibited by everyone in the firm. In other words, walk the talk. This commitment must come from top management, which must also demonstrate, by example that the firm is serious about providing excellent client service.
Determine where you presently stand in the eyes of your clients and how they perceive you. Conduct a professional client satisfaction survey to solicit feedback and identify needed improvement areas. Insure that the mail survey or telephone survey is professionally done and that the results of the study are valid, reliable, and meaningful. A follow-up/problem resolution system must be part of the program.
Based upon feedback received from your clients and your own assessments design and implement a client service improvement program. The program should focus on long-term behavioral change and not just a one-shot quick fix. It should be established as a six to twelve month campaign designed to burn new client-first habits into the fabric of the firm’s culture. The campaign should include:
Establish client service standards. For example:
Ask attorneys and staff to put themselves in the client’s shoes and think like a client.
Ask attorneys and staff to think about how they would like to treated and service that they expect from others.
Ask attorneys and staff to make an inventory of positive common sense client service behaviors and have them practice these behaviors until they become common habits.
Give clients what they want. For example:
Hire the best receptionist that you can afford. Invest in training. If you are a small firm consider enriching her job by putting her in charge of client service and have her serve as marketing coordinator. Reward and pay your receptionist well.
It takes 30 days or longer to form new habits. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Celebrate your successes, reward employees, and continually strive for improvement in client satisfaction. Your goal should be 100% client satisfaction.