by Linda Oligschlaeger
In the legal business, it goes without saying that quality legal advice and representation is very important to clients. However, the legal business is also heavily service-based, which means even if the client had disappointing results with their legal matter, the firm can still maintain a high client satisfaction level because of the excellent service to the client.
Studies show that it costs seven times more to bring a new client to the firm than it does to keep a current client and have that client send you referrals. Firms who live by a very specific Quality Client Service Standard will set themselves apart from others. Word-of-mouth about the firm's professional and courteous service will make its way through the community.
A Quality Client Service Standard is a definite routine that the firm lawyers and staff use to interact with clients and provide services. It's a commitment to providing exemplary service in a courteous manner. It can be simple and uncomplicated. Most of the elements of the standard are the basics of courteous service that oftentimes are lost in the day-to-day routines of busy work schedules. There are countless law firms who can provide legal services, but that number narrows when quality services are coupled with the highest degree of courtesy and professionalism.
Each firm should customize their own standard depending upon the type of practice, the number of employees, and their own philosophies. In considering the development of your firm's Quality Client Service Standard, you might consider having a friend call your office as a new client to see what kind of impression your staff makes on a potential new client and if s/he was treated with courtesy. Here are some elements that could be a starting point in developing a Quality Client Service Standard:
How to implement and practice a Quality Client Service Standard
Involve staff in developing your Quality Client Service Standard. Train new staff members or lawyers so everyone is well aware of the standards. Your QCSS should be in writing and revisited at least annually. Schedule a meeting with staff during lunch or before or after regular office hours to review. You may consider displaying the key elements in your QCSS in your office waiting area as a constant reminder and to let clients know of your commitment to courteous and quality service. Or, you may include a copy of your QCSS in the client's folder to take home and review.
The elements of a good Quality Client Service Standard are basically simple, but they are very important when it comes to making a good impression of your firm and maintaining client satisfaction. Busy and stressful days in the office can cause courtesy to slip, but when a strong commitment is made to live and practice the standards every day, they become good habits that become second nature.
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