Our contributors talk a lot about how to make the phone ring and how to get clients in the door. But what you do with those clients once you have them is more important than getting them in the first place.

Excellent client service will mean different things to different clients—which is why you should ask your clients how you are doing—but at a bare minimum, you should check in regularly.

As a civil litigator, most of my cases involve long periods of nothing punctuated by short bursts of intense activity. But I try not to let a month go by without checking in with each of my clients. Even a quick e-mail saying “nothing to report; let me know if anything is on your mind” will do the trick. Do not wait until the client calls the ethics board to complain that you are hiding things from them.

Checking in also allows you to find out whether your existing client has other legal needs you could help with. You know what problems your client is likely to have—and how to fix them. While you are checking in, ask about problems that usually creep up. If you represent businesses, ask the last time they updated their employee drug policy. If you represent consumers in debt collection, as I do, ask whether they are getting any calls from other debt collectors. You may be surprised what your client is not telling you.

Do not neglect to check in with former clients, either. They hired you once, and if it went well, they are the most-likely people to refer you new business or hire you again.

Mailing list or customer relationship management software can automate some of this, from sending follow-up e-mails to prompting you to call. I use MailChimp at the moment, but I am considering other, more-flexible options like SugarCRM, Infusionsoft, and Salesforce.com.

Make sure your clients hear from your office even if nothing is happening. If your clients are happy, they will act as walking billboards for your practice, in addition to making your job easier.

(photo: vasta)

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