It’s hard enough to keep clients happy when their case is going well; it can be a nightmare when things go south.
The key is to build a solid base of trust and compassion on which the attorney-client relationship rests. If that foundation is secure, it will withstand tough times.
There are four essential elements to building a trustworthy brand, according to research from Harvard Business School:
- The law firm must deliver a product or service on time, with technical authority, and in a way that makes clients feel confident in their choice of attorney.
- The law firm must communicate its company mission and interests beyond the balance sheet. What are the values that drive your firm beyond financial results?
- The law firm must develop business methods that are equitable for employees. Are you treating your team well and communicating transparently with the public?
- The law firm must create positive outcomes through its practices and actions.
In their new book The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It, a pair of Harvard Business School researchers highlight companies that have either successfully earned the trust of consumers or have made a mess of it. They use case studies to offer suggestions on maintaining customer trust and loyalty, as summarized in the above four principles.
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How to Rebuild Trust When it Has Been Lost
The following suggestions are from “How to Regain the Trust of Your Customers” in the US Chamber of Commerce newsletter CO
- Start with a sincere apology. Studies show customer satisfaction increases up to 15 percent simply by apologizing.
- Communicate transparently. Don’t confuse matters with gobbledygook.
- Be patient. It may take a sustained history of improved behavior to make up for one error.
- Follow your client’s lead. Ask what it would take to regain their trust.
- Act quickly. Don’t let a bad situation simmer.
- Show compassion. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
- Keep your promises. Nothing will destroy trust quicker than a broken promise.
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