Whether you're a new attorney or a veteran of the legal industry, we've all had that one client who writes emails at 10:00pm at night and expects a reply in their inbox the next morning. With the rise of widespread internet connectivity and near-universal smart-phone use, this trend is only on the rise.
In the modern age, how much emphasis should attorneys place on response time?
Studies have shown that one of the most crucial elements to client satisfaction is how and when an attorney responds to a client's initial request for legal services, i.e., the consultation email. According to one late 2017 article on client responsiveness, discovering the best communication method for a client is crucial to building trust and establishing yourself as a capable and attentive attorney.
Sounds easy, right? It can be more challenging than you'd think. To break it down, here are the three core pieces of effective client responsiveness strategy:
- Multiple Channels of Communication - Giving your potential client-base more than just a phone number to reach you is not only effective, but a necessary business standard for the modern lawyer. Firms and legal organizations are finding it necessary to build an online presence (both an easy-to-navigate website and the appropriate social media channels) to capture the more than 95% of people who start their legal search using the internet. Other channels include: email, phone, text, bot, online portal with resources, etc.
- Setting a professional expectation - “Consumers are habituated to real-time communication”, says Clio founder and CEO Jack Newton. When you treat your clients’ needs in a timely manner, you are showing them they are the priority - not just their business. This is a simple and profound message.
- Make the time - There is importance in balancing your practice and your personal life, however it is can be a very lucrative business decision to make yourself as possible. This doesn’t mean call them back immediately, but the sooner the better. And sometimes calling them to let them know you’ll be unavailable until a certain date is enough to establish reliability.
Setting your own standards for your business process with regards to contacting clients in a timely manner is a habit worth forming. After all, being responsive is respecting their choice to contact you over other attorneys; an easily reciprocated gesture.