We smiled when we read the name of Diana Stepleton’s upcoming session at this year’s MILOfest:”Hugging Your Clients.” Client service is one thing, but making your clients feel they have been hugged is something else altogether. So we asked the Ruby Receptionists GM to elaborate. Here are a few smart ways you can improve your client relationships.
- Be prepared and use your resources. At Ruby Receptionists, we call this “being prepared with the right infrastructure.” For you, that might mean ongoing education, a subscription to the right online legal database, and even making sure you’re getting the right amount of sleep and taking a vacation every once in a while. You can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself, so remember that part of being prepared is your own well-being.
- Do what you say you’ll do. This might seem obvious, but there are really two steps here. First, tell your client what you’re doing as often as possible. Uncertainty breeds anxiety, and in attorney-client relationships, trust is key. Keeping your client informed and then following through on those promises builds that trust and eases your client’s stress.
- Do good and make an impact. Hopefully, you’re already doing work that is meaningful to you. If your current situation doesn’t allow you to do meaningful work all the time, is it possible to find some small portion of your time to do work that you feel makes an impact on the world? Even if it’s volunteering in your community, find some time to do work that you see as making a positive difference. At Ruby, we call this concept “fostering happiness,” and it’s a big part of our daily inspiration.
- Overthink it (sometimes). Imagine walking into your doctor’s office and seeing a plant in the waiting room. Someone has forgotten to water it, so it’s turned brown and droopy. Would that make you feel confident putting your health in this doctor’s hands? If he forgets about his plants, will he forget about your prescriptions, too? Sometimes overthinking is the right way to go. Think about all of your touchpoints, from the first phone call, to your office, to the parking lot outside your office. What hidden messages are you sending to your clients?
- Remember you’re the expert. One important customer service lesson is that clients will often present solutions rather than just tell you the problem, even though you’re the expert. Sometimes the most satisfied clients are the ones for whom you did not do what they wanted — you gave them what they didn’t even know they wanted. And you probably got there with intentional listening.
- Make it personal. In the end, remember that all work comes back to people. Focus on the impact you’re having on the people around you, and you’ll feel a greater sense of meaning and connection. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for?