As even a novice in the business industry will tell you, it’s normally cheaper to keep an existing client than to earn a new one. And it’s often easier too. For this reason it’s important that you are thoughtful about your relationships with your clients and about the service you provide them. Here are a few tips for keeping your clients happy.
Respond Quickly To All Communications
Always respond to your clients’ emails and voicemails as quickly as possible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a client fire their attorney because the attorney failed to respond to them promptly. This is true for clients big and small. In fact, I landed one of my best clients when they fired their prior attorney because he didn’t respond to their communications. The client told me that she felt that her business wasn’t important to that attorney.
Never forget that your clients cases are extremely important to them. They are entrusting their livelihood, savings, security, etc. in your hands. If you want their business, the least you can do is respond to them quickly when they reach out to you.
Be Clear With Them
It’s important that you clearly communicate with your client. This starts with a clear retainer agreement that specifies the work that you’ll perform on their case, the work you will not be performing on their case (as applicable), and the hourly rate or flat fee. If you are billing under an hourly rate then you should provide them an estimate of the total charges for the case.
Similarly, you should always set realistic expectations for the outcomes of the matters you are handling. Discuss your evaluation of the case at the outset. Also let them know how much the case will cost them up front. If you can’t live up to the expectations you set, they won’t be returning to you with future cases and they won’t be recommending your work to their friends, colleagues, and family. How can you hope to meet or exceed your client expectations if you haven’t established what those expectations are?
Be Courteous and Professional In Your Interactions
At an absolute minimum you should be courteous and professional in your interactions with your clients. Always treat them and their cases with respect. Take the time to thank them for their business.
But that isn’t enough. You should go beyond those minimum standards. After all, business is always about building and maintaining relationships. The success of your firm will most likely hinge upon your ability to build the best possible relationships with your clients. I treat my clients like good friends. I ask them about their vacations, their families, and their activities beyond the scope of my representation. When I meet with them for lunch or coffee, business is sometimes the last thing we talk about. I genuinely like my clients and I want them to know that.
Go The Extra Mile
Never settle with “good enough” when performing work for a client. When you’re preparing a brief or a report for a client, always go that extra mile. Perform a little extra research. Provide slightly more information than you think they’ll need. Take the time to do an extra round of editing before sending documents to make sure that they are clear and easily readable. Indeed, you’ll find many opportunities in your practice to “go that extra mile” for your clients. Always take those opportunities when they present themselves. Your clients will appreciate it.