Lots of lawyers claim to be “results-focused.” Clients want good results, after all, and marketing yourself as one “focused” on delivering them has got to be a lot better (to clients, anyway) than being “timesheet-focused.” However, I think many lawyers who focus only on the result are hurting their clients (and their own practices). Let me explain:
Most clients get just one “result” in their matter: it could be a divorce, a home purchase, or a settlement check. Until that moment — which can take months or years to achieve — they wait. They get bills. They attend hearings. They read letters and go to meetings. But they don’t know for certain what’s coming in their case until it finally arrives.
So what do clients focus on every day while awaiting their result? They focus on the quality of their experience: Does their lawyer return their calls? Does he validate their parking or give them a hot cup of coffee while they wait in his waiting room? Does he communicate everything he’s doing on their case and bill them fairly?
And because they don’t have any “results” to share with others, they share their experience instead:
Bill: “How’s your case coming?”
Wendy: “Not sure. I’m still hoping to hit the jackpot, but my attorney is an ass and never calls me back.”
So what’s an attorney to do? Start by focusing on something more than just the quality of your clients’ results. Focus on their quality of their experience as well.
1. Looking at the chart above, realize that for every client, there are two distinct parts of their legal matter:
- The Quality of their Result (QoR) speaks for itself, and is measured by how satisfied (or unsatisfied) the client is as their matter concludes. It is the thing most lawyers claim to focus upon, but in certain instances (litigation, for example) is either pre-ordained or out of the control of both attorney and client.
- The Quality of their Experience (QoE) is the measure of their satisfaction with everything else, including how they feel about their lawyer and the service she provides.
2. Ask some of your former clients (or pull some old files and do this yourself) to map out on the grid above how they felt about your representation, making certain their “Experience” measure is for everything that came between hiring you and their result.
3. Unless everything is in the upper right quadrant, get to work.
If you’re a lawyer who delivers a great experience — even with the occasional bad result — you’re likely to see more repeat and referral business from your former clients than some “results-focused” lawyers who consistently get great results but make their clients miserable in the process.