Setting Client Expectations for Contact Between Sessions

My friend and well known Family Law expert, Lee Rosen, posted this for lawyers. I think his note is equally useful for our kind of healers.

On Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 11:03 AM, Lee Rosen <rosen@rosen.com> wrote:
Divorce Discourse
http://divorcediscourse.com

Lee Rosen on Family Law Marketing, Management and Technology
How to Set Expectations for New Clients – 2012-10-02 07:30:33-04

The client just retained you.

You’ve been her attorney for 3 days.

She’s anxious, stressed, and freaking out.

She’s calling quite a bit—more often than necessary.

In fact, yesterday she called six times.

Yep, she’s way, way over the line.

On day 1, you called her back immediately. You talked to her three times.
On day 2, you called back at the end of the day after she left four messages. You were in court, and you simply couldn’t call until you finished the hearing.
On day 3, yesterday, you watched as the six messages piled up.
You’re on overload, and you might not call her back until tomorrow.

She’s getting angry. Her stress level, which was high before this started, is through the roof now.

You aren’t happy either. This relationship is off to a bad start.

What’s going to happen with this client? Odds are pretty high that she’s going to do one or all of the following:

Scream at your staff,
Scream at you, or
Fire you and get a new lawyer.
Put Yourself in Your Client’s Shoes

How could you have prevented this? How could you have headed off this upset before it started?

You see, she has never hired a lawyer before. She doesn’t know what to expect. She has no idea how often to call or what’s really important to tell you or ask you. She’s new at this.

However, you aren’t new. You’ve done this many times before.

It’s your role in this relationship to set the expectations.

In fact, that’s what you did already. You did it on day one when you called her back immediately. You did it some more when you called three times.

You set her up with high expectations for responsiveness, and then you dropped the ball over the next two days.

Be Explicit When Setting Expectations

What could you have done differently? How could you have better set expectations?

You could have done it explicitly rather than implicitly. You could have spelled things out:

You could have told her what was important and what isn’t.
You could have told her how often it’s reasonable to call.
You could have told her how quickly you will return the call and who will call when you’re unavailable.
She’s a blank slate with no idea what to expect. You let her draw her own conclusions, and then you let her decide when she could be disappointed.

There was no reason to let that happen.

I go in for blood tests all the time. I have no idea how long it takes those people in the back in the white coats to analyze my blood.

If they tell me it’ll be 2 days until I hear from them, I wait 2 days. On day 3, I get antsy. I might call.
If they tell me it’ll take 10 days, then I wait the 10 days. I get antsy on day 11.
If they tell me it’ll take 3 weeks, then I wait 3 weeks.
You get the idea.

We have no idea what’s reasonable until the professional tells us what to expect.

You’re that professional.

Step up. Be proactive. Take the bull by the horns and set expectations you can meet.

The, of course, meet those expectations.

You’ll have a happy client.

Article from: Divorce Discourse –

How to Set Expectations for New Clients

This article How to Set Expectations for New Clients first appeared on Divorce Discourse.

Lee Rosen, 4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500, Raleigh, NC 27607, USA

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