It seems that every second firm I walk into these days to help with their broader marketing strategy often do client on-boarding badly, if at all.
Of course, we know what the issue is and that is that lawyers are great problem-solvers and that’s their predominant skill-set, so when they commence their consultation with the new client, they invariably jump straight into solving the problem.
We know that increasingly clients come to a law firm with multiple issues, some of which are apparent and are of relevance to the presenting problem, but of course there are others that may lie dormant at the moment, but as a legal process begins, or circumstances change, the issue comes to light and requires intervention.
On-boarding is the vital process of both welcoming the new client to the firm, reinforcing to them that they have made the right decision and then in a subtle and appropriate way, attain a broader perspective of this person and the circumstances that surround them.
Interestingly, it’s not uncommon in a diverse practice to have one or two lawyers who do this well, identifying potential legal issues that may derive from the primary legal issue and assuring the client that these issues will be effectively managed in due course because of the firm’s holistic approach to legal work. Other issues that the lawyer may see, but it’s not appropriate to forecast with the client at the first consultation, may be parked, but there is a record to prompt him or her to return to the issue in due course.
For those specialist practice law firms, not having the diversity of skill in-house provides a great opportunity to assure the client that because of your strong alliance network, you will be leveraging the specialist help of others to ensure an effective outcome.
On-boarding is a vital aspect to both providing a holistic and effective model of service and has obvious key benefits to the firm in the upsell of additional work or cementing deeper referral arrangements with key colleagues. And, don’t forget to pull together a compendium of print materials for your new client to affirm to them that they’re in good hands.