I was in a car accident a few weeks back and now have first hand experience of how it feels to be in a collision, suffer injury (soft tissue damage at least), have to look for an attorney, talk to insurance companies, etc.
Although I know a lot about the legal process, I still had specific questions as a potential client. I went to different attorney’s web sites but I didn’t find the answers I was looking for.
Even though I know many attorneys, imagine the frustration level of a layman who gets into an accident and knows nothing about the legal process.
And finally, when I called an attorney to get my questions answered, I didn’t feel I was listened to, not much information was provided, the attorney didn’t make me feel empowered and in control of the situation, but instead pushed for an in-office consultation.
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Well, guess what? I got into a car accident. So now I become a client of one of you guys out there. I’m in Texas, so I won’t say who but anyways an accident attorney. So I got some feedback on it, the process itself and no it wasn’t my fault. I was rear ended actually at high speed, at night, on a highway and pushed off the road; I’m okay. I’m not saying this for sympathy. I’m saying this to give you a client’s perspective on the auto accident and the legal industry in general. So, what did I do? I went to Google and I searched different attorneys and I did have questions about what may happen.
Even though I may know a lot about personal injury or auto accidents, I don’t know nearly as much as attorneys do, especially in my state and then I have all the urban myths floating in my head regardless, so I knew not to talk to the other insurance company, actually I had become suspicious of my own insurance company because of all the attorneys that I have talked to. They called me and they wanted a statement and this that or the other. I’ve started to get the bills in from the accident. I’ve had to get a new car and all the other stuff because my car was totaled. The great thing is that because I’ve talked to a whole bunch of attorneys, I knew certain things. I knew not to talk to the other insurance company, I knew to be careful in that.
Probably nobody is on my side except the attorney and my insurance company and all that. Most customers don’t know that and what takes place in your head regardless of what you know is the urban myths and doubts and things like that. I’m not mad at the guy that hit me but then again, I’m not crippled. Luckily enough, I came out of it with soft tissue damage and I’m okay. I don’t know how I’d feel if he had really messed me up or chopped my arm off or disabled me for life and I’m not sure how that would have changed my thoughts on getting a lawyer but I guess I’m like a lot of people. I just want the money back for my medical bills. I don’t want any medical bills to come out of it.
My car wasn’t worth a lot, it was worth maybe $10,000 but I’d like to have enough money at least to get a new car and not have to deal with that stuff. There is some pain and suffering, etc. So here is my experience. I’m searching for lawyers and I’m questions about the case and I went to different several attorney websites which is kind of funny to look at from a customer’s perspective but very few of them answered my questions. There’s tons of calls to action to call me for a consultation, no fee no recovery, all that stuff. I know all that stuff. That’s great.
I know about contingency and everything but I had some specific questions about my car, about what to say to my insurance company, about how to gracefully not say anything to the other party’s insurance company that have started calling me, all those types of things. Then again, I was very disappointed. There were very few attorneys that had much of that stuff on their site. There was plenty of legalese but not much real information. If I had gotten that information, if I had become comfortable and my questions answered, it wouldn’t have pushed me off from calling that attorney. It would have actually enticed me to call them more.
So I had to call them pretty much blind and I am seeing that a lot of clients have to do the same. There’s basic platitudes on a lot of attorneys’ sites and probably on yours as well but the detailed information is missing and I’m not saying to give legal advice or any of that stuff on your site. I don’t want that but I want answers first; before I Google Dallas Injury Lawyer, that kind of thing. When you do that, you see all the same stuff, free consultation, no fee no recovery, that kind of thing. Then I called and I got the office person and not the attorney out of bat and she didn’t say Oh my God. I’m so sorry to hear about that.
She just started asking me questions and I’m patient with that and I’m answering the questions and everything and I said, alright, can you put me on with the attorney now? I want to see if I have a case or if there’s nothing here. Okay, hold on a second. So I get on with the attorney and the attorney is like How are you doing sir? I heard you had an accident and I said, you might want to take a minute because your secretary I hope made a bunch of notes, so before you ask me questions, go over the notes she made and he says No I can handle it. That’s okay. That was mistake number one. I didn’t feel like I was listened to immediately because I had to go through this secretary and then rehash the whole story which I don’t like to do..
It’s embarrassing. You feel bad, you feel stupid for being in an accident. You don’t want someone to feel sorry for you and all that stuff. So I had to rehash that whole thing. Then when I’m talking to the attorney, he’s saying we really take care of our clients, we take care of people, we’ll make sure of this, that or the other. I was asking him questions and he was like come on in for a consultation. I said, I’ll probably do that but I’ve got some questions first. He said, really the best way is to come in for a consultation and I said I understand that, I totally understand that but for me to get in the car and do this that or the other, I would really rather have some questions answered first. Can you do that?
He was like Okay. Sure. But I kind of had to fight to get him to do that. I shouldn’t have to do that. You should get all your questions answered before you even get in your car and decide to go see somebody. Why? Because the customer’s time is valuable, your time is valuable. Why even have someone in that does not have any strong intention of hiring you? That’s another piece of advice. Then I get to the office and then minor things happen after so much paperwork. It’s literally paper. Why can’t I type stuff in? Then I wasn’t told what documents to bring but then I realized that I better bring the whole bunch of documents. The police report, this, that and the other.
So I brought all that myself and the attorney is like Oh Good. I’m glad you brought all that stuff. Most people don’t. Well, doesn’t that tell you that you should be instructing people on what to bring and what to expect and all the other stuff. I ended up hiring the guy because it’s contingency and there’s not much going on. It looks good, track record and all that but I really wanted more of the personal interaction. I wanted to know, do I like this guy? Is he a jerk? Does he really seem to care or is he like whatever? That kind of thing. I explained to him what I’m hoping to get out of the case. I’m not looking for a windfall.
I’m looking to not to come out of pocket for it. I’m looking to move on and all the other stuff. So the guy did a pretty decent job but again, I definitely saw some ways for him to improve and I want this to be a lesson to everyone listening regardless of your practice area. The lesson here is the more you prepare your prospect, The more likely it is they will come into first place because their questions have been answered, because they’ve been told as much as possible what’s likely to happen. You want to do that and the people that answer your phone are your first line of defense there.
If they are not good, if they mumble, if they stumble, if you can’t hear them, if they are not prepared to empathize with the client right off the bat, whether it’s estate planning or divorce or auto accidents, remember people call your office almost always because they have a big problem that requires a lawyer. They are not calling for the fun of it, they are not calling because you are cool and they just want to talk to someone that is fun to talk to. Unfortunately, your business is problems. That’s what you do. You’ve got to realize that when they are calling, you have to show empathy right off the bat.
No matter who answers has got to show that empathy right off the bat because if you don’t, there is no bond established and you want your office staff, if they answer the phone before you to start establishing that bond so you have an easier time of converting that client. Why not have them smooth the path to getting the client to like you and trust you and want to retain you? Why not do that? That’s what they are there for. They are not just there to do their paper work and to process claims and to file stuff for you and to type stuff up. They are there to help you get more business so have them help you. Really prepare them.
If you want to boil all this down, I would boil it down to empathy and information and empowerment. Those things are what I would boil it down to. So I hope this helps. Again, this is not for sympathy, this is just so you can get a first person perspective on what a client thinks and feels. It’s always good to know. So this is Richard Jacobs with Speakeasy Marketing. By the way if you need help with your marketing. If you need help to train your staff, to lay down the groundwork, so you can get more clients and you have an easier time getting them to retain you, I definitely have got a lot of insights for you. I have many ways of helping.
If you want that help, call (888) 225-8594 or email email@example.com. Thank you.
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