Maximizing Client Experience with John Strohmeyer
Sep 09, 2021
As a lawyer, you might think your main job is to guide your clients through complicated legal paperwork and proceedings. But while clients come to you for your technical and legal expertise, they’re also expecting a certain level of client experience. Your approach and attitude can make or break their decision on whether to close the deal with you. These also determine whether or not they can come back to you for future concerns and if they will recommend you to their friends. So how can you make sure your clients are satisfied with your overall services?
In this episode, John Strohmeyer of Strohmeyer Law PLLC joins us. He discusses the importance of client experience. John also goes above and beyond as he also shares his simple practices to keep his clients satisfied. Finally, he talks about the limits of prioritizing client experience.
Tune in to the episode if you’re looking to improve and create more positive experiences for your clients.
Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:
- Discover how providing a high-quality client experience can benefit your law firm.
- Find out what good client experience means.
- Learn about the limits of prioritizing client experience.
- John is currently a tax estate planning lawyer based in Houston, TX.
- His first work experience was as a Night Manager in the Four Seasons Hotel and Resort in Austin.
- He was in charge of the whole property, with 291 rooms, 8 hours every day for five days a week.
- The hotel was designed to be a mid-range hotel that ensures each client receives the best of care.
- John learned the day-to-day of what it takes to run a big ship with his skeleton crew as night manager, and he got to oversee the hotel’s operations.
How to Look at Client Experience
- Some people get confused about what client experience is because of the differing practices of different industries. Some offer 24/7 support, while some make things magical.
- However, law firms and client experience do not work the same way as lifestyle and entertainment companies. So, taking their ideas of client experience may not be as helpful to you.
John: “Nobody goes to their lawyer for entertainment, pampering, or fun. So if we follow the lessons from Disney and Four Seasons that say, look, we need to maximize this service over the top experience, you're going to end up trying to compete with Disney and Four Seasons, and you're going to lose.”
- Listen to the episode to learn about what makes the best client experience in the legal service industry.
How to Gauge Client Experience
- Don't focus too much on sending gifts because these can be losses of investment. Instead, focus on items and services which your clients want and need.
- Personalize your services to make your clients feel cared for and special.
- Avoid over-the-top gifts and practices. Instead, go for sustainable and practical features.
John: “Nobody's going to come to you because you have a great drink menu. Nobody's going to come to you because you're offering this over-the-top experience.”
- You can still give over-the-top experiences but in moderation. Listen to the episode to know where you draw the line in providing extravagant services and gifts.
The Framework for Client Experience
- Look at how you can improve, one step at a time. Slowly integrate new technologies or upgrades to your processes.
- Your changes have to work for everyone, from your employees to your clients.
- Once your employees are comfortable with your systems, they can consistently deliver excellent services to clients.
- If you are a personal lawyer, they want to know the lawyer who's doing their job.
- Moshe finds that the problem with most law firms is communication.
Moshe: I think that before we start looking at subtleties, maybe we need to look at those bigger picture items.
Clients and Their View of the Process
- Clients come to you because you can save them time. They also approach you for your experience.
John: “We need to remember that even if we're not board-certified, or the legal ethics rules can't, won't allow us to say that we're an expert on something, that's how we present ourselves, you know. We've been here before. We are the expert sherpa, who is going to guide you to the top of Everest."
- After each first meeting, John provides their clients with a detailed plan to give them an overview. This action also helps in managing client expectations.
- The clients should agree with the plan before the lawyers should proceed.
- For John, draft planning takes about one week. John designs wills as simple, with as much information as possible at the beginning of the document.
What to Do Within the First Week of Engagement
- Lawyers have so much information to provide to their clients. John says lawyers should make the briefing and education part easy and bearable.
- Use simple words instead of legal terms.
John: “Every summer, we're definitely taking it (legal documents) down to high school level, not because it's unimportant or simple. But if the high schoolers can understand it, it's a really good gauge of being able to convey information to our clients.”
- John makes his education entertaining. His firm emails clients once a month to educate and remind their clients.
John: “You've got to make sure like flying an airplane, you're adjusting. And so you're making small adjustments as you go, and not large job major shifts.”
How to Get Feedback
- Asking your clients, "How was your experience?" won't engage them. Usually, they'll answer with a generic statement like "It was fine" or "Great service."
- Listen to the episode to know how you can change this question to engage your clients and receive honest feedback.
- You can also gain feedback by checking in on clients while the legal process is ongoing. This can help you make adjustments to make their experiences better, real-time.
John: “It's, you know, ‘how are things going’ kind of probe but don't interfere and don't slow the process down. For me right now, I know that my clients are busy, and our job is to move the needle for them. We want them getting those documents in place, so that their plan is in place to avoid the messes they don't want their families to have to experience.”
- You also have to ensure that getting a review doesn't get in the way of your client finishing their side of the work.
Other Factors Affecting Client Experience
- Each business sells a product. This product is a combination of physical traits, technical components, and service components.
- Technical expertise should always go first. But you shouldn’t neglect client experience.
- Positive adjectives, like fast, smooth, clean, and easy, leave positive impressions on prospective clients.
- John reminds us not to get distracted with over-the-top, wow moments.
John: “Service is not just how you deliver to your clients. It's also how you deliver your work experience to your employees.”
John’s Parting Advice
- His podcast is about what law firms can learn from Disney, Four Seasons, and other entertainment and lifestyle companies.
- If you have a law firm, remember how you have so much freedom.
- Make sure you're picking the right clients as well.
- His website has details that let people know who he is, how he works, and how he behaves. These details invite the type of clients he wants.
John Strohmeyer is a tax and estate planning attorney with a particular focus on international and foreign law. He is board-certified in both tax law and estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Before studying for the legal profession, he spent years as the night manager at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin.
Throughout his experience in such a job, he has learned how to deliver the best client experience. Now, he applies these learnings in keeping his clients satisfied and thankful for Strohmeyer Law PLLC’s services. John focuses on making things easy, not just for his clients but also for his employees.
He also shares his knowledge and insights on customer practices through his podcast, Five Star Counsel Podcast. This podcast also stars guests who talk about inspiring practices from Four Seasons, Zappos, Disney, and the like. You can also learn more about his practice through his website and Facebook.
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