Insights on Client Servicing by Raj Kapadia


What is the kind of leadership skills to start your own business?

Towards the end of 2016, I made the choice of plunging into private practice as Company Secretary. Till then, with around 4 years of work experience and another 4 years of the training period, which is required in the profession, I had acquired the skills required for my job. However, what I did not have was the skill and expertise required for running the business. 

It is the general belief that in own business, we have the freedom and the transparency, which is probably not very common in employment. While this is true, there is also a great responsibility which comes with it. Both freedom and responsibility are two sides of the same coin.

While in employment, we work for an organization, in business or in private practice, we work for our own organization, which is the enterprise. It is our own baby and how it would grow would depend on the type of work ethics and principles that we inculcate. So, what I am getting at is that private practice is no different from employment in this sense. In both cases, it is the goodwill of the enterprise which is to be maintained.

A businessman is also required to have a powerful conviction and clarity of thought. S/he would face different kinds of situations with or without any prior reference whatsoever. In such eventualities, it is the courage and conviction of the businessman, which would get him or her through.

A practising professional in my field is also required to stay updated at all times, without any exception. A professional’s views are required to be precise, reasoned and well researched.

As is the case with every business, there would be times when the business is not profitable or we don’t have the desired outcome. This may be due to many factors internal and external including general recession, market condition, demand-supply, legal amendments, labour issues etc. It is on such testing times that the person’s belief and conviction would help. Businessmen and women would need the patience to tide through such tough times.  

Not only your business and clients, but your team also looks up to you as a leader. Your team is the hands and legs of the enterprise. The businessman would need to exercise empathetic listening and effective communication with the team for productivity and efficiency

What is the role of Emotional Intelligence in client servicing?

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) plays a key role in client servicing. Client servicing is different for different clients. The solution offered to the clients is customized as per the facts of the case and the needs of the client.

Here, EQ plays an important role. Empathetic listening is required to understand the requirements of the clients. By stepping into the client’s shoes, the businessman and women can get the Client’s concerns and commitments and then the client can be better served. 

Simultaneously, I feel that being aware of one’s own EQ, i.e., his or her strengths, weaknesses, emotions, beliefs, values, etc. is equally important. Only when one is aware of these, they can then serve the requirements of the clients, which keep changing from case to case. 

In the end, the client should feel served and assured, that their needs and requirements are being taken care of professionally.

What role does technology play in providing legal counsel?

So far, the legal field has been slow in adopting the technology. However, it is recovering this delay. Traditionally, the legal industry was known for large materials, hefty paperwork, voluminous submissions and large scale arguments. But now, most of the paperwork has been digitized in India.

Digital filings with Courts are being gradually introduced. The daily judgements given by the Benches are being uploaded on the respective websites almost on the same day without delays. The display board of the Courts are available online which are updated on a real-time basis with the running cases and recent status.

The interactions with the Authorities are also moving towards being faceless. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in India has recently launched an online Compliance Management System wherein the Authorities would be uploading Show Cause Notices to the Corporates for non-compliances, which have to be replied on the portal itself. Similarly, the Income Tax department has launched faceless assessments recently.

Similarly, the reference materials and bare acts are also available online on a subscription-based model. It is also now possible to research the various legal aspects online. With online search and index options available, it not only saves time but also space to store such voluminous books and reference materials.

Technology is also now used for having meetings on video and audio conferencing and obtaining legal opinions. Even payment mechanisms have become cashless by the introduction of e-wallets, UPIs and online transfers. This saves time and travel hassles. Now, the professionals may not even require meeting rooms and chambers, with the use of technology.

Further use of technology would lead to increasing innovations in legal counsel. Now, by using artificial intelligence (AI) the legal entities would be able to automate quite a few traditional areas of practice. New and more complex areas of legal practice would then emerge.

What are some of the best practices for client engagement?

Client engagement is very important in any business. Client engagement includes keeping the client engaged and interested in the Business and the ongoing activities including offers. 

Traditionally, client engagement was largely via ads. Now, different means have emerged in the digital world. One of the means of client engagements is through the website. New content can be created relating to the Business and uploaded on the websites. The content can include articles, views, opinions, writeups, graphics and videos. The content uploaded on websites can also be shared on social media. Thereafter, feedback can be invited from the clients by way of likes, comments, followers, retweets, etc. 

Client comments can also be invited on websites by means of blogs on relevant topics. Occasional feedbacks can be sought from the clients relating to the business.

Offers and gift vouchers can be given to the clients which can also increase engagements such that they can check out the offer on the website. More traffic on the website can lead to more sales. A client may click on the website looking for X product or service and may end up buying X + Y Product or service.

Clients can also be segregated into different categories and customized content can be created for different categories. The customization would depend on the value proposition for different clients. 

What are some of the best ways to develop communication skills?

Communication skills develop gradually with regular practice. One of the ways would be to have mock conversations before important meetings and note down the critical points to be discussed. 

Further, as stated above, the entrepreneur’s conviction and confidence play a major role in effective communication skills. The entrepreneur has to put his point across to the stakeholders including clients, employees, suppliers, etc. This can happen when the entrepreneur can explain the situation as it is, which only comes with conviction.

For verbal communication, there are means to practice, including mock conversations, as aforesaid. Along with this, one can also practice communicating before the mirror, can record one’s conversations and can then review the recordings for corrections.

For written communication, ideas need to be clear. Clarity of thought would lead to clear written communication. The language used needs to be simple enough such that the target audience can understand. While correct grammar plays a part in communication, I feel that so long as the communication is simple enough to understand, certain grammatical mistakes can be ignored. For improving the language, the entrepreneur can start reading newspapers and management books. That way, the language would also improve and latest updates would also be known.

I also think that for good communication, a positive frame of mind is required. This can be cultivated by the entrepreneur by reading motivational material. The entrepreneur can also read certain scriptures and religious literature with modern-day practical interpretations for inculcating that positive frame of mind.

I am CS Raj Kapadia, owner and CEO of R. K. Kapadia and Associates, a startup firm of Company Secretaries. By profession, I am a Company Secretary and LLB and also practising in Intellectual Property Rights. I hand-hold entrepreneurs with business ideas by setting up entities in India and handle the regulatory and compliance aspects.

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