Law Firm Marketing and You Staff. What Should You Do When You Have Staff Issues?
Hiring the right people for your law firm is only the first step. You also need to maintain a great office culture and train your staff to understand your firm's core values. Too many attorneys find someone who lists all the right skills on their resume, and keep someone on staff who doesn't want to be there. The key to a high performing staff is finding and keeping the right people who can do the job and are enthusiastic about what they do.
If you are having staff problems, find the answer to your questions below in our Frequently Asked Questions.
You’re probably asking yourself: What the heck happens next? How do I get a steady stream of clients? Am I doing enough in my marketing? Is there anyone who’s made it to the top of the mountain who can point me in the right direction?
I know. I’ve been there. I know exactly what you’re going through as you start to think about marketing your law firm seriously, and I’ve learned the hard way which strategies will grow your business and which are financial black holes. And let me tell you, not only is there a path to the top of the mountain, but I have created a systematic approach to getting you there.
Download my 10-Step Program For Marketing Success and discover the steps I would take if I started my practice from scratch, right now!
By the end of this report, you’ll be shocked that I’m giving it away free. To put it simply, this report will answer the biggest question I get from lawyers around the country on a weekly basis. Click the button below and download today!
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Not All of My Ideal Clients Who Come in End Up Hiring Me. Could My Staff Members Be to Blame?
Staff problems are only one reason your customers could be walking out the door. Since they were able to find you and connect with you online or by phone before turning away, you may be able to gain some insight into why they did not choose you to represent them.
The most important element of a personal injury attorney marketing campaign is feedback. If you don’t know if an element of your marketing is working, how will you know it has been worth the investment—and if you should bother spending money on it again in the future?
It is vital that you involve yourself everywhere in your business, even if you cannot be physically present. You are the head of the business, your name is on the front door, and every person working below you is representing—and selling—you. That means that every time a staff member comes into contact with a customer, he has the ability to bring that client in or turn him away with each action he takes.
You must communicate to your staff that all forms of communication with your prospects and established clients are “sales moments.” Your employees should be working to improve every customer’s experience and relationship with your firm as if the customer were dealing directly with you. How effective is this communication? It is so important to that every action can either move the relationship forward or stop it completely—even with as little as a glance toward the clock while a customer is speaking.
I hired a content provider to add pages to my website. When I checked the new pages, they were full of errors and bad links. What should I do?
When it comes to adding content to your legal website, you get what you pay for. Content is an investment, and a low price will often mean an equally low return. Some providers will even charge clients outrageous sums for “cut and pasted” articles, putting the client at risk of a plagiarism claim. For all these reasons, it pays—literally—to do your homework before hiring a content provider.
Here are three basic items that every web content company should (but doesn’t necessarily) provide:
- Originality. You are, first and foremost, paying someone to create a custom product just for you. If your web “copy” is just that, you need to find a different content provider.
- Spelling. You are in a business where your intellect matters. Spelling errors are the number one reason potential clients will leave your site; if they know more than you do, why should they hire you?
- Grammar. Poor grammar is not only a turn-off for your readers, it’s an open advertisement for your competition. Visiting attorneys need only to point to a badly written site to shine by comparison (even if their case record is not as good as yours).
After these criteria have been met, you may have acceptable content for your readers. However, if the content is not properly optimized, those readers are not going to be able to find your site—making the content just as useless as if it had not been written at all.
I've installed state-of-the-art client management software at our law firm, which is so simple that even an entry-level employee can master it. Doesn't that reduce the pressure on me to hire the “best” administrative assistant I can find?
You are basing your question on a faulty premise—that even the most advanced client-management software system will somehow make up for the failings of the employee you decided to hire right off the street, with a minimum of screening.
As anyone at NASA can tell you, a sophisticated computer system is no match for a poorly trained employee, who in the best case will be unable to interpret or manipulate the data that the system spits out, and in the worst case will succeed in pressing the wrong button and erasing all the information you've stored about prospective and existing clients. (One day scientists may develop truly self-aware software that resists the determined efforts of human beings to foul things up, but we're not anywhere near to that ideal yet!)
The fact is that even the most “user-friendly” software systems require a certain amount of training on the part of the employees that use them—and if you hire just any administrative assistant, especially one who is not familiar with how computers work, you will just be asking for trouble. Look at it this way: as good as your software is at keeping tabs on prospective clients, emailing them regular newsletters, and automatically updating their contact information, somewhere down the line that person will want to hear from a real, live representative of your firm. If you happen to be in court that day, or tied up in other business, you'll have no choice but to delegate that task to your employee—and if she's not properly trained in customer service, you can kiss that prospective client goodbye.
I always feel guilty when I ask my assistant to spend an entire day on a mind-numbing task, like rearranging our filing system. Shouldn't I be a good boss and try to help her?
That depends on what your definition of a “good boss” is. Most employees define a “good boss” as someone who is patient, understanding, easy to work with, and, most importantly, able to keep their paychecks coming. That may be at odds with your own understanding of what a “good boss” is: that is, someone who's willing to pitch in with tasks well out of his pay grade, to show his employees that doesn't think he's better than them.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with making the occasional gesture to lighten your assistant's workload. If she's having an especially bad day, it won't kill you to spend ten minutes photocopying your own documents. But if you spend more time doing her job than your own, that means you're wasting billable hours, and shortchanging your balance sheet by hundreds of dollars every day.
You should also keep in mind that your employees won't necessarily have the same attitude toward administrative tasks as you do. Your assistant probably considers it part of her job to rearrange the filing system, and the successful completion of this task will make her job a lot easier in the future. Therefore, there's no need for you to feel guilty about assigning her this chore, since a) it's what she was hired for and b) you have better ways to spend your time, in order to pay her salary.
However, there is nothing wrong with improving your leadership skills. We can all get rusty from time to time, and overlook many concerns in our law firm. Keep in mind that being a good leader isn't about making concessions for employees, but rather empowering our employees and allowing them to make decisions within the parameters of their job. Being a good leader also mean setting performance standards and applying those to all our employees, holding everyone accountable for the work they do.