Professional Referrals – The Key to Customer Loyalty

We have all spent our entire careers carefully creating, cultivating, and elevating our reputation as leaders in our specialized areas of business.  Whether it is in the legal, medical, financial, construction, entertainment or any other industry, businesses spend years, decades, and for some, centuries, building and protecting their respective reputations.  This is because in any professional industry, our reputation is our most valuable asset. We have all heard the quote: “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”  This principle applies to every profession and proves itself daily.  One poor decision can tarnish an otherwise stellar reputation built upon years of industry leadership.  This especially true in our electronic age where information and reviews can be circulated with a push of a button.

A superior professional reputation is crucial to developing and maintaining a successful business.  Our professional reputations attract new customers but also ensures existing customer loyalty.  Trust is the single most important component of ongoing customer loyalty.  If customers trust us, they hire us.  If customers trust us, they recommend us to others.  If customer’s trust is fulfilled by quality service, they return.  Without trust, customers look elsewhere.  Reputation creates an initial trust.  Fulfilling that trust creates loyalty.

Customer loyalty is an undervalued commodity for a professional business.  However, never has it been more important to the ongoing and future success of a business than now.  With the current and projected economic downturn, economic resources are dwindling.  With the dwindling of these resources, all industries are becoming increasingly competitive.  Businesses and professionals who are best able to create and retain customer loyalty are the ones that flourish during difficult economic periods.

It goes without saying that the single best way to improve customer loyalty is to work hard, communicate well, and deliver superior service for customers.  That is a universal truth.  But is that all?  Does facilitating customer loyalty end when the service relationship ends?  Would you dismiss us as crazy to suggest that we can all do more to strengthen customer trust and loyalty?  For GRL Law, this is where a strong professional referral system is imperative.  Successful professional referrals can have a tremendous positive impact on a business’s reputation.  Poor referrals can also have a negative impact as highlighted by this article in Inc.

Take the legal field as an example.  What should a law firm do when a customer calls in with a case or a problem that may not be in the firm’s legal area of expertise?

  1. Should the secretary save the lawyer’s valuable time by screening the call, dismissing the caller at the front-end, explaining that the firm does not accept cases in that area of law?  Client is left with a feeling that the law firm simply does not care.
  2. Should the secretary put the call through to an attorney who empathizes with the potential client’s plight only to explain that the potential clients issue is not an area of practice that you deal in and leave the client to look for their own solution?  Client may feel listened too but is still left to deal with the problem on their own.  Maybe even feeling abandoned.
  3. Maybe the Attorney agrees to take the client’s money (after all times are tough and business is slow), fumbles through the case narrowly avoiding blatant malpractice, but only to achieve sub-par results.  Client no-doubt wonders if they would have been better off in someone else’s hands.  The attorney made some money, but future trust and corresponding loyalty is diminished.
  4. Alternatively, the Attorney refers the client on to a friend who may practice in that area but who the attorney would not trust his or her own family or close friends?  Poor communication, advocacy and ultimately sub-par results are what the client experiences.  Client’s trust in the referring attorney’s judgment is tarnished.
  5. Conversely, the secretary patches the client through to the Attorney immediately and the Attorney listen attentively, identify the specific specialty area of law involved.  The attorney explains that the client is better in the hands of a specialist in that area of law and has a referral ready for an attorney or law firm that has demonstrated an ability to provide superior services to clients in that area of law?  Client’s needs are met because the Attorney recognized the need and put the client’s interest first.  Trust and loyalty are strengthened.

Without a doubt, the referral to the service that can best assist the customer is the approach that best facilitates trust.  If the professional demonstrates that he/she is putting the customer’s best interest above their own financial interest, that simple act instills an increasing level of trust in that professional’s judgment.  It is the classic getting by giving.  Think about it.   The professional does not have a direct financial benefit in the customer’s immediate need but demonstrates his/her own loyalty to the customer by taking the time and effort to connect them the right business that is able to provide superior service and results.  The customer’s needs are put first.  Loyalty begets loyalty.  The success of that referral also reflects directly on the referring party and allows that customer to trust that professional even more with future needs in that professional field.  The referrer become a trusted resource to the customer and may even become the first point of contact for future needs.

GRL Law has made it an emphasis of our practice to get by giving.  We answer questions without charge never requiring potential clients to pay to talk.  We do not hesitate to explain how potential client’s might be able to resolve certain issues on their own without needing to spend money on an attorney.  GRL Law has also made the commitment to no longer accept cases that are outside of our specialized practice areas.  Instead, we refer them to lawyers and law firms that we would hire ourselves or would trust with our own family and friends’ legal issues.  We ask for nothing in return other than superior legal services for those we trust to the care of our referral network.  GRL Law constantly monitors the feedback we get from our clients, friends, and family, so that we can modify our referral list based upon that feedback.  We are always looking to add quality contacts to our referral network.  After all, our referrals reflect directly on our reputation.

Conversely, GRL Law specializes in Drunk Driving Defense, Criminal Defense and Wrongful Death and Serious Injury cases.  We routinely receive professional referrals from former jurors, fellow attorneys, judges, members of law enforcement, medical professionals and others who have identified the advantage that GRL Law’s specialization provides to clients.  At GRL Law, we have intentionally limited the practice areas of our attorneys to ensure the specificity of knowledge necessary for our attorneys to be experts in their area of practice.  Specialization allows for exploitation of nuances that other attorneys who do not have that expertise may overlook.  Specialization allows GRL Law to obtain superior results for each customer we have the privilege of serving.  Our results speak for themselves.

At GRL Law, we consider every referral to be the ultimate compliment.  There is no greater honor than the transfer of trust that occurs through a professional referral.  We understand and appreciate that referrals reflect directly on the personal and professional reputation of the referrer.  As a result, GRL Law internalizes each client’s cause, going above and beyond to prove that trust to be well-placed.  We honor all referrals with our trademark promise.  We may not be able to change the past, but we can change our client’s future!  GRL Law is standing by ready, willing, and able to make your referral reflect positively on your reputation and to further solidify the trust that your clients and customers have in your services.  Make your referral count.  Trust it to GRL Law, where your referral elevates your reputation.