Keeping clients satisfied is an important aspect of successful attorney’s practice. Apart from quality of work, attorney billing plays a large part in achieving client satisfaction. Good service accompanied by an unanticipated bill can drive clients away. Happy clients tell their friends – but so do unhappy clients.
Granted, no one likes to get bills, but this is made much, much worse when the total comes as a shock. Effective attorney billing avoids such shocks by utilizing these tips. Always advise the client up front as to what the charges are likely to be. Even if the client doesn’t ask, it is your responsibility to raise the point. If developments in the case mean there will be additional charges, advise your client right away. Remember, your aim is to avoid unpleasant surprises. Don’t increase prices without letting your client know in advance. Unexpected price hikes are one of the biggest reasons clients refuse to pay bills or change to another lawyer. Send your bill as soon as the service is rendered or on a regular monthly basis. Look at your internal costs for doing certain work on a regular basis and make sure you keep the charges to the client reasonable and in line with those costs. If a certain type of service is unprofitable in your practice, choose not to take those cases rather than bill excessively high charges.
Reasonable billing practices play a big part in getting repeat business and also in word-of-mouth advertising, which can be a big source of new business. Successful attorneys who are in for the long haul know this and charge accordingly. Being up-front about your charges is a big part in maintaining happy attorney-client relationships. Don’t let attorney billing spoil the experience for your clients. By keeping to these simple guidelines, you will be well on your way to handling a sensitive issue well.
by Kimberly Hanlon
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