Do You Know What Your Clients are Saying About You?
- September 03, 2014
- by Joseph R. Click
- Business Tips
Do You Know What Your Clients Are Saying
Because I do. Well, probably not you specifically but I get calls every week from prospective clients that begin with a complaint of the first process server they called or hired. In the interest of personal development, a closer look at a few common complaints I hear may be insightful.
“The last place wouldn’t even quote me a solid price.”
If you deal with new calls that are not from attorneys or other service firms, the client’s number one concern at the start of the call is likely how much your service is going to cost. Your client wants to know that your fee is reasonable for the service you provide and that they are not going to be ripped off or scammed in any way.
This may not be the most common complaint I hear about other process servers but it is one you can easily avoid by being transparent. Gather the information you need to quote a price to get the job done and quote a firm price. If there will likely be additional fees, especially if the amount is unknown, make sure your client understands this up front and save frustration down the road. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver.
The tightrope walk is often about securing a fair price for your time and energy without scaring away your prospect. I have found that the secret to overcoming a client’s possible “sticker shock” when you talk money is to show your client as much value as you can before you quote your fee. If your client trusts that you are the right person for the job, the exact dollar amount becomes much less important to them.
How do you show maximum value within the first few minutes of a call? You must find ways to show your new client that you know the ropes, you know the system, you’ve seen it all before and there is nothing that can stand between you and completing your job.
Part of being transparent is taking the time to explain to a client how you intend to go about actually serving their papers. Mention a couple points about the law and how you use your knowledge of the law to efficiently do your job. Describe how you go above and beyond when you are in the field to ensure the papers get served properly. Share a quick story about an exciting or bizarre serve you’ve done.
Things like these that we servers can take for granted as mundane can be fascinating and educational for a curious client. Let your client feel like they are being given “insider information” about the process they are going through and your value skyrockets.
“It’s like this other company didn’t even have time to talk with me about my case. They just wanted my money.”
If you can imagine yourself in the shoes of your prospective client, especially if they are someone who is not too familiar with the court system, it is not hard to understand their fear of being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous operator. Anything you can do to alleviate this specific fear will go great lengths to building trust and showing your value and integrity.
I hear this type of comment so often that I have structured my business in order to bill for services only when the job is complete. This is a huge selling point for the types of clients I market to and it immediately does two things for me:
- My client now has no fear of spending money and getting ripped off - They know they will only be paying for a job well done.
- I can pump up the fact that I am highly motivated to get their job done properly and quickly since, “the quicker I get the job done, the quicker I get paid.” I use that line and it works. I have also hit another of a typical client’s points of concern – will the server get the job done right and fast?
Sure, I have to deal with the occasional late-paying client and a few annoyances that I would not have if I got paid first. However, the benefits of selling my service in this way right up front, when it is so much easier to lose a possible client than to gain one, far outweigh the negatives for me. I have structured my operation so that I have some protection against a client who doesn’t pay for services rendered and the money I’ve ever had to chase or write off is so small as to be insignificant. Why not make it virtually impossible for your prospect NOT to hire you?
If you are like me, we can sometimes forget that non-attorney clients are likely personally involved in the court matter you are being hired to help with. If they are personally involved in the matter it is likely very important to them and it has consumed much of their time and energy already. They may be sensitive to the slightest hassle or they may be high-strung and anxious.
Spend the extra time to let your client know that their important court matter is important to you, too. Taking a moment to be human and sympathize with what they are dealing with helps them feel a little better and may make you feel good as well. I think assurances that their case is in good hands strike straight at the core of what is really important to your client.
“It didn’t sound like they knew what they were doing.”
Along with the price and whether you are legit or not, finding a server that has the skills and tools to get the job done is at the top of a new client’s list of concerns you need to address. If you know your craft and can talk about it and you successfully showed value at the start of the call by sharing knowledge, you’ve probably already done enough to avoid this gripe.
A simple trick I use all the time that really seems to wow clients is to show my intimate knowledge of the court forms they are looking at. If I get a call from someone with a California small claims court claim, I can throw in something like “Go ahead and email me one copy of your filed SC-100 form. That’s the one with the trial date on the front and the defendant’s name on page two. It should be five pages total unless you have an attachment page or a subpoena or something.”
This is all second nature to me since I deal with these forms every day but I almost always get a nice, “Wow, you really know your stuff!” type of reaction. This can lead to other questions about the small claims process and more opportunities for me to show my value and close the deal before ever even talking money. Try this out with any type of document or process you routinely handle and see what happens.
Step back and look at your operation and the industry the way your ideal clients do. This can help you hone your sales pitch and close deals with the confidence that you are the best around and that anyone who calls you and chooses not to hire you is just begging for headaches!
About the Author:
Joseph R. Click is a registered process server and owner of I Serve Papers. He has been serving papers throughout Southern California for clients nationwide since 2002. With a focus on transparency, integrity, and results, he thrives on helping clients with difficult jobs serving evasive defendants. His articles exploring all things process serving can be found at http://iservepapers.com/blog/.