Law firm client service socia mediaI have read numerous articles about using social media to deliver better customer service. The latest from marketing and communication professional, Susan Payton @eggmarketing who shared four tips for managing customer service via social media.

Each time I read one of the articles, I thought great, that’s for consumer products or service businesses, not for a law firm.

I get it when I raise a concern with Virgin America Airlines via Twitter. The airline responds in a few minutes. I’ve even had some companies send me a direct Twitter message asking for my cell number so they could call me to resolve a problem.

Smart companies have found immediate customer service via social media to be worth its weight in gold. Not only do you nip in the bud a situation where one person can share a bad experience with 8 others (or many more via social media), but you can turn this person into a raving fan of your service. A fan that’s apt to spread word of their positive experience via social media.

But how’s a law firm going to deliver client service via social media? Respond on Twitter that we’re real sorry about the verdict which went against you? Do a blog post referencing the questions a client raised about a bill? Launch a Facebook page for clients so that you’re disclosing a client relationship and breaching confidence in your communications?

Client service via social media for law firms has always seemed a pretty silly concept to me. But in reading Payton’s post Sunday afternoon, I began to think of a few ways law firms could deliver client service via social media.

  • Listen for news, information, and mentions of your clients – their names, the names of the executives and in-house counsel you work with, and the names of your client’s products and services. You’ll pick up items from mainstream media, blogs, and Twitter. Engage your client in a confidential fashion as to those items requiring confidentiality and in public via Twitter or a blog post for those items of public knowledge, ie, a congratulations.
  • Listen for news and information relating to your client’s competitors, their services and products, and relevant personnel. Share that with your clients, probably in a confidential way. Use the information to you and your client’s advantage.
  • Listen for news and information relevant to the your clients’ industries or the area of law with in which you provide legal services for clients. The use of social media tools for listening makes you a better lawyer.
  • Blog. Our LXBN Network has any number of blogs which law firms publish not to market their services, but in response to their clients demanding that they blog to keep the client up to speed with developments and to share the law firm’s insight on such developments.
  • Use Twitter as an intelligence agent. Listen to news and information as aforementioned. Knowing their is no time to blog all the items you’ll see, Tweet the developments. Not only will be you performing a direct service for clients by sharing items, you’ll grow a Twitter network of professionals from whom you’ll grow to listen to and collaborate with. Again a better a lawyer makes for better client service.
  • Use Facebook to network with close business associates. You need not discuss business or the law. Share family pictures, share interesting (maybe quirky) news stories, and comment on items shared by others. It’s a heck of a lot easier working through any client service challenges when you have a strong personal relationship with the client.

What do you guys think? Am I nuts? Can a law firm use social media to deliver customer service? If so, what methods of doing so can you think of?

Image courtesy of Flickr by Howard Lake.