A cost of doing business that pays for itself


You have overhead. And discretionary expenses. Rent, wages, payroll taxes, equipment, advertising, and everything else, and each has it’s own category in your expense ledger.

Everything except one. Customer service.

Customer service should have its own expense category because it is clearly a cost of doing business and it should be accounted for.

The things you do for your clients–to deliver value, to give them a good experience with your firm, to “take care of them” and make them glad they hired you–has a cost.

Some money and a lot of time.

Money spent on overnighting copies at your expense, remembering birthdays and holidays, and providing extra services free of charge.

Time spent talking to clients about non-billable matters and explaining things you’ve already explained, to make sure the client understands. Time spent training and supervising your staff, to make sure they know why taking care of clients is good for business and so they are well equipped to do it.

There’s also time spent on personal development, to develop the habits and skills that make you better at serving your clients.

Add it all up and it’s a big number. Or it should be because it is a key factor in the success of your practice.

The more you give your clients, the better you care for them, the bigger your practice will grow. Clients who feel respected and appreciated are clients who hire you again and again and sing your praises to others.

Customer service also cuts down on problems. Clients who are well informed and regularly updated, for example, are less likely to call you again or complain to you and to the Bar.

Sometimes, customer service means giving clients the benefit of the doubt when they want more from you than they paid for. Sometimes it means cutting your fee or issuing a refund.

That doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to be taken advantage of or put up with abuse. It means understanding the lifetime value of a client and being willing to sacrifice a dollar today to earn $1000 long term.

Customer service is a cost of doing business. But it more than pays for itself.

Henry Ford said, “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”

Your goal is to earn more income. One of the best ways to do that is to invest in your clients.

The Attorney Marketing Formula is here


What do your clients really want?


Your clients hire you to obtain results. They want a certain outcome, a verdict or settlement, a deliverable. This post points out that results usually come at the end of the engagement and says that, “. . .clients don’t care about results most of the time, they care about the experience they’re having with you right now.”

Clients obviously do care about how they are treated by you and your staff; their experience with you is important to them. But I don’t think you can say they don’t care about results most of the time. They certainly do.

But, next to getting those results, there’s something else they care about.

They want to see that you made the effort.

Clients want to see that you tried. You fought for them. You did the work. If the hoped for results don’t come, most clients will accept this, but only if they know you did your best.

Your clients expect you to treat them politely and keep them informed. They expect you to be fair in your billing. Being treated well is part of the deal, part of what they get when they hire you. But being treated well will never excuse a lack of effort.

There’s two parts to this:

  1. You have to make the effort, and
  2. Your clients need to know you did.

Make sure your clients see your work product and understand everything you do. Paper them, inform them, explain to them. Show them you did everything you could to obtain the results they want. That’s what they’re paying you for.