What do clients really want?

 In Practice Management

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Premium legal servicePricing differentials

We all know from our own experiences that people will pay a premium for a special service. In other words, there is a range of price within which solicitors can sell their services. If a premium service is offered, then a premium price can be charged but if there is no attempt to differentiate on service then a client will normally buy the cheapest service available.

Are you really providing a premium service?

We all like to think that we are providing a great service to our clients. Unfortunately, whether we think the service is great is largely irrelevant as it always comes down to the client’s perception of our service, which might be very different to ours. The fastest way to improve service levels and hence to charge premium fees is to obtain client feedback. Solicitors are often worried about collecting feedback as they worry about what they might hear. Even when feedback is sought, it is often only gathered at the end of a matter which is probably too late if you wanted to use the feedback to improve the service on that matter.

It is therefore crucial that there is a more systematic approach to asking clients at the start of every matter about what it is that they are looking for in terms of service. The question “If there was one thing that we could do to improve our service what would that be?” is always a good question to pose at the initial meeting. Having heard the response, efforts can be made to meet or even exceed the expectation of the client and, as the matter progresses, you can show the client that you listened to them and that you are totally focused on delivering the premium service that they requested. Don’t forget as the matter progresses to keep asking the same question, so that clients can see that you constantly strive to improve and tailor levels of service.

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What do clients really want?

Every client will have different expectations about the service that they would like. Having said that, there are three common themes that emerge when clients are asked about service expectations, being:-

  1. Wiping their hands of the problem – for some clients it is all about being able to leave the problem with the solicitor so that they can just get on with their life;
  2. Certainty of deadline – for other clients it is all about knowing that a deadline can be achieved for e.g. settlement of a claim or purchase of a property;
  3. Financial outcome – however another concern is that some financial target will be achieved e.g. the sale of the company will generate X or the settlement of the claim will be no more than Y.

Understand service and charge a premium price

Once you know what a client wants in terms of service, make sure that you can clearly explain to the client how you will deliver on their expectations and see if they have any further questions. Now that you know you will be delivering the service be brave and quote a price that is higher than you would normally charge and see how the client reacts. This additional fee does not necessarily result in any additional cost to you, so just a small increase in price can make a significant impact on profitability.

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