Maintaining an excellent level of customer service can be tough, no matter the circumstances. But in the context of a law firm, appeasing a client comes with the added pressure of effectively and responsibly managing their legal affairs during a challenging time in their lives.

Some aspects of customer service are the same across the board – you want to be polite and engage with your client with the intention of solving their issue. However, there are some specific steps legal professionals can take to ensure their level of customer service stays on point, even when dealing with stressed clients.

Communicate with empathy

Many clients will be going through a tough personal situation. From divorce proceedings to criminal court cases, the personal circumstances of clients can be trying. Unfortunately, this means that legal professionals can sometimes bear the brunt of their stress.

Simply being empathic towards the situation a client is going through can help to de-escalate an uncomfortable conversation significantly. Ultimately, you're there to sort out the legal aspects of their situation – but a little kindness can go a long way in helping them to have a more pleasant experience and feel listened to.

Maintain professional standards

Legal Secretaries are used to handling clients that are disgruntled or distressed. While it happens every now and then, this can make it harder to stay committed to offering the same standard of service that you would when having a positive interaction.

It’s important to remember that while empathy and kindness can be helpful, you also need to provide a professional service for your client. Otherwise, they’ll only be more stressed when things take longer than expected or don’t quite go to plan. Many legal professionals will have a strategy in place for dealing with stressful situations that’ll help them to connect with the client whilst retaining an excellent standard of service and respecting professional boundaries.

Find a resolution

It’s not often that a client will be contacting you for no reason. It might be that there’s an issue with their legal proceedings that triggers them to reach out for support.

Leaving any problem or query unsolved will only add to the stress your client is experiencing. So, you want to make sure you’re always on the ball and know your stuff, no matter the problem. Knowing how to solve tough issues is key to a smooth and efficient customer service system.

Sometimes, innovative measures can be helpful in customer service. Some firms find that automating certain tasks can help to solve general queries, and leave more time to devote to clients who need a greater level of support.

Think about your end goal

As a legal professional, there are certain obligations you have to uphold and a standard of service you have to deliver. Do your best to assist your clients, but recognise that you won’t always be able to provide the level of support that they’re looking for. If you think a client may be struggling, consider signposting them to a service that is properly equipped to assist them.