By: Ally Lozano, CEO and Founder
Conflicts with clients happen to the best of us. When clients get angry, frustrated, or confrontation with us, many of us panic. Oftentimes we want to avoid the confrontation. However, an angry client is an opportunity for excellent customer service. (Put this in bold)
Here are a few tips to help handle angry clients:
1. Listen without interrupting
It’s natural to feel on the defensive when a client is angry and going off on you. Allow the client to talk without interruption him. Let him express his frustrations and concerns. Listen without preparing a defense. Don’t speak until the client is finished talking.
2. Take it as venting
When clients get mad it is usually because their needs are not being met in some way. Instead of taking it as an attack, view it as the Client venting to you about the problems she is having with you, your firm, and/ or her case.
As with any interpersonal relationship, sometimes we just want to be heard. Venting is a way that we make our feelings and frustrations known to the other person. By taking it this way, you can be solution-oriented.
3. Acknowledge the Client’s Feelings and Where You Could Improve
No matter how well run your law firm is, there will always be things that could be better. By acknowledging both their feelings and the ways you can improve, you can turn a heated discussion into a productive conversation.
Here’s an example:
A client is mad because she feels like you don’t return her calls, but she has never left a message so you didn’t even know she called.
I can hear that you are frustrated. I understand that you want to talk to me and you feel like I never call you back.
I would be happy to call you back because I want to talk to you and your case is very important to me. On my end, I did not know that you called because I never received a message from you.
So let’s try this- When you call and you don’t receive an answer, could you please leave a message? I promise that I will get back to you within 24 hours. Would that work for you?
By coming up with a solution that requires both of your cooperation it can help move the relationship forward.
4. Follow Up In Writing
After the meeting is over, send an email or letter summarizing the meeting. Sum up the client’s frustrations and the solutions that you came up with that require changes on both of your parts.
5. Use firing as a last resort
Many lawyers want to fire a Client when he or she gets angry with us. But if you use tip #2 and take it as venting instead of an attack, you don’t need to fire the Client. You can rebuild trust and better your communication with the steps here. Using customer service skills can salvage many attorney-Client relationships that are on the brink of their demise.
If the problems are truly unfixable then you will have to part ways. However, this should be the absolute last resort.
What tips do you have?
What other ways do you plan to jump start 2018?
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Lozano is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Lozano Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her husband and their 5 children.