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Reversal of fortune: Client relations turn on customer appreciation

Service providers must walk a thin line when it comes to customer service. On the one hand, your clients need your services; on the other hand, they could very easily choose someone else to do the work.

Regardless of the work you put into marketing your practice, and the potential inevitability of the client's choice, you must always keep in mind that you can lose business, including potential future referrals, if you do not care for the clients that you have.

That is why client relations are so important. It is also why good lawyers take such care not only to update their clients on the progress of their cases, but also to go the extra mile to make those clients feel appreciated.

Beyond the exchange of currency, you must view your clients as human beings, and you should treat them that way, first and foremost. So, when your client comes into your office for a meeting, don't consider it as another interruption in your busy day; make them feel welcome. Thank them for coming in, whether you've requested their presence or not. And when your client wants to ask a point of clarification at the end of a long consultation, it's okay to turn off the clock. Never send a new e-mail without including some variation of "How have things been with you lately?"

Mutual respect has an important place in business relations; not only that -- it's good business to foster it between yourself and your clients.

Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published September 19, 2013

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