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Client Retention for Law Firms

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Law firms should understand that client retention usually has more profound impacts on the firm’s revenue than marketing efforts to gain new clients.  Client retention should not be neglected.  You need consistent efforts and new creative ways to keep the clients you have because they are a large source of the firm’s revenue.  Small changes intended to delight your clients can increase revenue as a result of greater loyalty toward your firm.

There are reasons that you could lose clients outside of your control such as a client business relocating or going out of business.  But feel free to contact clients you lose, as they have nothing to lose in telling you the truth about your service offerings.

Reason Why Clients Stay With You

1. Provide Great Legal Services
Poor service is probably the top reason why clients do not use a firm in the future.  Many client will not let you know that they are dissatisfied.  Failures in service can happen at any point with a client, from the initial meeting to the final bill.
What to Do:

  • Find a resolution for every client issue that favors the client.  Handle any complaint quickly and efficiently.
  • Provide staff training on how to handle client issues.
  • Perform an after engagement survey of clients (at least a phone call) to find out if there were any issues that affected them not to their satisfaction so that they could be improved for the next time.

2.Excellent Client Experience
It is not always about legal services.  If they have a billing issue, the law firm office is messy or if appointments keep getting switched then that could make the client very unhappy  Make sure that they have a great experience with your firm in all areas.
What to Do:

  • Have an outsider go thru the client experience and write up any issues that can be corrected or improved.
  • Review client surveys and feedback for areas of improvement.
  • Talk to your close clients, who won’t be afraid to tell you the truth, and ask them what can be improved.

3.Setting the Right Expectations
Assist the client by letting them know right from the beginning on what to expect.  If the start of the engagement process is confusing or nonexistent, then the client might get frustrated and leave, immediately or after the 1st engagement is complete.
What to Do:

  • Provide client with a dedicated person at the firm or lawyer to guide them through their legal services journey.
  • Use client feedback or surveys to uncover common friction points and change provided information to eliminate those friction points.
  • Have a welcome new client packet (paper or online) that will explain the process, especially billing, who to contact and what is expected of them.

4.Constant Communication
You need to stay top of mind and regularly check in with clients to keep them informed on your firm, its service offerings and developments that could affect them.  If communication drops off and there is no development in the relationship, the client might wonder if your firm should be used in the future.
What to Do:

  • Show engagement by attending events that clients might attend, visiting clients at their place of business or inviting them to events (golf, sporting events, concerts, etc.) that might interest them.
  • Host live events on specific topics or online events (webinars) that might interest your clients and make sure they get invited to these events.
  • Send out a monthly client newsletter and have a blog.  Create high-value content that targets existing clients and helps them be successful.

5.Pushing Too Hard
Your clients are going to use your firm for a specific reason: they have a problem and they are looking for a solution.  Once they have a solution, they won’t need another one until they have identified another problem.  That means you can not just motivate them with aggressive marketing tactics.  When the majority of you interactions with a client involve attempts at upselling them you can expect to lose some clients.  It won’t take them long to find a competing law firm.
What to Do:

  • Make sure your content outreach is no more than 20% promotional with the rest being content that has educational and informational value to the clients.
  • Track the open and click-through rates of newsletters; if those numbers are falling, then that indicates you’re pushing too hard and losing engagement as a result or your content is not valuable.
  • Train staff on providing value to clients and how to build relationships.

Conclusion

All law firms lose clients.  But make sure you don’t lose any clients over anything you have control over.  Know why you lost every client.  Always be improving your services and client experience.  Segment your at-risk clients and develop strategies for fixing the causes.  In many cases, you’ll make small, incremental adjustments that are easy to deploy and will go a long way toward delighting clients.

What are some of your firm’s approaches to client retention?  How do you keep your current clients coming back for more?  Share your ideas with me in the comments.

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