Like most other businesses, the practice of law is a competitive field. Clients aren’t necessarily looking for the cheapest rates—they’re looking for the best value. If they believe you have exceptional value as their lawyer, they’ll gladly pay you double what your competitor charges for the same services. The good news is that you don’t have to do double the work to add value for your clients. A lot of this value comes in the form the “little extras” you do—small gestures and actions that show your clients you’re looking out for them. Let’s look at some of these “little extras” that can make your clients fall so in love with your law firm that they wouldn’t think of going anywhere else.
When you provide a service for a client, make a point of following up afterward to see how things are going, ask whether they have any questions or if they need anything else. This simple gesture communicates that you are genuinely interested in your client’s life and well-being, so the next time they need that service, you’re more likely to be the first person they call.
As often as possible, if you say you’ll have something ready for the client by a certain time, get it done before the deadline. When working on a particular document or project for a client, do a little extra research or an extra round of editing to make sure it’s flawless. Anything you can do to convey that you’re going the extra mile for your clients will go a long way toward keeping them around.
Improve Response Times
“Dead air” is the worst possible thing for any TV or radio station. Every second of silence means thousands of people change the station. Think of the space between when a client calls and when you respond as “dead air.” When a client calls you, they want your attention now, and every minute you don’t give it to them can decrease their loyalty. The faster your response times, the more your clients love you.
What About Gifts and Tokens of Appreciation?
Many businesses offer thank-you gifts and extras to their customers. The same holds true for lawyers under the condition that the gift can’t be construed as “financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation” under the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. In other words, give tokens of appreciation, not financial help, and never in the context of a case you’re working on. A thank-you note, a key ring, maybe a bottle of wine at the holidays—these are all examples of tokens of appreciation that can ethically build client loyalty.
Bottom line: Always look for ways to go beyond what your clients expect, or to provide them with little extras they weren’t expecting at all. Anything that exceeds expectations adds value—and value is what keeps them coming back.