As society evolves, so do client needs.
The legal field has roots dating back to ancient Greco-Roman times. But while some aspects of law practice will remain consistent no matter how many centuries pass, other facets must adapt to keep pace with an ever-changing society.
Enter concierge services: a luxurious business model that’s rising in popularity. Read on to discover how this trend could impact the future of your firm.
In our increasingly digital world, speed and accessibility are more valued than ever. The internet has pushed humanity’s innate desire for immediate gratification to new levels, and the instant feedback provided by things like text messaging and social media have cultivated expectations of ease and expediency that are now spilling into the business world.
Combine that with America’s hectic work culture, where time is always at a premium, and you have a bigger piece of the population in need of products and services that work with their schedule—not the other way around.
In the middle of those two needs—time and convenience—lies a business opportunity: concierge services. These high-end offerings are perfect for clients who have more money than time, and industries across the world have taken notice.
For law firms, offering concierge services typically means charging clients a flat monthly rate in exchange for unlimited legal access. Other client perks can include home visits, access to a secure 24/7 emergency line, chauffeur service for on-site meetings, and more.
This is a different business model than many firms are used to, and it comes with its own share of ups and downs. But could it work for you?
Looking on the Bright Side
The concierge model can provide a plethora of benefits for both you and your clients. Here are some of the most enticing ones.
Let’s Get Personal
Being an all-inclusive lawyer allows you to form a relationship that goes far beyond the typical business arrangement. You’ll get to know your concierge clients on a much deeper level, and may actually form friendships that transcend your job.
You’re also likely to have a higher referral rating amongst these clients because of this supercharged rapport. And at the end of the day, you’ll have more of an opportunity to make a greater impact in your clients’ lives than you do under the typical pay-by-the-hour structure.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Providing broad legal and personal advice for concierge clients means you’ll be getting much more variety in your daily career activities. This can prevent stagnation and even help stave off burnout.
It also gives you the opportunity to dive into topics you aren’t as familiar with, so you can expand your level of expertise. If you’re hungry to keep learning and growing throughout your career, concierge services may push you in the direction you need.
Funding You Can Count On
Thanks to a flat monthly billing structure, concierge services are a more dependable source of revenue than clients you see on a case-by-case, hourly basis. This can allow you to make better predictive budgeting estimates, and can even net you more money in the long run (as luxury services can be sold at a luxury price).
Depending on how close you get to the client, you may also end up receiving gifts and bonuses during the holiday. Combine that with the higher chance of referrals, and concierge services can end up pushing your bottom line further than ever before.
Counting the Cost
Despite the perks, this above-and-beyond approach also carries its fair share of drawbacks. Before jumping onto the concierge train, consider the following obstacles.
Though you may get lucky and end up with clients who become genuine friends, the opposite is also true; those who hire you as a concierge lawyer may end up being demanding and unreasonable. After all, if you’re always on call, you might… well… always be getting called.
This problem can be somewhat mitigated by setting up boundaries at the start of the business relationship. For example, let your clients know in advance when you’re going to be taking vacation or personal time. Also make sure your availability hours have a cutoff time, so you can avoid late-night calls. And don’t be afraid to let your ringing phone go to voicemail if you’re in the middle of something else.
Just be careful, because if your concierge services feel too restrictive, your customers may not feel like they’re getting their money’s worth.
Life is hard enough when you only have to worry about your own problems. But when you take the all-encompassing concierge approach, you inherit more of your clients’ problems than you would otherwise.
Depending on what your client is struggling with, this can take a heavy toll on your own emotional wellbeing. When you keep a strict divide between your professional and personal life, it’s easier to compartmentalize your clients’ struggles. But concierge services blur the line, which can make the psychological toll heavier.
Work-Life Balance Issues
Work-life balance undoubtedly takes a hit under the concierge model. Even with ground rules in place, you still have to make yourself more readily available than you do under the traditional client model. You may also have to work on weekends and holidays if a prized client has an emergency legal issue.
Making house visits, providing advice on life situations that are outside of your comfort zone, and going above-and-beyond in ways you aren’t used to are all part of the deal. If you’re trying to create more space in your own life for personal time, concierge services might not be a good fit.
Taking the Next Steps
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to offer concierge services. The business model can push your firm and your finances to new heights, but is the personal cost worth it? That’s a question only you can answer.
But whatever you decide, remember: no matter which trends rise and fall in popularity throughout the years, great customer service will never go out of style.
This article is for informational purposes only.
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“How to Start a Concierge Business: Everything You Need to Know.” Upcounsel, 12 January 2018.
Pahwa, Aashish. “What Is Concierge Service? Concierge Services Business Models.” Feedough, 28 May 2018.
Sawer, Geoffrey, et al. “Legal Profession.” Encyclopedia Britannica.
Vogeler, William. “Pros and Cons of Being a Family Lawyer.” Find Law, 3 April 2017.
Witt, Wendy. “Concierge Legal Services: How to Increase Law Firm Revenue from 20% of Clients Instantaneously.” Attorney Alchemy, 27 December 2017.