A patent by the Futurus Group was recently filed for an algorithm that predicts gratitude among patients. The gratitude levels are then used to determine who will be more likely to donate to the healthcare provider. According to their research, high-gratitude patients were more likely to donate than high-wealth patients. Nobody should be surprised, gratitude can be a major motivator and many other industries would benefit from similar algorithms to tell them who is more likely to retain their services. The IP industry is no different in this regard. Happy, appreciative clients are more likely to retain services for future patent and trademark filings.
While we know that you hardworking patent attorneys deserve gratitude, you might not realize that you also need it. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, psychological needs are near the top of our requirement for happiness, needs that appreciation can help to fulfill. Feeling appreciated helps develop a sense of belonging and personal connection while raising esteem and a sense of prestige. There’s just one important question, while you are justified in wanting to be thanked, what about your clients’ needs? Are you reaching out to fulfill their need for gratitude?
Your clients are your lifeblood. The patents and trademarks they need filed are the reason you are able to continue your practice. Thanks to their creativity and entrepreneurship, you are a successful intellectual property professional. They deserve your appreciation, so show them!
Just as you need appreciation for personal wellbeing, you also need to appreciate for business success. Clients leave when they feel indifference from a business, when they feel as if they do not matter they go elsewhere. Having no legal expertise, they don’t necessarily know you are the best at what you do, they have no idea what went into filing and protecting their IP. What they do know is how they feel. You may be the best in the business, but if you leave them feeling small an insignificant in the grand scheme, they will quickly jump ship to a different attorney who will take personal care of them.
“Client service matters. You do not have to be the lowest priced option to get the business, and in fact, people will pay more for a higher level of client service.” – Allison Shields of Legal Ease Consulting, Inc.
When you let your clients know you appreciate them, you fulfill their needs and show you care about them. When a client receives personal attention outside standard services, they the relationship is valued. Do it right, and you will see them coming back to you again and again. As Zig Ziglar put it, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” Show gratitude for their business, and you’ll have even more business to be grateful for.
How do you go about thanking your clients? We have a few suggestions for you below:
Send a treat
There is no need to wait for Valentines Day to send a box of chocolates, just make sure they don’t come in a heart-shaped box. It’s a simple gesture but one that will leave them with good vibes. It doesn’t have to be chocolates, fruit baskets or specialty boxes of unique snacks are also great ideas.
Give a Place of Honor
Do you have a section of your website dedicated to your best clients? Listing your favorite clients shows appreciation, and has the added benefit of helping your firm market itself if your client is prestigious. However, consider the possibility that clients may not want such a public spot on your site, and others may feel jealous. Instead, consider a smaller in-office wall of fame. Have pictures of yourself with your clients in noticeable locations. While some clients may never see it, if they do come into the office and see a picture of themselves in a prominent location it is sure to give them a good feeling.
Send Handwritten Notes
Consider sending your clients a personal handwritten letter thanking them for their business. Don’t send something printed with a signature at the bottom or put the gesture off on your assistant. The extra five minutes spent handwriting the letter will give it that personal touch you need.
Is your client a fan of a local sports team, or perhaps you once had a great conversation about a topic you both share an interest in? Personalized gifts show you listen to your client and value them beyond the business relationship. Sports fans can be quite passionate and giving them a pair of tickets to a game will make them ecstatic. Books are also a great way to connect over a shared interest, and they give you the opportunity to handwrite a personal note on the inside of the cover.
Spread the Word
Everyone appreciates a little free press, and spreading the word about your clients is a surefire way to make them happy. Social media is an excellent resource that would allow you to announce how excited you are to be working with a client. Consider saying exactly what it is about this client that you appreciate, whether it be the important impact their invention can have or the inspiring creativity they show.
Show gratitude while also taking the time to strengthen your relationship. Take your clients to grab lunch at a great restaurant, or loosen the tie a bit and meet up for some happy hour appetizers and cocktails. Be sure to use this time to learn more about them and share interests.
Host an Event
Host an event for multiple clients at once. This can be a great networking opportunity for your clients to meet others in their industry. Be sure to show this is a VIP event, only people your firm truly values are being invited to the event. You can use the time to offer awards if appropriate (another way of showing gratitude) or just host a fun memorable event they feel they’ve earned a place as an attendee.
Be your clients biggest cheerleader. When they score a huge licensing deal, be the first to send them a letter or to call them to congratulate them. If they are in the news, share it on social media and state how proud you are to be part of their legal team. Are they receiving an award? Try your best to be in the audience! Show your clients that you are right there beside them!
Say It and Mean It
Sometimes the best way of saying thank you to someone is to just say the words, “thank you.” Those two simple words can go a lot further than we might imagine, so just say it and mean it.
Whatever you do, make sure that it isn’t forced. One way to make it seem natural is through spontaneity, surprise them by trying the above suggestions outside the holiday season (though don’t ignore the holidays either!) It is also absolutely essential that you personalize your thank you. If they feel that they are being treated to something that is general and for everyone else, it may actually accomplish the opposite of what you hoped for. Stopping the legal work for a few minutes to satisfy your clients’ psychological needs can be a game changer, so don’t ignore them.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog, we look forward to sharing with you more information about taking care of your clients in the future.
Another great way to show your clients that you care about them is to go out of the way by protecting their intellectual property on an international scale. The PCT Network has over 650 member firms in 150 regions ready to help you file abroad. Request a quote today.