Referrals from previous clients usually make the best clients, but many lawyers struggle to capture these cases. How can you pivot your marketing to create raving fans and get more referrals? The answer is to be a Memory Maker.
It’s likely your law firm has felt the effects of 2020. If your usual marketing efforts haven’t been working, you may feel like you are pushing a boulder uphill and spending a lot of money to do it. How can you get more out of your marketing dollars and get the kind of cases you want? To answer, I’m going to share the story of the most famous stuffed animal in the world: Joshie the Giraffe. Stick with me here, because this story perfectly sums up how to create raving fans and a continuous set of repeatable actions that you can scale.
“The Most Famous Stuffed Animal in the World…”
The story starts at the Ritz Carlton, a hotel known for luxury and customer service. However, if you’ve stayed at the hotel, you know it’s much more than that. All the staff is encouraged to help their visitors make lasting memories. In fact, every employee is authorized to spend up to $2,000 to resolve a customer’s problem, without a manager’s permission. This fosters a mindset throughout the entire organization to seek and find ways to make memorable moments. One little boy brought Joshie, his stuffed animal and best friend, on a family vacation to the Ritz Carlton. The boy accidentally left Joshie at the hotel. When the family arrived home and realized the beloved stuffed animal had been left behind, they called the hotel in a panic, hoping the staff could find him and send him back.
Not only did the staff find Joshie and send him back, they included swag and a photo album of all Joshie’s adventures while being away a few extra days. The album contained pictures of Joshie suntanning at the pool, getting a massage, and making friends with other stuffed animals. Wow. Did they have to do all of that? Of course not! Tossing the stuffed animal in a box and mailing it would have been over and above compared to other hotel chains. Instead, they took the time to be a Memory Maker. Did it work?
The family was amazed that a hotel would go to such lengths for them. They shared their experience over social media. Since 2012, that experience has been shared thousands of times in magazines, videos, and blogs. If you type in “Joshie the Giraffe” into Google, there are over 6,000 results. And, of course, that family became a lifetime client, raving fan, and referrer.
Memory-Making Over Your Law Firm
No doubt you would love to get the kind of return the Ritz received from your marketing efforts. As you saw, the amount of time and cost was minimal for the Ritz to make the family’s trip memorable. For you to have the same success, you will need to put systems and a budget in place, foster the right mindset for yourself and your employees, and then let your systems and employees run without interference.
Five Ways to Improve Your Client’s Experience
- The First Impression – When a potential client first calls, make sure that your receptionist or intake staff are providing a warm, empathetic conversation. Follow up by sending them a greeting card and booklet in the mail before their first appointment.
- The First In-Office Appointment – Your receptionist should greet the new client right away, offering a beverage and/or snack while filling out their paperwork. If the client has brought any children with them, provide coloring or activity books. If you have the capability of offering public Wi-Fi, do so for their convenience. At the end of the appointment, make sure they walk out with a gift bag filled with any documents they need, and a few promo items. If ethics allows, provide them with a gift card to a local restaurant or food delivery service so that they don’t have to worry about dinner that night.
- Throughout the Case – One of the biggest frustrations we hear from clients is the lack of communication from the attorney’s office during treatment. Granted, there isn’t really anything to “update” them on while they are treating. However, if you reach out over the phone to check and see how they are doing, or send a card in the mail, you create a bond with your client, and it will impress upon them your genuine care. If your client has surgery, have dinner or flowers delivered. You may even want to visit them if it is particularly severe, to show your support. Your time is valuable, and they know it. You are giving it to them in a way that will stick in their minds for years to come.
- The Final “Check” Appointment – When your client’s big day comes to get their settlement check, it is something to celebrate, whether the settlement is big or small. I’ve met many firms over the years that do some amazing things at their clients’ check appointments. Some throw a little party for the client with a cake and their staff. This not only makes for an excellent picture for your newsletter, but you can also hang your photos and make a “Wall of Clients” for others to see. Other firms go big, especially for a high-profile case, by sending a limousine to pick up the client. I would definitely call that memorable! Don’t forget to ask them to give you a five-star review while they are there.
- Staying in Touch – Even if you’ve made your client’s experience memorable, the real trick is making sure they continue to remember and refer to you for many years to come. Many of you stay in touch with folks by mailing a printed newsletter and/or birthday card. That’s great and smart. But can you take it to the next level? Host an annual or semi-annual client appreciation event or holiday party and make sure to invite past clients. Start getting involved in community festivals, giveback programs, and events, and you’ll be sure to see more and more of your clients, opening up the opportunity to continue that relationship and remind them of you and your firm.
These are just a few ways you can turn your clients into your fans and get more referrals. If you want more ideas, there is no better place to ask than your employees. They are the ones who are in contact with your clients the most and are more aware of their needs. Schedule a meeting to talk with them about their ideas and implement a few of them.
A Note for the Owner
The decision to be a memory-making law firm must start with you. It takes commitment to go the extra mile for your clients, and you need to allow your employees to do the same. Whether you choose to have your entire staff implement your strategies or one person, you must be on board one hundred percent. Set aside time each week to fulfill your staff’s needs, such as shooting a video or signing a few greeting cards.
A Note on Your Employees
If it makes more sense to dedicate the implementation of this program to one person in your firm, you should make sure they will be a good fit. How do you hire or find the right one? A good start would be to give candidates the CliftonStrength Assessment. Those who have any combinations of positivity, empathy, responsibility, or harmony could be a great start.
If all of this is making you feel a little overwhelmed, don’t fret. You don’t need to do everything right now. If you find one or two of these things are working well, GREAT!
Over time, your firm will develop a well-oiled system to making your client’s journey truly a five-star experience, which will give you a competitive advantage, leading to better results, higher-quality cases, and less reliance on Google. Just don’t expect the first few tries to be easy. That’s why it works – few law firms are willing to make that kind of investment.
If you’d like us to help you implement some of these ideas, or if you would like us to develop a customized marketing plan for you, please give us a call at Twofold Marketing. We can’t wait to talk to you!