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The Rules of (Zombie) Loyalty Worth Revisiting

In 2016, we shared a popular blog post about the four rules of loyalty laid out by Peter Shankman in his book Zombie Loyalists, which is a study in how to create rabid fans. The legal landscape is changing rapidly, but these essential strategies to build loyalty remain relevant and are worth sharing again.

  1. Be transparent. While it was much easier for companies to lie to consumers in the 1950s, times have changed. We as consumers may expect to be lied to, but catching companies lying makes it so much worse. When your firm makes a mistake (as will inevitably happen), be prepared to own up to the mistake and fix the problem. “The greatest bond is feeling like we can trust your firm,” says Shankman.
  2. Be relevant. Which of your clients prefer bills via regular mail or via email? Do certain clients prefer receiving all alerts and updates via email, or do some prefer an occasional phone call for updates? In order to be relevant, your firm must understand how each client wants to be served and informed. Don’t assume—ask the questions in order to clearly understand your clients’ needs.
  3. Be brief. We constantly hear from client interviews how incredibly busy your clients are and how much they need brief communication from outside counsel. As Shankman points out, we are all on devices now, which means you need to make it easy for your clients to both read and respond. Don’t use legalese or attachments unless absolutely necessary. Says Shankman, “Communicate like a human—like someone who cares—with brevity.”
  4. Remain top of mind. Lastly, don’t let them forget about you. Call clients even when there are no current matters to check in, say hello and ask how you can help. You get the win-win of being helpful while also self-promoting. Shankman shares that if he learns of a client’s passion or interest outside of business, he will look for opportunities to share interesting articles or other materials on that topic. Anything that helps you check in with clients periodically, even just for a quick hello, will benefit the relationship.
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