Lawyer-client communication is an essential part to any law firm’s long-term survival and prosperity. No matter how talented you and your team are at the practice of law, your ability to communicate will define your success.
Studies have shown that over four-fifths of clients have ended their relationship with a law firm over poor communication. Keep in mind, this figure is not a study of only clients who left a firm; it covers all clients, period.
And their departure from your firm will have a ripple effect. Another study revealed that 13 percent of those who leave will tell at least 15 other people about their experience. That’s devastating for any business, but particularly one that relies on referrals. An unhappy client leaving your firm is a gift that never stops giving…to your competitors.
On the flip side, the reward for the offices that master law firm-client relationship management is enticing—as in revenues that will average 4 percent to 8 percent above the industry average.
Effective communication begins before the business relationship with a client does. Over half of those who hire a lawyer cite their use of technology as a major part of the decision-making process.
“Okay,” you say, “I get it. My firm needs to communicate and use modern technological tools.”
How do I do that?
Know how to text
Your clients are used to communicating with a simple text message. If you’re concerned about doing this for business reasons, your concerns are well-founded. But you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Make sure every attorney in your office understands the ethical rules governing text message communications and encourage them to use this is much as they’re able.
Old-school attorneys might be uncomfortable with the apps for video conferencing, but everyone has to get used to it.
In this regard, the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown provided an unexpected opportunity—people who might have otherwise stayed set in their ways were forced to learn video technology.
Keep it going when economic life resumes. A client that doesn’t have to drive into your office and can still get the personal connection that video offers is more likely to be a happy client.
This is the big one. Portals are where you can securely share confidential documents. The reduced load of paper usage is beneficial for both your office and the client. A law firm that isn’t using a secure portal is behind the times.
These are the modern tools that can be used to enhance the client experience. But in one regard your old-school attorneys are right—there’s no substitute for just old-fashioned keeping in touch. When clients call, call them back. Train your staff to find the information clients need quickly. An effective combination of old-school ways and new-school tools will keep clients happy and your firm prosperous. It’s the best legal marketing program there is.