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“The customer is always right” is not a particularly popular mantra amongst lawyers, perhaps because the nature of the work involves professional guidance which may sometimes run counter to what a client thinks is “right” or challenges their way of doing things. However, good customer service (or client satisfaction, if you prefer) is a crucial ingredient for any successful lawyer-client relationship.
Rather than “service with a smile” [or insert any other customer service cliché you can think of here], the measurement of client satisfaction is primarily correlated with practical outcomes. Developing soft skills such as good listening techniques, the avoidance of legalese, and timely replies will give you the edge, but only if favourable results are achieved; if you lose your client’s case a friendly approach will only go so far!
Speaking at an event marking the publication of a survey which noted the growing importance of “customer service” for clients choosing a lawyer, the former legal ombudsman Adam Sampson (before he resigned over controversial travel expenses) told lawyers that modern clients “don’t need what’s in your head because they can find it [on the internet] … What they need is for you to interpret, package and systemise that knowledge, and to help them deploy it in the interests of what they’re trying to achieve.” This was an interesting observation of the changing face of the legal sector, where
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