Services & Pricing

12 Ways to Add Client Value

Whether you’re thinking about pricing, marketing, or the overall client experience, it all comes back to value. Clients buy the value we bring to the table, not the effort we spend. Luckily, there are simple ways to add value.

It can be hard to think like a client sometimes, but when we do, we realize that the things we take for granted – like understanding legalese or just knowing the right next step to take – are incredibly valuable to the client staring down an unfamiliar and complicated system.

Bain and Company created an exceptional resource in its Elements of Value, which distills the values consumers from all different industries buy. Here are twelve we as lawyers can provide:

Simplify – Being officers of a court system that is increasingly complex makes it easy for us to get entangled in the weeds and bring the client along, but this isn’t a forest in which clients want to see the trees. They don’t necessarily need to understand the technicalities, they just need someone to explain in simple terms how they get from A to Z.

Save Time – If we’re doing things right, we can save a client significant time by either completing tasks on his behalf or pointing him in the right direction so he can complete the task in a fraction of the time he would have spent Googling it.

Reduce effort – The legal system is nothing if not a complicated maze. Helping clients reduce the effort they need to reach their objective is empowering. It’s what they will buy every time. (Not to mention, it’s also why billing by the hour isn’t good for your business.)

Avoid hassle – Is it easy for a prospect to schedule a consultation? Or for a client to execute an agreement? Removing obstacles that cause hassle makes for a better client experience. Even removing one less click can be a value-added.

Reduce risk – This one is a no brainer, right? We talk all the time about how working with a lawyer significantly reduces a client’s risk. But do we do it in a way that the client can understand? Do we provide concrete examples of what could happen if a client goes it alone or even works with a competitor?

Reduce cost – Alight, here’s a big one. Yes, we can certainly talk about how working with a lawyer will save many clients significant cost in the long run. What we also need to consider, however, is that many of us are just too expensive. Many folks don’t have $400 for an emergency. How are they going to afford an $8000 retainer and an undisclosed total bill? Providing folks with predictable pricing is everything.

Inform – For a long time, I took this one for granted until the lightbulb went off one day. Sharing information that is basic to us is one of the most valuable services we provide. As someone brilliantly said recently, we don’t have a secret playbook. The law and the process are what they are. Explaining them to someone so that she understands, however, is priceless. It’s one of the easiest ways we can provide value without much effort.

Reduce anxiety – I don’t know about you, but I still get nervous before going to Court. So I can’t imagine what my client is feeling. Although we likely can never eliminate a client’s anxiety entirely, helping him worry less and providing a sense of what to expect can really put someone at ease.

Provide access – The number of people in this county without access to legal help is staggering. And these aren’t folks who qualify for legal aid. Many of them are well into the middle and upper-middle class. Even if someone can’t (or doesn’t want to) hire you for a full case, providing options to get some legal help is a tremendously valuable service.

Providing hope – Depending on your practice area, this can be a big one. Family, bankruptcy, immigration, and other consumer-facing areas are ones where clients need a little light at the end of the tunnel. Although we can never guarantee an outcome, sometimes just letting them know the possibilities sparks the optimism they’d lost.

Heirloom – Again, this is practice-area specific, but in areas like estate planning and even small business law, letting clients know that what they are putting in place now is an investment for future generations can mean a lot.

Quality – No one likes to buy an inferior product or service. Luckily, this is where we shine. Those brains we paid all that money for and our strategical experience often make it effortless for us to provide quality service. Where we fall short is explaining how our services help the individual client. At the end of the day, it’s not about us but about how we can help them.

Because many of us are already providing value in different ways, all we may need to do is improve the communication around them. It’s easy to forget that something as simple as providing information is highly valuable to someone who has never encountered the legal system. Emphasizing how your firm provides value directly to the client will only help increase business.

I relentlessly search for new ways to provide client value, even if it’s just a small change in how they interact with me or the firm. Beginning with the dozen categories here is a great starting point for continuing that endeavor.

How are you adding value to the client experience? What are some areas your firm is particularly good at? Where can you improve?