The personal touch. We hear about it all of the time, but what exactly is it? The question is particularly pertinent when one practices disability income insurance law.
A recent post by Dr. Len Schwartz on the Pro2Pro Network, cite, reminded us of the little things we can do as lawyers to make our clients feel better about us and for them to have more confidence in how we handle their matters.
Dr. Schwartz, who has a wealth of ideas for how small businesses and professional practices can raise their “notice” factor, suggested to his followers that they make a first visit nighttime call to a new patient or client, asking if he could enlarge on or clarify any material they had discussed earlier that day.
He pointed out such calls would have two primary effects:
One effect would be to stimulate word of mouth about you. (After all, who ever heard of a lawyer taking the time to be certain a new client understands what is going on?)
The second effect would be an opportunity to get the relationship off to a great start. It would pump up the relationship and give the lawyer an opportunity to greatly improve the connection with this client.
The suggestion by Dr. Schwartz reminded us of the rare experiences we have had with doctors and dentists who had the interest and courtesy to call us the evening after
a painful or long procedure to ask us how we were doing.
Just the thought that this professional, who is very busy, took the time after a long and busy day to inquire about how we were feeling, put that professional head and shoulders above the others. The doctor took the time to call, ergo, he or she really cares!
This resonated with us on two levels. The first was that lawyers don’t do this with long-time clients, let alone new ones, even when they have discussed a complicated legal question during the day’s visit. From our own experience, it struck us, on reflection, that no matter how well we thought we understood the topic of discussion, when given time to think about it, further questions came to mind.
We all have had unpleasant medical or dental experiences. Sometimes, though rarely, a dentist or doctor will call in the evening of such an experience to ask how we are doing. When that happens, the rough edges of the day’s experience start to smooth and we have a warmer feeling toward the doctor or dentist who calls. We think- he or she cares and wants to help.
Why shouldn’t the same apply to lawyers? Our work doesn’t usually deal in physical pain. But, most of the time there is a load of mental pain and anguish for our clients. Why wouldn’t our call to a new client or an older one after a conference, with an offer to clarify any questions they might have, have the same value to that client?
Attorneys should develop this personal touch. When they hear the gratitude of clients for taking the extra time to try to help, it will make them feel better about what they do and how they do it.
If an attorney needs more reason to make that call, the lawyer can be sure the client will talk to others about the call. And, that can’t hurt.
However, there is one caveat: Make certain the client knows you are NOT billing them for your time on the call!