If you want your estate planning law firm clients to be happy, start by making your employees happy. That means everyone, from the receptionist who answers the phone and welcomes clients to the paralegal who assembles client documents and even the person in the mailroom who sends out those documents. An engaged and happy employee is productive, cares about their work and feels a sense of purpose.
Consider this scenario: one of your paralegals is feeling unappreciated and underpaid. She goes to a family gathering, where there are any number of relatives who could potentially work with your practice to create or update their wills and estate plan. But instead of raving about how much she loves her job, she is telling her family members that she’s miserable because of the simple foolish mistakes made by a colleague. You just lost potential clients and anyone they might have referred to you and you’ll never even know it.
Every employee is an ambassador for your firm. They may not know this: it’s your job to tell them.
Public perception. How employees discuss the firm, their jobs, colleagues and supervisors outside of the office or within hearing range of clients can have a big impact on the firm. If they are out at a restaurant bad mouthing you or the practice, there’s no way to know who hears their comments. Regardless of the job they hold, they represent the firm to the outside world. It is a responsibility.
Social media. This can get tricky. Your millennial employees may be posting as themselves on social media platforms of all kinds, but they are representing the firm also if their posts can be searched by their name and seen by the public. We know of an employee who thinks he has divided his posts for work and personal life but he’s wrong—and the posts couldn’t be more different. This also needs to be addressed in a policy and procedures handbook.
Marketing materials. If you use brochures, folders, promotional products (pens, coffee mugs, etc.), they only work if they are given away. If your supply closet is jammed up with custom-printed memo pads that never make it out the door, that’s a waste of space and marketing dollars. If access is restricted to minimize people taking items for their own use, we understand that. But everyone should have a supply and it should be explained that they are for marketing purposes–to be handed out whenever possible to clients and prospects.
Employees know when they are valued, and it’s not all about salary. Employees who are encouraged to take classes or sign up for webinars know that you are interested in their professional growth. This fosters loyalty, boosts employee retention rates and makes them feel proud to be part of the practice. They are happy because their work ethic and attention to detail is being recognized and rewarded. They are also happy because they feel like they are an important part of the practice.