24 Aug Examine the “experience.”
Summertime brings thoughts of vacations and if you haven’t taken some time off yet this summer, you always have Labor Day weekend to relax. Even while relaxing, you may think about your business goals and wonder how you will manage your practice and clients and handle any marketing tasks without losing your personal life entirely.
Think about this: one of the most powerful marketing tools for professionals is “word of mouth.” So even if you do no traditional or online marketing to attract new clients or to keep current and past clients coming back to you, consider examining your client’s “experience,” piece by piece.
If your clients have a positive experience in working with you, they will recommend you often and send you business. Guaranteed. They will do this even if you do not obtain the most positive results for them—if you are a lawyer, perhaps you obtained a settlement that’s less than ideal—perhaps the case was mediated rather than won, perhaps an appeal was denied. If every step of the process was positive, including the invoice at the end of it all, then you win this client for life. If you are an accountant, perhaps you disappointed them with a smaller refund or maybe their tax due is higher than expected. How you handle bad news as well as good news and the help you provide at critical times will make or break the relationship.
So where do you start this examination of your clients’ “experience” with you?
Start by reviewing the contents and the format of your engagement letter, review your fee structure and flexibility, and read over the educational materials you share with your client. Then review your “desk-side” manner, and get feedback from clients on how you communicate. Learn what they think about how you answer your phone. Get their opinions about your responsiveness in email or by phone and their views of your para-legal or assistant’s handling of your client’s requests and questions and their level of competency. Then examine the quality of anything in print you send or give to your clients, any document of any kind—examine it all, and ask your clients for a review. You will be surprised by both negative and positive comments they make, and every negative is an opportunity for improvement.
Every opportunity for improvement is a chance to outstrip your competition. Don’t wait until the end of the year. Do it now and get that “word of mouth” advertising working for you, not against you.