For your small law firm or solo practice, it’s critical to evaluate the client service experience you provide. It’s also important to determine if you’re providing the experience that potential clients want and expect from their attorney.
Do you understand modern legal consumers? Think about the tools they have at their disposal, the type of service they’re accustomed to receiving and what they expect from their legal counsel. Despite having a wealth of information at their fingertips, most legal consumers are unfamiliar with the legal process and therefore hesitant to hire an attorney. Many find it difficult to compare and decide between attorneys. For example, as an attorney, you understand why it matters where you went to law school, but the average legal consumer may not.
These factors make client service even more critical. By providing excellent service, you can distinguish yourself and firm from competitors and win over prospective clients who have very little knowledge of, or experience with, the legal field.
Empowering prospective clients
One of the hallmarks of excellent client service centers on being able to provide the information and answers a prospect needs to make informed decisions. Below are five common questions that attorneys should be prepared to answer:
- How much experience do you have in this area of law? A prospective client is likely facing a situation they haven’t dealt with before and they want to know that you have the experience and knowledge to help them. Your website, social media presence and paid ads should include information about your background, experience, the types of matters you handle and how you work with clients.
- Do I have a case? Even with a vast array of Internet resources, most legal consumers still aren’t quite sure what to make of their own situation. In response, you should be prepared to discuss whether your firm offers free consultations and, if so, what is included in that consultation.
- Do you offer payment plans? According to a recent Thomson Reuters and FindLaw legal consumers survey, the average small or solo law firm client pays roughly $2,000 for legal services and, in most cases, pays by check in one or two installments. These statistics highlight the importance of catering to clients who haven’t budgeted for unexpected legal costs. Also, make sure payment information and options are prominently displayed on your website and in business listings.
- What happens if I lose? Most legal consumers are fearful of what may happen if they don’t win or prevail in their matter. While you can’t answer this question without taking a case and knowing all of the facts, it’s good to have a generic response prepared. Something like, “It’s hard to predict any sort of outcome until we’ve talked more about your case and the specific circumstances, but if you hire me, I can lay out possible outcomes for you,” works well.
- Why are you the right lawyer for me? The answer to this question is your elevator speech. Even if you believe you’ve built a robust digital brand that convincingly answers this question, prospective clients are still likely to ask it. In response, prepare a very short summary of what makes you the right option. Two or three sentences should suffice. Anything longer than that may come off as boasting or desperate and turn off prospective clients.
In the end, you won’t be able to anticipate or have answers to every question prospective clients ask. However, having an idea of the questions they are likely to ask and having prepared answers can help you connect with prospective clients, meet their needs and win them over. FindLaw has a wealth of helpful resources available.
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