Forging a Partnership with Your Corporate Clients

What do the most successful immigration law practices do to make and keep their corporate clients happy?  In a tough economy, maintaining an advantage over competitors means adding value to your customer interactions by providing extra perks!  While certainly not new to the customer service arena, here are some tried and true approaches to building a better customer relationship experience and making sure your firm is not just another vendor but a true partner.

1. Providing Visa Options and Recommendations go a long way towards adding value to the attorney/client relationship.  While most immigration attorneys can provide various options for any given scenario, most corporate clients also want an informed recommendation based on which options are a) the least costly, b) the most likely to get approved by a government agency, c) the least likely to interfere with an employee’s continued work ability, and/or d) the most likely to make their employee(s) the happiest (amongst many other concerns).  Do you go that extra step?

2. Your Forecasting Abilities will earn your firm the “most favored firm” status for as long as you can successfully sustain it.  This is precisely the arena where immigration attorneys demonstrate their expertise.  Does your client employ a foreign national who may encounter educational credentialing issues?  Or worse, does the foreign national have a criminal issue that may jeopardize re-entry into the U.S.  Along with providing accurate visa options and making a recommendation, it helps corporate clients understand how the existing visa options will transpire in the future and impact the future options that same foreign national may have.  If your client has ten H-1B workers now, when does your firm notify the client of the need for renewals?  Or how about the eligibility for PERMs?  By seeing the big picture, you help your corporate clients plan for the future!

3. Remembering the Little Things will keep you near and dear to your clients’ hearts.  Are your clients keen on providing premium processing fees only for its elite workforce?  Must certain approvals be obtained before starting a certain type of process?  Is there a certain way in which the company describes itself for reporting purposes?  On a more humanistic side, how about an HR’s upcoming birthday or anniversary?  What system are you using to keep track of these reminders?  If your reminder system is the HR contact having to “remind” you, this may end up costing your firm in the long run.

4. Responding to Questions and Requests Quickly will make you a superstar!  Certain issues will take priority over others depending on the nature of the request (e.g.: a foreign national stuck at a consular post will probably take precedence over a corporate question about educational credentials.) All-day meetings notwithstanding, a quick email to let the client know you received the message and will respond as soon as you can is the key to acting responsively.  Then, follow up with a more detailed but concise response.

5. Providing Tools Your Clients Didn’t Know They Needed shows your clients you know how to leverage technology that improves their efficiency (and makes them look good).  Reports are probably the best approach at adding value to your corporate client relationship.  Good reporting is a way to keep your clients informed on your clients’ business expenses (past, present and future) and prepares them for future budgetary issues.  It also helps them see the bigger picture of how many foreign national employees they need to consider for tracking and processing purposes. The other not-so-secret tip is that successful immigration law firms utilize robust immigration case management software to maintain a good working relationship with their corporate clients.  By managing their communications, tracking expirations and reminders, immigration firms stay ahead of the competition.  There are many other ways to build strong partnerships with your clients.  What other tips have you considered that successfully added value to your corporate client relationship?