Hiring a lawyer often means confusion, frustration and misunderstanding for clients, emotions that many members of the profession seem to have difficulty perceiving. What if empathy is the key to attracting new clients?
More than one third of clients experience a sense of urgency, of which less than one quarter of lawyers are aware, according to a survey conducted by the Clio consulting firm among 2,000 lawyers and more than 1,300 clients in the United States. Four people out of ten who hire a lawyer experience frustration, but it is perceived by only 8% of lawyers.
“As lawyers, we are so comfortable with legal language that we lose sight of how strange it is to ordinary mortals,” notes Mtre. Anika Lerek on The Lawyer Daily website.
The use of legal expertise is often part of a traumatic experience for people, adds Mtre. Lerek. So pay attention to what your client is going through and show them practically how you can help them. Her divorce, job loss or debts affect her relationships with her children and those around her. She needs you, it’s up to you to prove yourself to her…
The cost-benefit ratio
Confronted with a legal problem, 60% of people request a consultation with a lawyer… who they do not hire, according to the survey.
Although may people decide not to hire a lawyer, it is for financial reasons. More than one-third believe the benefits are not worth the price required, and 30% believe that even though the results justify the price, they are still too costly… For more than one quarter of clients, not knowing the total price of a lawyer’s service is an obstacle.
Your clients’ references to friends and family are crucial for developing your network. But – bad news – people are much less inclined to recommend their lawyer than their car dealer, their computer or even their supermarket!
The reference rate for lawyers, as calculated by Clio, is more comparable to that of airlines or credit cards, not particular well known for the customer service that lawyers should be aiming for.
A bit more empathy and transparency could make all the difference.