What experience do they encounter when they meet with you? Do you appear organized, credible, efficient, and confident in your ability to provide them services for their particular problem? Does your office give the appearance of operating smoothly confirming this individual's initial impression that you can provide a solution to their issue? Was scheduling easy? Did they then receive a questionnaire via email to bring with them to the consultation? Was their time respected in that they were seen on-time? If retained, are they quickly emailed a welcome letter?
All of these small details express your firm's brand. Each client having a similar experience builds your reputation and further enhances your brand
Create an Experience
A client's decision to retain counsel is often rational and emotional. Clients' expectations are not always that they will win. If you are honest about potential outcomes, then the client is aware of what may befall their path on their legal journey.
A less-than-stellar outcome does not necessarily mean a dissatisfied client. Rather a client's expectations are often more about what they expect from their attorney during the legal process and whether those expectations are delivered. Being informed is essential to creating an experience for the client in which they feel like they are part of the decision-making process rather than having the process just happen to them. For example, receiving copies of all communications, having phone calls and emails promptly returned, scheduling client meetings to check in and discuss case strategy are all measures that involve the client. Regardless of the outcome, the client can feel like they were heard and had at least one person in their corner.
When a case is resolved, that should not be the end of the relationship with the client (unless of course, you want it to be). Former clients can and should be future client referrals and repeat business. Your best referrals are that from previously satisfied clients. Your firm should be able to repeat the same client experience from one case to the next regardless of the outcome.
A Final Thought
Brands do not appear magically. It takes time, consistency, and persistence to plant the seed and watch your firm grow.
Renee C. Bauer is founder and principal of Bauer Law and Mediation Group in Hamden. She has authored the book "The Ultimate Guide to Solo and Small Firm Success," LawFirst Publishing 2009.