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Meeting client expectations: Why communication is key

It goes without saying that client satisfaction is one of the most important aspects of a law firm’s success. While most firms know it, however, not all are taking the necessary steps to ensure that their clients are happy.

Research indicates that maintaining consistent and clear communication with your clients is one of the most important aspects of client satisfaction.

Here are some tips on maintaining the communication that your clients need:

Provide short response times

If a client has a question, they expect it to be answered quickly. In the Thomson Reuters Business Client Survey, 450 respondents shared their experiences working with law firms. Ten percent of respondents reported that their expectations were not met, and the most common source of their dissatisfaction was the firm’s lack of responsiveness.

Clients do not want to wait excessive amounts of time to get the answers they need. Being readily available to address clients’ needs could be the difference in the client’s decision between choosing your firm or your competitor’s.

Discuss expectations at the beginning of the matter

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many times clients are dissatisfied with services because they were never asked what they would consider a successful outcome at the outset of the matter. If you don’t know what a client is looking for, how are you supposed to deliver a favorable outcome?

Laying the ground rules and setting clear expectations at the outset helps to ensure that the client understands what to expect during the process and helps to prevent avoidable client concerns. Recognizing and honestly communicating the most likely outcomes and the limitations on what you can deliver based on the client’s demands can help prevent disappointment later on.

Set a dedicated time to check in with a client

Go the extra mile to assure your clients that you are staying on top of their cases and that their interests are important to you. Whether that means setting up a meeting or simply sending them regular email updates on their cases, making the effort to stay in touch and keep them informed will benefit both you and your clients in the long run.

Remember: while you may be handling multiple matters, this is quite likely the only legal matter your client is dealing with, and it is important to them to know what is happening.

Ask the client for feedback at the conclusion of the matter

Feedback provides your firm with the opportunity to hear directly from the client about what you are doing well and where there is room for improvement.

Having a formalized system for feedback will help you track client satisfaction. It is also important to remember to provide multiple methods for clients to share their feedback as some may not want to share any disappointment directly with you. Feedback is truly invaluable, as it will help you identify what your firm needs to do to provide better client service.

Communication is one of the most important factors when it comes to client satisfaction. The way you handle communication throughout the matter can be the deciding factor when it comes to clients returning to your firm. By developing and adhering to a client-focused communication strategy, your firm’s client satisfaction rates can improve. And, happy clients are much more likely to provide positive reviews that make your firm more attractive to new prospects.

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