There are few professions where the need to attract customers is outweighed by the need to use professional language; rather than the marketing speak to which we have all become accustomed. The idea that a service industry constantly presents itself in a certain way (We are the Best! We are Local! We are cost effective!) is so prevalent that the ‘sales pitch’ attitude is accepted without thinking by customers. For example, when was the last time a business was shy in shouting about its worth and value?
I recently proofread a website for a set of legal chambers. The content was clear, concise and professional in its language and positioning. The copy stated clearly what they did; and used a third party to validate the value of its services. However, this third party was a professional peer group, rather than (for example) a commendation, thanks or testimonial from those who matter to potential clients – existing clients.
Now I can think of many reasons why this might be. The legal profession needs gravitas. It needs to inspire trust in the skill of its employees, and does this by presenting itself in a certain way. The ‘full weight of the law’ does not lend itself to balloons and smiley faces; discounts and sales promotions are never going to be part of its marketing mix.
But, just for a moment, think of a legal firm’s ‘super customer’. Someone who needs help. Someone who has reached the stage in a dispute or problem where they need professional advice, having exhausted all other avenues. Someone whose life is in trouble. In short, someone who is vulnerable.
The last thing that any potential customer needs is a barrier to communication. They need reassurance, empathy, understanding and trust. They need to know that they are not alone. Recommendations from professional bodies won’t give them that; a few well chosen words of support; or a testimonial from someone who has been through the process and emerged in a better place, will. From divorce to child-protection, from disputes to tribunals, what a customer needs to know that the process has worked for others.
I am sure that every legal or financial company knows this, and customer care is exemplary once the customer has picked up the phone. But if you are googling, through a haze of emotion and upset ‘where can I get good professional help’, the website is the first place you go. Legal firms, accountants, solicitors – please be ahead of the curve. Look at your website copy and imagine your vulnerable, unhappy and scared super-customer. Sympathetic and caring content; a few de-mystifying pictures of the process in action; and some happy words from a satisfied customer, will go a long way.
If you think Wordsmith Services could help with your website content, please do get in touch.