Micromanage?!?! What a horrible word. The connotation is negative. When we think about being micromanaged, we are likely frustrated and annoyed. We feel treated like a child who is incapable of doing their job.
But this is different. The first time we heard the word used that way was at a Rainmaker Retreat, by our friend Stephen Fairley. As legal professionals providing services to clients in a competitive market, micromanaging your client’s experience will not only result in happy clients, those happy clients become repeat clients, or, great referral sources.
Micromanaging the client experience is mostly about managing expectations, looking at how your firm delivers service, and being willing to make changes in your approach or process for the benefit of your clients. Put simply, leave nothing to chance when it comes to the experience a client will have with your firm.
Start micromanaging while they are still prospects. Respond to inquiries timely – and completely. Don’t just answer 1 of the 3 questions they asked you. Take the time to make sure you address everything they asked you – even if the question can’t be answered without a formal meeting or more information. Just skipping the question will make you look like you don’t know or are avoiding the question. Think about how your phones are being answered. Do prospects feel welcome when they call? Is there a friendly voice on the other end of the phone? Next time you walk into the front door of your office, look around. Try to see what a prospective client would see. First impressions are a very important part of micromanaging the client experience.
Schedule follow up for prospects to happen quickly. It’s not about hounding them to become your client – it is showing that you are committed to their issue and want to make sure that they partner with the right law firm to protect their rights and interests.
Send them a retainer letter and explain the way your firm operates. How you communicate (email?) how you bill, how often you update on status, who will work on their case, what your collections policy is. And then….do what you say.
Ask your clients at every opportunity. “I see you spoke with one of our associates, Jenn, the other day. I hope you got what you needed – is there anything Jenn could have done better for you?” Clients might not tell you that Jenn seemed rushed, or unaware of recent developments in the case. But if given the opportunity – at the right time, to be heard – you will get valuable feedback about the way your team is performing for your clients. Never hesitate to ask because you are afraid of the answer.
Train your team to ask the same thing when they deal with clients. “How are we doing? Are you happy with the level of communication?” Be AWARE of the status of your cases, even when they are delegated to other trusted professionals in your office. If you are a partner or were the originating attorney for a long term client that another lawyer in your office now manages, that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up the phone and ask how the client is doing, whether they are happy with the service they are getting, and how else the firm can help.
Update your clients at least weekly, even when not much has happened on their case. Never make the client ask you for a status. At the end of the case, get feedback on how you did as a team. How was the intake process? Level of communication throughout your case? Would you recommend our firm? What would have made working with us easier?
Follow up even after a case closes. A month later, 3 months later, etc. “How are things? Need anything else? Don’t forget we are here for you no matter what the situation.”
Micromanaging the client experience will position you as a trusted advisor for your clients, and their instinct will be to call you no matter what they need. People want to do business with people they like, and, they want to feel heard. Don’t be afraid to over communicate, ask for feedback, and make adjustments to your team and your processes if the client feedback suggests you should.
Please join me for a FREE webinar on November 15 @ 1PM EST for a quick 30-minute overview of how to micromanage your clients' experience.