All law firms exist to serve their Clients!

Professional services = WOW client service.

Let me repeat.

Professional services = WOW client service.

Lawyers spend many years training to be the very best technician so that they can affix the label ‘professional advisor’ and charge accordingly.

The right of passage is tough. It involves inter alia:

  1. A detailed consideration of complex law that is evolving all the time;
  2. Practising within a burdensome regulatory framework;
  3. Managing staff;
  4. Dealing with partnership politics;
  5. Meeting tough financial targets;
  6. Making sure you get paid by your clients;
  7. Receiving an acknowledgement for your area of expertise; and
  8. Gaining traction in the market.

If this is focused largely on the internal dynamic, then the external (client) position can be viewed as an amalgam of two essential components:

a) Character; and

b) Competence.

These components fulfil the professional services = WOW client service mantra, if applied ruthlessly, efficiently and if the aim is to make obscene levels of profit (why else are you in business?).

But if that is right then why do firms still fall short of the mark when it comes to inculcating a total client service paradigm across the whole firm? Take a for instance: Why the hell do you have an internal document to tell staff that they have to answer the phone in x number of rings, respond to letters in x days or emails in x hours? Duh! It looks so stupid. For heaven’s sake if you want to grow a professional services practice then you only do one thing – you serve. Period. Surely by having these service level guidelines it gives the impression that instead you prefer to obfuscate, prevaricate, leave clients hanging, ignore them, and make the buying process as hard as you can.

Isn’t the message just so simple. Without clients, for want of providing the highest and most respected service possible, we/you are dead in the water. No question. Oh sure there will those hard core clients who keep coming back and putting up with your supposed service but the reality is that as soon as the retail focused players get a more substantial foothold, then many more people are going to vote with their feet and jump ship. They may not even need to compare and contrast the number of rings it takes to answer their call because the whole transaction will be undertaken over the internet where you will get 24/7 coverage.

Firms have to start the process urgently and make sure that everyone takes the time to understand more about their clients and see them not as a one night stand (a simple transaction) but more as a long term, profitable relationship. And this level of understanding needs to run deep.

Staying in regular contact will be the name of the game. A simple point I know but just ask yourself how regularly you stay in contact with your clients once the job is complete. You don’t just rely on the odd tickle here and there with some paltry brochure that may have very little to do with their interests. No you make sure that you systemicatically get in contact even if you have nothing to say other than a simple: “Hello how are you today?”

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For more on developing profitable business, innovating in professional practice and implementing social media, subscribe to the RSS Feed of my Blog. Follow me on Twitter at @0neLife, or @Ju_Summerhayes connect to me on LinkedIn or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your practice, check out my coaching and consulting firm via LinkedIn, email me on or call me on 075888 15384.

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