When it comes to a client’s expectations as they step foot in a law firm, there are two major factors in play. The first is their expectation of how they will be treated at a law firm. Here, the bar is pretty low. Unfortunately, our industry doesn’t have a great track record for customer service, so putting any thought at all into your client welcome processes will put you ahead of the pack.
The second factor, however, is how someone expects to be treated when they walk into ANY business. Here you aren’t being compared to other law firms, but rather retailers, restaurants, and boutiques. You will even be compared to the customer experience they get on Amazon. These expectations are higher, and it’s up to you to build a welcome process that makes people feel comfortable and cared for.
So how can a solo or small law firm improve their in-office customer experience? Here are three ideas that are proven to make a difference in our market:
1. Goody Bags
Gift them right out of the gate with some free stuff. Almost everyone enjoys getting a gift, and you change the tone of the visit right from the start. Some people open the door at a law firm feeling like it will be an “adversarial” meeting. Many have never even been inside a law firm before! Flip the script with a goody bag.
In the goody bag at our firm, we have a stuffed animal, some local magazines, some candy, a phone wallet, and depending on the time of year, an ice scraper. There are lots of cheap ways to get your law firm logo onto some fun “tchotchke” items. It’s little things like this that make a big difference in the potential client’s mood and expectations.
2. Client Handbook
You’d be shocked at how many law firms have NO written materials to give to their potential clients when they walk in the door. Clients are worried about what is going to happen to them, and they have a lot of questions. Even if the handbook only covers case process and communication policies, it makes a world of difference. Clients want to know that you’re in control and that you have a system set up for people like them.
3. The Reception Experience
Have you ever opened the door to your office as if you were seeing it for the first time as a visitor? What are your first impressions? Do you feel like this is a law firm that pays attention to detail, or one that is unprofessional and unwelcoming? Are you greeted with a smile by the receptionist, and are you clearly told what happens next, or how long you should expect to wait?
Even small things like putting the visiting client’s name on a whiteboard and offering free coffee can make a world of difference. People want to feel cared for and they want to be told what happens next. Craft an in-office experience that mirrors the amount of thought you have put into what your client is going through.If you implement these three ideas, you should see your close rate go up. When clients feel more comfortable and more cared for, they are more likely to hire you, plain and simple.