How to lose your legal clients
21st October 2014
In the competitive sector that is law, it has never been more paramount to ensure that your client retention rate as a law firm is as stable as possible. With an increasing number of firms offering competitive rates on legal advice and going the extra mile for their clients, reputation and luck are no longer enough to keep your clients.
In this latest guide we look at all of the pitfalls that law firms can encounter when it comes to client relationships and shows you how to lose your clients in order to illustrate how to go about legal recruitment and training of your staff. This ensures that your clients stay happy with your customer service and, in turn, your firm. These points can be applied to all legal professionals from those who possess locum family solicitor jobs right through to company secretarial, so no matter your position it is well worth a read.
1. Don’t communicate
One of the major points that sees firms lose clients is an aspect that affects every business. Communication is a vital part of working life, whether that be from lawyer to lawyer or firm to client. In order to make sure that you don’t lose any clients as a result of poor communication, ensure that your offices are as accessible as possible.
Use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn so that it is possible to get in contact with your firm via several channels. Make it as easy as possible for the most important individual in this chain – the client.
2. Give poor customer service
Much like communication is vital to all businesses, not just the legal sector, law firms can learn a lot from other areas of business in how to retain clients.
Customer service is a big part of sales and it is an area where it is particularly easy for a lawyer or firm to lose clients. In any area where an individual or business is paying money they expect good customer service, and if you are able to engage with your client and exceed their expectations you are far more likely to establish a good relationship that will encourage loyalty from your clients.
3. Be overpriced
Like anything, money is a key factor in securing business. If a client feels as though they have received good value for money because you have provided good customer service and legal advice at a price that is either on par or below the average billing model, then you are likely to build a good reputation among clients.
While charging by the hour is still regarded as the most frequently-used method by lawyers, it is one that has been questioned in recent years as the legal sector continues to evolve. The key here is to ensure that you communicate costings early and are as upfront as possible; if the client isn’t unpleasantly surprised by the final bill then they are more likely to act as a returning client in the future.
4. Give poor legal advice
Next to money, quality is king when it comes to maintaining good client relationships. If you are a firm, be sure to give regular training and positive employee benefits that drive good customer service.
It is important to stay up to date on legal matters and give proactive solutions to client problems, and there are plenty of CPD courses and other such material readily available online. By keeping up to date with the legal sector you are more likely to able to give quality legal advice and prevent your clients from leaving. See this previous article for resources to further your legal education and knowledge.
5. Push them to take work in-house
Finally, another way to lose legal clients that is unavoidable at times is for them to take their work in-house. If your clients consist of big companies and businesses, it is a possibility that they may start to fill permanent in-house legal jobs rather than outsource the work if this becomes a more financially viable option. In order to avoid losing clients this way is to ensure that you take heed of the points above and to ensure that you have the facilities and expertise in place that your client could not recreate in-house.
While, at times, losing clients may be unavoidable, taking heed of the above points may help establish a more uniform business and help build your reputation through word of mouth and recommendations. So be sure to implement good customer service as a part of your new-starter strategy and see that your staff instils a work ethic that puts clients first – as any good firm will know, retaining clients is just as important as gaining new ones.