What do solicitors and barristers need to know about their clients?
By Charlie Britten
05 Dec 2018
Every solicitor and barrister wants to do the best they can for their clients, but to provide the best possible service it is important to know just what makes the difference between providing something that is merely "good enough” and offering a service that goes the extra mile.
Of course, with SRA standards in place, there are both minimum standards to uphold and also constraints on how creative you can be in providing a service. However, it is important to know just what your clients’ concerns are and what they expect when they seek legal services.
Why you need to know your clients
By learning more about your clients, you can not only tailor aspects of your services to help meet their needs better, but also incorporate this into your content marketing strategy. Remember you are telling a story through your content; there is no better story to tell than how you have created satisfied customers by not just meeting their needs, but also by exceeding their expectations. This creates the best possible kind of PR for law firms.
Firstly, you must know about their needs, their desires and also their concerns. They know what they want and what they hope to receive from you, but also their fears.
Research has shown that the most common disappointments revolve around failures of communication, in particular not keeping clients updated about the progress of their cases. As the LexisNexis Bellwether Report 2015: The Age of the Client found that while 80 per cent of legal firms thought they were good at communication, only 40 per cent of clients thought they received good communication.
It is important to remember that communication is a two-way thing. As well as keeping clients informed, firms can also listen to their customers to best understand their needs and concerns. If any customer feels that the company providing the services is giving them a good user experience, this will make it more likely that they come back. All law firms can provide legal expertise, but only those with the right focus and commitment to communication can ensure a positive experience for customers.
What can you do to keep customers satisfied?
Among the ways firms can provide good service is through the principle ‘under-promise, over-deliver.’ Often companies do things the other way and then have the problem of explaining why they fell short. A good example of this is that if a task you have resolved to carry out is going to take longer to complete than initially thought, let your client this will be the case.
Similarly, transparency over aspects like pricing will also help manage expectations, as well as helping to show that you aren’t treating your client as an ATM.
Good feedback can also play a positive role, as it can show firms what they did well, in addition to areas where they can learn, grow and improve. For that reason, firms should not shy away from asking for this.
Apart from all this, clients will appreciate it if they feel they are being listened to and understood. This will also help ensure you have the knowledge needed to provide them the reassurance they need and the correct service.
Clients for whom English is not a first language will particularly appreciate extra care being taken with your communication. By checking thoroughly that you and they have understood each other, you will help gain their confidence and also ensure they know what you are doing and you know what they need.
Paying attention to your clients is, however, only part of an effective and valuable communications strategy. Where content marketing can help is through the telling of a story, one that goes to the heart of your values and why you do what you do, so that those considering using your services will be attracted by your passion and sense of mission.
Furthermore, this is an opportunity to highlight how you understand the kind of concerns and issues clients commonly have, as well as the type of legal issues they face. By explaining how you have dealt with these and can do so again, you are telling a story that gives potential clients good reasons to be confident in the service you offer.
Blogs need to be written in a very informal style. It is easy to get tied up with jargon, which makes your articles harder to read and may put some people off. For example, if you are a conveyancer, use a term like ‘property solicitor’ instead to ensure that your readers know what subject you are referring to right away. Having lawyers online is one thing, but unless the message is clear, the benefits of this will be lost.
How BeUniqueness can help
As mentioned above, all too many law firms just assume their communication is good enough, but the experience of the majority of clients suggests otherwise.