How do Law Firms Retain Clients? Four Keys to Keeping Good Clients Happy

//How do Law Firms Retain Clients? Four Keys to Keeping Good Clients Happy

How-do-Law-Firms-Retain-ClientsBuilding a book of business filled with high quality clients is tough but it can be even tougher to keep all those clients happy. Fortunately, there are four key things your law firm can do to keep your good clients happy.

1. Exceed Expectations

Good clients stay with law firms that exceed their expectations. But you can’t exceed expectations if you don’t set them first. Here are a few tips:

  • Candid conversations.
    When you first engage a new client or old clients on a new matter, have candid conversations with them about the possibilities for their case. Clients should have realistic possible outcomes for their case explained to them. If clients expect outcomes that aren’t possible, there will be no way for you to meet or exceed those unrealistic expectations.
  • Adjust your staffing levels.
    If you’re taking on more cases than your current roster of associates can handle, you must seriously consider expanding your staff. Forcing your associates to work to their capacity will jeopardize the quality of the work they produce.  The lower the quality of your law firm’s work output, the less likely you will exceed client expectations. Always look ahead to anticipate when your workload will increase so you can adjust staffing levels as necessary.

While you should always aim to exceed client expectations, keeping good clients happy will require you to also plan for the times when you fall short.

2. Prepare For The Negative Feedback

No matter how hard you work to deliver excellent work for a client, it’s inevitable that you may not meet the expectations of at least one.  Be prepared to handle client disappointments by setting up a system that addresses complaints. Here are a few tips:

  • Create a feedback system.
    Feedback can sound scary especially if you’re a solo-practitioner or a small law firm. But having a feedback system integrated into your client communications will give clients an outlet when they’re dissatisfied with the work you’ve produced. At the end of each case, ask for customer feedback in writing and be prepared to discuss issues. It’s better that a client’s first instinct is to complain to you than to complain in an online review
  • Integrate good client advice.
    Even the best law firms can benefit from improvement to their systems and processes. Track client feedback and be prepared to integrate their suggestions when it makes sense for your law practice.

Not only will integrating suggested improvements benefit your law firm, it will help your law firm keep your best clients happy.

3. Train Your Support Staff

Administrative assistants, receptionists, paralegals, anyone who comes in contact with your clients must have customer service training. Never assume that support staff knows how to handle clients and difficult situations. Invest in training your support staff on how to answer phones, how long to keep someone on hold, take messages, and de-escalate irate clients. Your investment in customer service training will pay off by helping your current clients feel respected and appreciated.

4. Stay In Contact

Reach out to your list of current clients at least once a year even if they don’t have an open matter. Send clients news about your law firm, legal tips, and other important information. Letting your clients know that you’re thinking about them will help foster a solid and lasting business relationship.

If you want to keep your good clients longer, you must focus on maintaining their happiness.




By |January 22nd, 2018|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.