We are on the road for a few events. The best part of it is chatting with actual attorneys about their practices, their needs, and their goals.
Much of the discussion was about technology, of course. But it also included clients. A lot of discussion valuing clients, and some frustration with potential clients and how to vet them. With the recent release of some research data, it was great to chat about how to best connect with those who are searching for legal help. How can your firm improve the responsiveness to potential clients efficiently, finding the best fit for the firm AND the client?
Separately, an article came out about how science has found that kindness can make you a better leader. The article highlights appreciation, connection, and correction.
So, how do those things relate?
Start With Appreciation
It is a bit of a buzzword these days. Appreciation, gratitude, and the like are all part of a renewed effort to find some joy or peace in our daily (grind) lives. As a convert, I know it helps me out more often than I can say.
Starting with appreciation for potential clients can change everything. So, yes, not all potential clients are a fit for your firm. And, maybe the person isn't really ready to hire an attorney. But one thing is for sure. That interaction, between potential clients and the law firm they have approached, creates an impression of the entire legal profession.
Generally speaking, potential clients aren't contacting your law firm because everything in their life is perfect. It's typically because they are facing some issue that likely includes a level of stress or anxiety. How you connect with them, so they feel appreciated or at least not bothersome, goes a long way not only to a positive perception of attorneys but also puts potential clients at ease a bit. So even if they aren't ready to hire, they had a good experience and will come back when they are ready. Appreciate those potential clients.... after all, that's where all your current clients started.
Then Make the Connection
Before anything else, people need to connect. These days, there are many options. Online, email, and social media are all great options. But, a phone call or in-person meeting makes all the difference. That's the real connection. And that's where improving the service of potential clients can really change.
Part of connecting is doing so in a timely manner. It doesn't need to be immediate, but if you can reply within 1 day, that's definitely optimal. Even if you create an automated email that sends to anyone who reaches out to you on social media or through your website, that's great. If you have time or resources, hiring a virtual receptionist is a great personal touch too. There are lots of great options out there, like Smith.ai. But one thing is certain. Ignoring those who reach out to you will not serve you or your law firm well. The perception of your firm is entirely in the hands of your potential and current clients. Yelp and the like are increasingly being used by potential clients to find an attorney. And, when people are happy, they don't generally take the time to write a review. When people are unhappy, the internet is a popular place to vent. When that happens, because it will, we have some tips to help you manage that, too.
Always Track And Correct
It can be tough to be honest with yourself. No one wants to spend time looking at their 'opportunity areas'. But we all have them. And that's where the magic is.
Consider your current approach to responding to potential clients.
- Are you monitoring all of your request routes?
- Are you responding?
- How are you?
- When are you?
- What is the potential clients response?
- How many are you retaining? Are you giving suggestions of other firms if your firm isn't a fit?
Start tracking these metrics. Look for where the connection drops. Consider options to improve it. And then, do it again. No matter how great your firm is, there is always room for improvement. Technology can help you with that, of course.
Ultimately, any law firm is about connecting with people. Connecting with kindness will not only result in a positive experience for your clients, but also grow your firm, directly, or indirectly.