Another way your clients can help your practice grow

Will you be seeing any clients today? This week? Good. When you’re done with your meeting, ask them if they can help you out with something and tell them it will only take 15 minutes.

When they ask what you have in mind, tell them you want to ask them a few questions about their experience with you and your office.

When they agree, ask them if it would be okay if you record the conversation. And then, do a brief interview.

Ask some basic questions about why they needed a lawyer, how they found you, and what you did for them. Ask about:

  • Their background/occupation
  • The legal issue or objective that prompted them to seek legal help
  • How they found you (referral, search, other)
  • If they saw your website, what did they read, what did they like?
  • Did they talk to other lawyers before they decided to hire you?
  • Why did they choose you?
  • What did you do for them/how did you help them?
  • What did they like best about having you as their lawyer?
  • Is there anything they think you need to improve? Anything you don’t do but should?
  • Would they recommend you? What would they say about you?

And so on. You’ll think of other questions, and they’ll volunteer statements about their experience with you and your firm.

At the end of the interview, ask them if it would be okay to post their comments on your website or put them in your newsletter. Ask them if you could use their name. You might also ask for a head shot photo, or take one on the spot.

Have the interview transcribed. You might use the transcript in it’s entirety, or lift quotes from it and use them in a “client profile”.

There are several benefits to doing this:

  • It’s an easy source of content for your blog or newsletter
  • You’ll get lots of readership. Your other clients and prospective clients like to see what others say about their experience with you
  • The interviewed client will “sell” readers on hiring you, so you don’t have to.
  • Their positive comments help your other clients feel good about their decision to hire you
  • The interviewee may share your post with their friends and followers, bringing you more traffic and more clients (indirect referrals)
  • If your client owns a business, this is a simple way for you to promote that business; they’ll also be likely to share your post
  • You’ll get feedback about what you’re doing right, and ideas you can use to add value

Go ahead, give this a try. Your clients will be flattered that you want to interview them. And once you see how easy this is, you’ll want to do it again.

Could you interview one client per month? Of course you could. If you do, and you write a weekly blog post or article, one-quarter of your monthly content will be taken care of.

More ways to get your clients to provide referrals

Do you have complaining clients? That’s good!

The other night my wife and I went to a well-known Mexican restaurant. We ordered the fajitas “combo” which was billed as having chicken, steak, jumbo shrimp, and scallops.

Yummy.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t yummy, it was just okay.

I could accept that. What I couldn’t accept is that there were only two pieces of steak, two pieces of chicken, two (small) shrimp, and no scallops. None.

I told the waiter I was not happy and he went to summon the manager. He came back and said the manager couldn’t come over, he was busy talking to some customers.

I’m a customer! An unhappy one! He should be talking to me!

The waiter said he’d had other complaints about the size of the portions and offered me a free dessert. I declined and asked for the check. I told him I wouldn’t be back and I would tell everyone I knew not to come.

And I will.

Because I can.

What kind of manager won’t come to talk to a customer with a complaint? An idiot, that’s what kind.

When a customer (client) has a complaint, you must talk to him, validate him, and offer to fix the problem. You do not want a customer going away angry, ready to tell dozens of other customers about his bad experience.

You must do this, because it’s the right thing to do.

You must do this because it can stop a dissatisfied customer from spreading negative messages to other prospective customers, which will lose business and generate ill will.

You must do this because when you turn complaining clients into satisfied clients (through validation, apologizing, and various make-goods), that client often turns into one of your biggest advocates, spreading the word about how you took care of him properly when something wasn’t right.

Customers (clients) don’t expect perfection. They expect to be treated right. When there’s a problem, they don’t want it to be ignored.

And so if you own a restaurant (law firm), you definitely want to know when a customer has a problem because it is an opportunity for you. You should welcome complaints, and embrace clients who have them. They are doing you a favor by telling you how to improve.

Unfortunately most clients who are unhappy don’t complain. They just stop calling. You don’t want that to happen. You want to know if they are unhappy with your services, your staff, or you. You want to know so you can make things right for them and so you can fix the problem that is probably causing other clients to be unhappy.

At the very least, give your clients an “exit survey,” asking them to rate and review your performance. Ask them what you did well and what you could improve.

In addition, put a form on your website with language that encourages visitors to share feedback anonymously.

And, if you forget the scallops, make sure you don’t ignore the client. There are too many other lawyers who offer a good fajitas combo.

Marketing is everything you do to get and keep good clients. Here’s The Formula.