5 Top Tips On Retaining Your Legal Clients And Market Position
- March 21, 2023
Even after a tumultuous couple of years during and following the Covid-19 pandemic, 2023 also brings with it certain challenges for law firms.
Economic pressures, talent retention, and for many, adapting to the permanency of hybrid working are all factors that make business-as-usual still pretty unpredictable.
And, as well as a necessary focus on retention and recruitment of employees, law firms will no doubt be conscious of their business strategy, growth plans, and the retention of their client base.
It goes without saying that earning a client’s trust is paramount to the success of your law firm.
Additionally, you work hard for your clients and to maintain and build your legal professionalism. Retaining clients and your place in the legal marketplace requires strategies to help build relationships and keep those clients coming back to you as their firm of choice.
Client retention means you can avoid spending a lot of valuable time in marketing your law firm to earn new business. Also, happy clients who return to your firm may even provide a lead to additional work if they recommend you to others in their network. This can be a huge boost, especially if they have wide-reaching connections.
So, how can you help retain those valuable clients and increase your repeat business, thus placing yourself well ahead of the pack with a continued focus on growth? Here are our five top tips that could accelerate retention levels and see your firm’s reputation rise.
How often do you hear clients complaining that their solicitor doesn’t return their calls, or that they don’t know where things are up to in their case?
Your clients want to feel valued, and it’s easy to make them believe their business is important to you. Start by returning their phone calls or emails. You can delegate some of this work if necessary, but if correspondence requires your personal attention – make the time to address it. This could be as simple as setting aside a specific time each day and blocking off your diary to give you space without interruption to answer clients’ questions.
2. Be Honest
Things don’t always go to plan. It’s critical for your legal team to be able to handle bad news, as well as good, and deal with unexpected results.
Therefore, it’s vital to be clear with your client that you can’t guarantee results. Managing potential outcomes can be tricky, but preparing your client from the start will make results easier to handle.
Remember that your clients have come to you at a time that they need assistance – it could be any one of several challenging issues in their personal or professional lives, and they will want to hear positive news from you.
But honesty is essential. Don’t be tempted to give false hope and be clear that there may be problems or even a negative outcome if you believe this to be the case.
It’s also essential, to be honest about your performance as a provider of legal services. For example, if you are late with documents, admit it. If a client discovers you were untruthful about a small issue like late documents, they will doubt you over more significant issues. Aim to protect your firm’s integrity in all circumstances.
3. Bill Clients Accurately
Overbilling or charging in a way that was not clearly demonstrated initially to the client will not help establish your firm’s professionalism.
Therefore, invoices should always correctly reflect the work done. Time tracking and billing software can help your firm create accurate bills, avoiding unhappy clients who believe they have been overcharged, and resulting in faster payments and higher levels of customer confidence in your firm.
Additionally, you may wish to offer various billing options such as fixed fee, hourly billing or flat fees for services – clients have different preferences, and to keep ahead of the pack it’s a good idea to consider offering different options. Being agile in this way could be the difference between keeping and losing a client.
4. Remain Professional
Of course, the most critical aspect of retaining clients and gaining market position is to complete the legal work you have taken on; providing services that are effective and offer value to your clients.
Meeting deadlines, employing skilled solicitors, and handling cases efficiently will ensure clients recognise your professionalism and return to use your services again – as well as recommend you to others.
Equally pivotal to ensuring your law firm remains relevant is to keep all your employee’s certifications up to date, and make sure you stay informed about legal changes and court decisions.
5. Consider Diversifying
It may seem a bold move, but diversification can give you an advantage over competitors and place you ahead of the curve. Addressing the ‘where’ and ‘how’ to scale your law firm should be considered carefully and will be dependent on your current position – both geographically and in terms of client base and marketplace.
Dramatic strategy changes may seem radical, and remaining credible is paramount, so you may wish to consider small steps if looking to increase your service offer. If you choose to consider this route, a good place to start is by re-examining your strategic plan to highlight areas you could develop as well as ensure you are on the right track for success.
Following these top tips will help you create better client retention, enhance your reputation and keep you one step ahead of the competition in a crowded legal marketplace.
If you’re reading this article because you are looking to develop your legal team, we’d love to be part of that conversation.
Don’t hesitate to call one of our regional or practice area specialists on 01772 259 121.
About Clayton Legal
Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals, and legal IT personnel to practice managers.
If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.
If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest Salary Survey & Market Insights Report Here.