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The Ultimate Differentiator for Injury Lawyers: The Extraordinary Client Experience

Word-of-mouth is the ultimate marketing tactic.  When you do something that it unexpected and just a little beyond the call of duty for your clients, they will be goodwill ambassadors for you that will blow away any form of traditional marketing (i.e., radio and TV ads).

That’s right, just little things, like calling your client to wish him/her a Happy Birthday, or calling a client out of the blue to update them about their case. These “random acts of kindness” build rapport and goodwill with your clients that money can’t buy and they separate the great lawyers from mediocre

                                                      2 Lawyers Delivering a WOW Experience

Joe O’Connor, Esq., in Kingston, NY, bought 8 summer golf passes for college students who could not afford to golf at the expensive country club.  Joe didn’t get an immediate payback for his magnanimous gesture, but guess who’s been talking about his generosity the entire summer?  8 college students talk about Joe every time they hit the links, and their friends are spreading the word that Joe is a great guy.  Joe didn’t advertise his good deed, but his fan base is growing…and who will these students recommend when their friends or family need a personal injury lawyer?

“An elevated experience creates ‘brand evangelists’—customers who will go to their peers and sing your praises.”

Mark Sanborn, Fred 2.0

Peter Barber, Esq., in Albany, NY, provided pro bono services as the guardian for a severely disabled 18 year old in Schenectady.  Peter doesn’t care about making a buck for his time, but he’s doing what’s right and the Surrogate’s Court Judge in Schenectady, NY bragged to a courtroom full of lawyers about Peter’s good deed.  Maybe Peter doesn’t get paid for his time on this case, but his fellow lawyers know he is the lawyer you want for you next referral.

                                                       Creating a Rare Experience for Your Clients

Here’s a crazy idea: set aside 2 hours during a busy workday to thank them for the opportunity to represent them.  Maybe you ask a couple of clients to lunch with you and your staff just to get caught up—no lawyer talk allowed! Your clients will love that you care about them as a friend.

“To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means do something a little unconventional and innovative.”

Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness

Give your receptionist carte blanche to send brownies or flowers to your clients whenever she wants. Your clients will love the unexpected favor and your bond will grow with every “WOW” you deliver.  Get everyone on your staff involved in adding personal touch points to your clients’ experience—this could be as simple as calling a client to say “hi”.

                                                       Will a WOW Culture Work for You?

Zappos, the online shoe retainer, created a business model based upon random acts of kindness.  Zappos’s policies include:

  • Free shipping with surprise upgrades to overnight shipping and free unlimited returns, creating fiercely loyal customers;
  • A no-questions asked, 365 Day Return Policy; and
  • A policy of referring customers to their competitors when they did not have the shoe the customer wanted

Zappos’s WOW culture created a base of raving, loyal customers who refused to buy shoes from anyone else.  And the results speak for themselves: Zappos was created in Tony Hsieh’s garage 7 years ago and was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2012. Not bad for a small company in Las Vegas that had little cash and had to scratch and fight for new customers who were resistant to buying shoes online.

                                                   Instilling the WOW Culture in Your Law Firm

Sounds great, but you’re crazy busy and don’t have 2 minutes in your workday for this WOW stuff.  Fair enough, but you can get started by buying the books, Fish! and The Fred Factor and asking your staff to read them.  Ask your staff to read these books by a certain date and then meet to discuss the books and the ways you can implement the WOW experience into your law firm’s culture.

“Make WOW a verb that is part of your company’s everyday vocabulary.”

Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness

You’re just getting started.  Whenever a member of your staff delivers a WOW experience (even little, minor acts of kindness) have them report this to your team and then celebrate!  You might write down the random acts of kindness on a whiteboard in your conference room for all to see, or give the staff member a $50 gift card for their favorite restaurant. Find some way to celebrate each WOW experience and build momentum for the WOW culture you’re creating.


photo credit: 07.03.2012 Remodelación del Archivo Gral. de ANSES via photopin (license)

Leave a comment below telling me what surprised, inspired or taught you the most (I personally respond to every comment). And if you disagree with my take on running a personal injury law firm, or have a specific, actionable tip, I’d love to hear from you.