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Client Feedback, Service & Teams
2 minute read | 3 weeks ago

Reactive – Proactive – Interactive

Photo of Laura Meherg By: Laura Meherg

Today’s pace of business and life has us in a reactive mode most of the time. In both law firms and client companies, people often describe their workdays as a perpetual game of Whack-A-Mole, moving from meetings to unplanned conversations to crisis management and problem solving within short spans of time. And that doesn’t factor in the unpredictable problems we face daily in our personal lives.

Over the past few years, clients have consistently advised law firms to be more proactive in order to improve service and add more value, but I’m not convinced being proactive is the secret to building dramatic client loyalty. Instead, clients describe the lawyers who are considered their most trusted advisors as being interactive. They are so plugged into the client’s day-to-day operations and communications that they operate as an extension of the client organization. Here’s how I would compare the approaches:

REACTIVE – A reactive approach involves responding to events or problems after they occur. When we are reactive, solutions are often aimed at quickly addressing the immediate problem. An example of a reactive action is responding to a client complaint when they raise the issue.

PROACTIVE – A proactive approach involves anticipating potential problems or opportunities and taking steps to address them before they occur. Strategies target creating sustainable outcomes and avoiding future problems. An example of a proactive action is implementing a customer feedback system to identify issues before they become complaints.

INTERACTIVE – An interactive approach involves engaging with others to exchange information, ideas or feedback and collaboratively address issues or develop solutions. This approach emphasizes communication and collaboration. Solutions and actions are developed through discussion and cooperation. Law firms can be interactive by using team meetings to discuss project progress and regularly engaging with customers to co-create strategies to advance business goals.

We need to be adept at using all three approaches. You have to be reactive when urgent issues arise while also demonstrating proactivity through strategic planning, sharing insights and risk management. And being interactive is crucial for effective teamwork and customer relations. To become trusted advisors, focus on being more interactive:

  • Demonstrate active listening
  • Build relationships across the organization
  • Be empathetic
  • Communicate clearly and succinctly
  • Adapt your communication style
  • Foster collaboration through conversations and technology
  • Be adaptable and open to other ideas
  • Involve diverse perspectives
  • Seek feedback