CREATING A CULTURE OF “WOW” FOR YOUR CLIENTS
(How to Build a Raving Fan Base)
For some crazy reason lawyers think their job is to deliver a great result for their client. In the world of personal injury, this means a big settlement or verdict that will pay for your client’s loss of income and future medical bills. Yes, of course it’s your job to deliver a great result (i.e., settlement or verdict) for your client, but is that all you’re doing?
Doing a great job for your client is just par for the course. Your clients expect a great result and assume they can get the same result from any other lawyer. A great result for your client doesn’t really differentiate your law practice from the other lawyers in your town.
So what can you do to deliver a “WOW” experience to your clients? You want to deliver an experience that is so good and unique that your clients will rave about you to all of their friends and family—not just during their lawsuit, but long after it’s over too. Your goal should be to create loyal fans for life that will refer new cases to you over the rest of your career.
A Powerful Welcome Package Unlike Any Others
You’ve heard this a million times: the first impression means everything.
When a new client hires you, you can start with a nice “welcome” card that contains a brief biography and a photograph of your paralegal and legal secretary (SendOutCards.com is a great way to automate the mailing of cards). A few personal quips about your staff to liven it up add a nice touch and you can humanize your staff by showing what they do in their spare time, i.e., working in their garden. Now, your clients can put a face to the person they are dealing with and you and your staff should hand-sign the “welcome” card.
“Reasonable quality and service are an expectation, not a tiebreaker.”
Jack Trout, Differentiate or Die
Barry D. Kowitt, Esq., a premier traffic defense lawyer in Plantation, Florida, has a cool video that he sends by email to new clients that answers their “top 10” most frequently asked questions. Just think, with this simple step you just answered most of the questions posed by new clients…and you didn’t even have to speak with them! And the beauty of creating a “welcome” video for new clients is that once you’ve created the video, you’ve got a powerful “wow” package that will last for your career.
A “Shock & Awe” Package that Will Knock Their Socks Off
But don’t stop there: starting a relationship with a new client should begin with a “shock & awe” package that knocks their socks off—yes, a collection of written and multi-media materials, i.e., audio CD, articles, firm brochure, etc., that they’ve never seen anywhere else. Your clients leave their first meeting with you with a nice package of materials that answers every question they have…and saves you a bunch of time answering their questions.
“There must be a culture created of wowing clients.”
Scott Martineau, Infusion
By way of example, we give all new clients a package that includes:
- My book, The 7 Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims,
- An audio CD, How to Win Your Lawsuit Against a Doctor, and
- Articles consisting of John’s 3 Rules of Communication, Your 8 Basic Rights: How to Make Sure Your Lawyer is Doing his Job, and Our Rules for Protecting Your Privacy and Confidentiality.
In one foul swoop, the new client just learned all about the office procedures, the mistakes that they should avoid and what they can do to protect their rights. Pretty cool! But more importantly, this package of “WOW” materials is sending a message to your clients that screams, “You hired the right lawyer!”
And even if you don’t have time to create a “shock & awe” package, right now you can write the list of Ten Most Frequently Asked Questions and the Ten Questions that You Should Be Asking Your Lawyer. This will only take a an hour or so and once you’re done, your graphic designer can dress it up and you now have a couple of great articles that you can use for your “wow” package. It’s not hard to do, and one thing is clear: this simple step of creating a “wow” welcome package will differentiate you from every lawyer in your town, and maybe your state.
Be a Hero to Your Clients
You’re off to a great start with you “wow” welcome package, but don’t stop there. You want to knock your clients’ socks off and the only way to do that is by BEING DIFFERENT!
Ed Hill, CFP, an excellent financial planner in Kingston, calls me on my birthday. Okay, this takes a couple of minutes and most of the time Ed just leaves a voice message, but whom else is doing this? No one! And that’s precisely why you should.
“When most people don’t do something simple that can great benefit their brand, when you do it, no matter how basic it is, you look like a hero.”
Peter Shankman, Customer Service
How about sending birthday and anniversary cards to your clients? Your card might say, “You’ve been with us for 6 months—just wanted to say ‘thanks’.” Pretty cool way of differentiating you from every other lawyer in your town.
Grass-roots “WOW” that Your Clients Will Never Forget
Here’s something that no lawyer does (and precisely why you should): a CLIENT APPRECIATION PARTY. Just once a year, invite your current and former clients to a dinner party at a local restaurant and wine and dine them (the more casual, the better). You will be amazed at the gratitude of your clients, i.e., “We didn’t know you thought of us as friends” and you just created raving fans that will send new cases to you for the rest of your career. Try this one time, and you’ll swear it was the best thing you’ve ever done for your law practice.
Don’t have a few extra bucks for a client appreciation party, try this: block out one day a month from your calendar just to call your clients to say “hi” and update them on their case. Even if there is nothing to report about their case, your clients will love hearing from you. This random act of kindness always works—your clients will be effusive in their gratitude for your phone call and your phone call builds a stronger bond with them.
Don’t have money in your budget for a monthly client newsletter, then send a letter to your clients once every six months with an update about you and your law firm—a kind of “here’s what we’re up to” letter (i.e., speaking engagements, trials, settlements, things you’re crossing off on your bucket list and personal stuff like your vacation to Disney World). Your clients and friends will love hearing what you’re up to and it’s a nice way to strengthen the bond with your clients. To add a nice touch, ask your paralegal and secretary to sign the letter.
Making “WOW” a Part of Your Firm’s Culture
Touch base with your clients at important milestones in their case. Start by identifying a number of touch points with your client, i.e., the filing of the lawsuit, scheduling of a trial date, etc., and then touch base with your client when you reach these milestones. You might even automate the process through email updates at important milestones of their case (Chapter 10 of The Power of a System has our nurture campaign for following up with clients).
Taking this one step further, Finkelstein & Partners, LLP’s website has a client portal that allows their clients to access parts of their case file when they want to check the status of their case and automatically sends updates to clients via email when there are new developments. Very cool and a fantastic way to automate follow up!
Celebrating Great Moments of “WOW”
You’re just one person and you can’t build a culture of “WOW” alone. So give your paralegal and secretary permission to send handwritten notes and special “thank you” cards to your clients…without asking for your permission. That’s right, let them take chances and spend a little of your cash—even a small gift like a box of David’s Cookies won’t soon be forgotten by your clients.
But you’re not quite done yet: review each member of your team and rate their level of “wow”. Have some fun celebrating great moments of “wow”—your staff will love you for it and their success will get you on your way to building a culture of caring unlike any other law firm.