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You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

With the ever-increasing reliance upon technology to serve clients, this research tells us there is no substitute for the human touch.

People seek legal assistance at the most difficult times of their lives, like death, divorce and debt but they also need help with exciting events like acquiring property, inventing new things, intellectual property and business growth. Business clients regard their lawyers as essential partners to both protect them from risk but also to guide them as they grow. It is hard to imagine any transaction without some emotional involvement.

We want to get to know, like and trust the people we rely upon, and we like to think that they know, like and trust us and it is therefore not surprising that 80% of respondents in this survey want to meet their lawyer and 44% saying it is vital.

The top four emotions clients feel at the start of a matter are “scared”, “stressed”, “nervous”, and “hopeful”. People suffering from stress or experiencing pressure are rarely rational. The higher the level of anxiety, the greater the need for help and reassurance and they need a mix of professionalism, empathy and reassurance from the outset.

Understanding a client’s issues is one of most important things clients want when choosing a law firm. Creating this impression is key when handling new enquiries and yet less than 50% are succeeding. It is worth reviewing your processes and the people who deal with inbound calls. Are they the right people for the job and do they have the experience and skill to display empathy, build rapport and make your firm stand out from the crowd?

Finally, it is important to focus on the positive emotions experienced at the end of the transaction, so more people walk away satisfied, thankful, relieved or delighted. The results should be more recommendations, repeat business and positive on-line reviews.

10 Top Tips for Creating Great First Impressions

1. Greeting – the importance of a friendly voice confirming their name, role and they are ready to listen.

2. Positive first response – e.g., we can help you, I can do this for you, you have come to the right firm.

3. Take careful notes to share with anyone else who may be handling the matter.

4. Ask how they would like to be addressed – i.e., first name or more formally.

5. Check spellings of names, addresses etc. and always take an email address to confirm details in writing.

6. Confirm your understanding of their requirements before quoting.

7. Avoid jargon when explaining your services and the quote.

8. Ask if they have any questions.

9. Wrap up and agree a follow up if appropriate.

10. Thank them for calling and confirm your contact information.

About the author

Clare Yates has worked with some of the very best law firms and estate agents in the country, helping them to generate more business, improve customer care, improve sales progression and to cross-sell more related services. She is an innovative trainer and communicates in a “hands on” way using real experiences to stimulate empathy and understanding.

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