Law Firm Client Service is a key differentiator for clients

We all hear that times are tough, so you would think that every practice would be concentrating on providing exceptional client service. But this simply isn’t the case and consequently law firm client service provides you with a tremendous opportunity to set your practice apart from your competition.

The catch cry these days is that all you are doing is satisfying your clients, then your relationship with that client is at risk.

If you really want to stand out from your competitors, then you need to be setting the bar much, much higher.

I would suggest that your minimum level you should be aiming for,should be to delight your clients and turning them into raving fans of your practice.

If you can do that, then there are several immediate advantages for your business. Firstly, it ensures that you keep that customer while ever you can continue to provide extraordinary service. Secondly, that delighted client is much more likely to recommend you to their family and friends, so you can generate a steady stream of new clients to allow you to continue to grow the practice. Finally , you are finding these new clients without having to spend one cent on marketing.

Now there is a downside to providing extraordinarily good client service.

The downside is that once you start to provide exceptional service, then your clients will expect this service level in the future. If in the future, you let the service level drop back, you are likely to get a negative reaction from your clients. The odd thing is that you will get this negative reaction, even if your lower service level is still better than the best that your opposition can do, as you have now conditioned your clients to expect more from you.

Now of course I am not suggesting for one minute that you therefore plan to provide poor service, but it is a warning that if you plan to improve your service levels, then there is no going back, so you need to be committed to providing this higher level of service on an ongoing basis.

Let me give you an example. Twelve years ago I met a car dealer in Karratha in the Kimberley, who had won Jeep’s best dealership on the planet for the second time. Part of their customer service strategy had been that they had decided that when a car was brought in for a service, they would give it a wash, so that when the car left the workshop, it was lovely and clean. Now I know that this is not unusual today, but 16 years ago in a remote country town, it was much rarer.

Of course their customers thought this was great and none of the other dealerships in Karratha did it. The trouble was that when they were incredibly busy in the workshop and perhaps had some staff missing due to sickness, they may not have been able to wash all of the cars that day and guess what, they had an unhappy customer, even though none of their competitors ever did it.

Now to have an unhappy customer was simply unacceptable for this outstanding business. Because they had made this part of their core customer service level for customers, they realised that if they failed to deliver at this level then they would disappoint, so they introduced a system so that if they failed to provide the customer service level, they would reward the customer in some other way. In this case the customer received a $100 voucher to use at their favorite restaurant, if they were not able to wash their car.

Now this business is still going today and is still incredibly successful and one of the reasons for that is that they take customer service very, very seriously.

Now just an aside from that.

Have you ever heard of a car dealer that doesn’t advertise?

I bet you haven’t. They are all spending thousands trying to get new customers into their showrooms.

Well this one didn’t and when they give you the price that is always their best price. Because of their extraordinary customer service they have built up extraordinary level of trust with their customers, so all of their customers recommend them to their friends and family, to the point of saying that their friend would be mad to buy a car anywhere else.

Let me ask you, as a legal practice owner, in the current economy would you like to be generating referrals like that for your practice?

So providing exceptional service can really pay.

It is a win for your customers and a win for you the practice owner, because you build up a portfolio of fiercely loyal clients who simply will not deal with anyone else but your practice for the service that you provide.