What should a new client expect from the time they pick up the phone to call the law offices of Thomas F. Brown?
It is safe to say the caller expects a nice greeting from a person with a caring voice and not a receptionist who is just waiting to go to lunch or to go home at the end of the day. The caller does want to tell their story. They want a sympathetic ear. And they would like to tell it all to a lawyer.
We must gently get the brief outline of the story while on this initial call which is a way that gives the caller the confidence that they have called the right office that can meet their legal needs. If this is the case, we must tell them so. For instance, in the area of injuries at work, in a car wreck or in a claim for serious and total disability, I hope those staff members of mine will honestly say that I have the experience to guide them successfully through their injury claim.
Assuming the potential client now has the confidence to book an appointment after talking to a staff member for about 10-15 minutes, my staff has had the opportunity to vet the caller to be sure we can help them.
We try to bring the client in the next day after the call so they will not feel the need to keep calling other attorney offices. Some of those folks are just shoppers. We would expect a no show (for the shoppers) but give them the courtesy of some time anyway. At least 75% of the callers are being referred by other satisfied clients so I know they will show at the set appointment time. These are injured people who genuinely seeking advice. Then there are 20% who are calling because they discovered my website and have read all the great client reviews of our services. They will likewise appear. They are motivated and have determined I have the expertise to handle their legal matter. But there are 5% who are just shopping around. I do not think I could ever satisfy their legal needs. If they decided to actually come in, they would be surprised at the treatment they get.
We strive to make the initial in office experience very pleasant under the circumstances. The new client will meet my entire staff. I will be the person to conduct the initial interview. I do not delegate that task as I am responsible for their legal case. I must tell you that many lawyers in the field of injury law and especially in the field of disability law, will not meet their clients until far, far into the client's case. A few weeks ago I had a new client tell me that she had been represented by another lawyer for 1.5 years and had never met her lawyer! He apparently did speak with her lawyer over the phone twice in that time and all he would talk about is settling this client's case. In our representation of her, we are seeking another major surgery as part of her initial injury claim. So why did her former lawyer ignore this aspect of her case? The answer is twofold: the lawyer was not familiar with this client's case and all he wanted was a fee from the settlement. This is shameful.
Stay tuned for more to come in another blog about the client experience in our office.