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  • Writer's picturecourtjestor922

Your Invoice is Your Ambassador

Updated: Oct 1, 2020

All law firms, big and small, seek ways to build and show value for clients. Every interaction across all phases of the client experience will shape a person’s perception of your firm and whether they would recommend you to others. Few have greater impact then your invoice.


Image/Perception Is Everything


Your website, your email, your letterhead, your pleadings, your front desk, your staff etc., are all a part of the image and perspective the clients form.


Collectively, these client perceptions are the primary driver behind the value of the services you provide. The client’s perceived value will often determine if the prices you charge are worth paying and if they would recommend you to others.


An often-overlooked method for building and illustrating value is detailed, transparent invoicing. Detailed Invoices prove and build value for your firm as much as almost any other aspect of your practice.


Many invoices from law firms include one generic description of the services provided, such as “document preparation,” “legal research,” or “contract review.” The generic description is then accompanied by a single fee that covers all tasks included in that description. This approach to invoicing is the equivalent of a client coming in for a consult and you advising that your case is hard, we can help, pay us money with no further discussion.


These "Ambassador's" should be viewed as if employees themselves, and held to the same standard you would expect of your staff or, anyone or anything else that represents you and your firm. In fact, there may be no more urgent "staff" member as all else depends on invoices being paid.


“Vague” Doesn’t Translate to “Value”


A generic invoice doesn’t create value for your legal services. It does nothing to validate how hard you’re working on the client’s behalf, or the quality of the work that you’re doing. By sending generic invoices, you position your law firm as a price-driven commodity rather than a value-driven source of expertise and an advocate for the client.


This vagueness can cause clients to question the cost or validity of your invoice, as well as the value of your services. In the worst of cases, it can even lead to a legal dispute. When you have detailed invoices, you clarify exactly what the client is paying for and minimize the risk of the invoice being called into question and you with little to no supported defense.


Invoicing, as discussed, is more than a bill. Make sure your Ambassador is communicating effectively with the client. This will contribute to a stronger, more trusting relationship. This is critical in the steps that shape perceptions and build value. From the client’s perspective, they deserve more detailed explanations of what specific tasks were completed and the amount of time required to complete each task (Keep it simple and easy to understand - no legalese). From the firm's perspective, it informs the client and avoids any guessing or reconstructing to explain billing when needed.


Detailed invoices connect the dots between time, labor and fees. Generic invoices can leave you vulnerable. The less detailed your invoices, the more difficult it is to justify them.


Human Touch


We all want to be seen and heard. No one wants to feel like a product or a thing. No charging and writing off certain charges for clients is always a show of good will and no client is going to be unhappy with a discount. But, is it ever really enough for them? Often the answer is no. Instead of being thankful for the discount, they will argue for more. You may find yourself asking what else could you possibly do to make them happier? Make them feel like people, not invoice numbers. Many already put forth great effort to show client's a personal touch and insist, as they should, that their staff do the same but, why should your Ambassador's be any different.


An occasional personal note thrown in with an invoice, of course around holidays and birthdays but, also just randomly, can go a long way in reminding them they are dealing with people who care and who see them as people, not just dealing with a piece of paper telling them to pay money. Let them know that they are seen and heard and some, not all, issues stemming from invoice shock can be lessened and reinforce to the client why they selected you and would want to work with you in the future.


The Value

When invoices are not detailed and specific, you do yourself a disservice because you miss an opportunity to reinforce the value of your law firm’s work. You run the risk of creating doubt in the mind of your clients. Make sure your invoices show your clients just how hard you’re working on their behalf.


When the human aspect is removed, these are just cold documents with numbers which provide no positive feeling to your client and therefore, no positive perspective of your firm.


Let these document ambassadors do their job and you will have less disagreements about billing, spend less time on answering billing questions and, ultimately, have happier and better informed clients who will be more likely to recommend you to others.


Veritas Lex, LLC. (veritaslexllc.com)

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