“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” So said U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.
Client care is comprised of genuine concern, smart solutions, excellent work, and sterling service. Each trait is paramount to a healthy and thriving legal practice. So why is so much focus placed on things about which client’s don’t care?
Best to spend time and money on client-focused initiatives that make a difference to them, and cease and desist things that are of precious little consequence.
Clients don’t care:
That your firm has practice groups. Clients identify themselves by industry. So should your firm and so should you when targeting your client market.
About internal honourifics, including that you’re Chair, Co-Chair, or whatever else of a practice group. Such distinctions might be politically relevant inside the firm, but not outside. Nix them from bios, business cards and any other external material.
That your bio is extensive. Clients won’t read a wordy bio. They’ll scan it instead and miss relevant information that’s been crammed in among the flotsam and jetsam of what appears to be your life story.
Write tight. Explain how what you do helps clients. Don’t start off with academics – it’s assumed you have an education – so end with this instead. Take care not to start every sentence with your first name or, even worse, your title whether it is Mr., Ms., Dr., The Right Honourable, or HRH. It looks non-confident – a nice word for needy – so stop.
Ditch the reference to winning a medal in law school or listing client work going back to when the earth cooled. Get into the here and now. Clients want to know that you understand their industry and current issues, and can provide timely, industry-relevant, business-critical solutions that will help them today and tomorrow.
That you have office space. They probably won’t visit. You should visit them. Remove photos of empty boardrooms from your website. Those barren spaces look forlorn.
About the beauty of your website. Clients want three things when they come to your site: 1) information relevant to their industry, 2) examples of recent client work that prove expertise, and 3) to find talent relevant to them. And they want it in three clicks or less. They don’t want to dredge through a site masquerading as a digital coffee table book complete with pretty pictures and firm-fixated fluff.
About bulletins unless they relate directly to a client’s business and industry, and are 50-word blasts that fit on a single unscrolled screen of a smart phone. Include a link within the blast to a more thorough explanation if warranted. Providing an everything-for-everybody newsletter mislabeled as a bulletin irritates clients who will hit the delete key.
To be talked about in public. Like you, I’ve learned more about clients and sensitive information specific to them than I should ever know when on escalators, in elevators, and other public spaces. Lips zipped.
About your business and best interests. Clients care about their business and best interests. It’s always about them and never about you. Demonstrating genuine and thoughtful concern about your clients as people is the hallmark of lawyers who provide smart solutions and excellent work combined with sterling service – all differentiating qualities about which clients will always care.
Heather Suttie is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on legal market strategy and management of legal services firms.
For 25 years, she has advised leaders of premier law firms and legal service providers worldwide — Global to Solo | BigLaw to NewLaw — on innovative strategies pertaining to business, markets, management, and clients.
The result is accelerated performance achieved through a distinctive one of one legal market position and sustained competitive advantage leading to greater market share, revenue, and profits.
The effect is accomplishment of the prime objective — To Win.