Feeling more pressure from clients? Blame DIY culture.
There are thousands of career DIY-ers and digital advisors making a name for themselves by telling the world that happiness can be found in a piece of reclaimed barn wood, or that the answer to a drunk driving traffic stop is as simple as subscribing to their YouTube channel.
These self-proclaimed experts have created a massive catalog of online resources for the sole purpose of gaining clicks, followers, and likes. While that might be good for personal branding, the constant need to produce content devalues actual expertise.
The democratization of knowledge is generally a good thing. But the DIY era has created a challenge for attorneys: Legal consumers with an over-inflated sense of confidence and a diminished appreciation for formal legal knowledge and training.
Facing down an army of armchair experts
A DIY-first population doesn’t think they need professionals for most things – at least not initially. The problem appears when they finally do decide something is critical enough for them to call in the real pros. Their expectations are very high – all-knowing-wizard levels of high.
Believing they know a great deal about the topic, they come to you with lofty expectations. You studied this in school. You have the credentials. So, you must know everything.
But that’s an impossible expectation. You cannot immediately know and answer questions about every legal matter. Accurate, comprehensive legal guidance requires thorough and thoughtful research. For a client base accustomed to finding answers via three-minute videos, that’s a bitter pill to swallow.
The proliferation of DIY culture has changed the modern client service model. To meet this brand of clients’ needs, you must be quick, and you must have answers to everything. Fortunately, through a combination of existing knowledge and supplemental resources, you can be the expert your clients expect.
This one may feel like a no-brainer. You respond as soon as you can. You always have. But if you’re working with a 24 to 48-hour turnaround time, that may not be quick enough. Shifting to a 24-hour mindset will keep clients happier and reduce the number of follow-up inquiries.
Supplement your resources
The ability to respond quickly hinges upon the assumption that you have the information to relay to your client. However, you may not always have the information you need – an answer your client won’t want to hear. It falls on you to ensure that you have access to the information you need and that you can find answers quickly.
Access to information isn’t limited only to consumers. Legal professionals such as yourself also have access to tools that provide the expert information needed to build out your practice and provide clients with the information they require.
Keep the client
You might be thinking: Why wouldn’t I plan on keeping the client? When it comes down to it, though, how often are you and your firm referring out clients whose primary concerns are outside of your realm of standard practice?
That may seem like a practical and helpful response. It shows a client you’re willing to send them to someone else when it may be in their best interest. But is that just short-term thinking?
What if you had the information you needed to give those clients quality services? What if your firm could handle their needs? By continuing to add clients who may have once seemed outside of your area of expertise, you expand your practice area knowledge and become a firm that not only provides its current clients with exceptional services but meets the demands of the modern DIY client as well.