Communicating with your clients is one of the most important aspects of your work as an attorney. Even with a successful outcome of a case, poor attorney-client communication leaves your client feeling unsatisfied with their time working with you. Getting great reviews and having your clients refer you to their friends and family requires a positive outcome, but perhaps more importantly, it requires communicating with your clients throughout the case.
How can you improve communication with clients?
First, you need to acknowledge and understand the important role communication plays in your interaction with clients.
Good attorney-client communication skills are built on basic psychology. You must understand your clients and provide them not only with clear and concisely presented information but also be empathetic. This creates trust and puts them at ease when they are most vulnerable.
This style of communication doesn’t come easily to everyone. It takes practice. But it’s well worth the effort you invest. Once you understand the basics behind good communication, you can focus on implementing specific actions to improve your interactions with clients. This not only helps you throughout the case, but it also means you’ll improve the relationship with them even if the outcome isn’t ideal.
1. Good Communication Begins at the Beginning
You’re communicating with your client right from the start of your relationship. It begins when they start searching for a lawyer. In the early stages when they reach out to you, it’s important to set a high standard of communication.
Some lawyers assume this starts when they get a phone call or a client sets up a consultation, but it starts long before that. Good communication begins when your clients stumble on your social media presence or visit your website.
Starting things off on the right foot means making sure the initial impression potential clients get from you is that you’re ready and willing to communicate to them all of the information they need to make smart legal decisions.
Don’t misunderstand – creating a warm and welcoming office and having someone friendly answer your phones is important. These are huge parts of attorney-client communication. But lawyers must realize that communicating with clients begins before anyone picks up the phone or walks through your office door. Make sure the way you communicate online with your website and your social media is as effective as communication throughout the entire client-attorney relationship.
2. Create High, But Realistic Expectations
One of the best things you can do to ensure clients are happy throughout your time working together and once the case is complete is to set reasonable expectations. Avoid creating unrealistic expectations, without suppressing their hope in a positive outcome.
Many attorneys make the mistake of over-promising, which is great at the beginning when getting a client on board. But more often than not, it ends up hurting the relationship in the end.
Avoid mentioning specific numbers and be honest about time-frames. But make sure you promise them you’ll do all you can to get them the best possible outcome.
3. Don’t Abandon Your Humanity to Be a Good Lawyer
This is especially good advice when giving your clients bad news.
A person’s reaction to bad news involves many unconscious occurrences. Their heartbeat speeds, their blood pressure rises, and their breathing changes. Even people who have their emotions under control experience these physical changes when something makes them angry or upset.
Attorneys tend to focus on the facts and present information with details and explanations. But when a client is in this state of heightened emotion, they’ll likely not understand you. Initially, it’s best to not explain and not reason and address your client’s emotions. This human-to-human response might not come instinctively. However, it’s going to go a long way in enhancing your professional relationship with your client.
Good Attorney-Client Communication Begins Before Anyone Calls You
If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication with your target audience by improving your social media presence or website content, we can help. We understand there’s a delicate balance between presenting important legal information and providing the support your client’s needs when facing difficult circumstances.
To schedule a consultation, contact Legal Web Design.