Client service = Value creation

A key focus of your practice must be client service, not just to retain current clients (though that’s critical) or to expand those relationships (though that’s desirable) but also to create a positive experience for your clients, one that may help to build your reputation.

Client service creates client experience, and client experience creates value for your clients. As you build value for your clients, you will also build the value of your practice. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle. I’ve written extensively on client service and value creation (see here, for example, and here and here), but sometimes you need a quick checkup as from this summary article, The Ten Commandments of Customer Service. Almost all of the “commandments” are relevant, but a few deserve a highlight.

1. “Know who is boss.You are in business to service customer needs and you can only do that if you know what your customers want.” Though I must add that in practice, the client is not necessarily the boss. Sometimes your role as counselor (in egregious circumstances, your ethical duties as well) will require you to challenge a client’s request. That requires finesse, but when done appropriately it’s a beneficial point of distinction for you.

3. “Identify and anticipate needs…” Identify client service needs and create value for your clients by proactively providing useful information relevant to their needs.

5. “Help customers understand your systems.” Whether it is your system for workflow and client contact (which you may modify based on client needs) or the legal system relevant to the substantive matter, orienting your client will serve both of you well.

Take a look at the Commandments and spot-check yourself. What might you do differently to build more value for your clients?

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