Have you ever experienced the disappointment of a client leaving your practice only to hire someone else to do a job you know you can do (and maybe do even better)? If you felt abandoned or were left with a bad taste in your mouth, it’s certainly understandable. But if that’s all you were left with, you may have missed an opportunity to learn something that could help insulate you from similar events occurring in the future.

Does Your Competitor Have Something You Don’t?

I recently asked several lawyers why a client might jump ship to go to a competitor. The initial responses indicated factors largely outside a lawyer’s control, for example, “the other lawyer’s fees are lower” or “the client felt obligated because the other lawyer did something nice for him.” One attorney even chimed in with “well, there’s just no loyalty anymore.” It was as if no one in the room wanted to admit that they could have had something to do with client attrition.

Upon further reflection, other answers began to surface:

  • “You’re not responsive enough.”
  • “You haven’t taken the time to understand their business.”
  • “You don’t plug into the client’s needs so you don’t anticipate issues that might arise.”
  • “You don’t connect with them personally.”

In other words, you do a good job, but you don’t go the extra mile.

Is It Because Your Competitors Charge Less?

There is a lot of talk in the legal community about increased pressure on law firms for lower fees and a movement away from the billable hour. That debate, along with changes in how the legal industry does business, is likely to continue. But if you place all the blame for client attrition on external factors like pricing and start lowering fees to keep your clients, there is no end to how low you might have to go.  Why? Because there is always someone who will be willing to do the same work for less money.

Instead, consider increasing value rather than lowering fees. Don’t simply give lip service to client service. Consider ways you can shift the way you do business to deliver exceptional client service. Exquisite, thrilling, delightful client service.

Thrill Your Clients and Send Your Competitors Packing

Most of your clients may be satisfied, but simply satisfying your clients is not enough to earn their loyalty.  Wowing your clients by delivering exceptional service and attention to their needs and concerns will win you raving fans who will view you as a trusted advisor and an integral member of the team instead of just an outside vendor or a line-item in the budget.  Once that happens, you are more likely to win repeat business and referrals.

Consider this insight from legendary leader Mahatma Gandhi: “A customer is the most important visitor on our premises, he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.”

What are you doing to thrill your clients?

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