Can improving the attorney-client relationship prevent you from losing clients?
Unhappy clients are a part of the business. Even the best lawyers encounter someone that isn’t happy with the service they were provided. Maybe you made a mistake or maybe the client wouldn’t have been satisfied under any circumstances. Sometimes it’s as simple as an unavoidable negative outcome for the client.
But what if something your firm is doing is costing you clients? Are there things you can do to improve the attorney-client relationship and prevent the loss of clients once they’ve come on board?
Here’s What You Should Know About Improving the Attorney-Client Relationship
Most problems begin with a lack of communication. It takes longer than usual to return a call from a client or there are no changes in a case, so you don’t bother updating your client. It might seem as if a reasonable amount of time has passed to you, but the client, who is entirely focused on his or her legal issue, is fuming.
In addition to feeling frustrated, he or she might also begin to lose faith in your ability to handle their case. They might start to wonder if their case is getting the attention it deserves from your firm. If these thoughts blossom, it could eventually lead to them cutting ties with you and finding a new lawyer. This is true even if everything is going great with their case otherwise. Clients need to have confidence and feel as though they are in the loop on their case.
What are some of the simplest and best things you can do to prevent things from ever reaching this point?
Make It a Policy to Return Client Phone Calls within 24 to 48 Hours
Barring any major holidays or emergencies, make sure you return calls within a certain frame of time. The exception to this rule would be the occasional client that calls you several times a week with every little concern that arises. In these cases, it might be best to set up a system for dealing with these clients.
Be proactive and implement a weekly or bi-weekly phone meeting. It’s an opportunity to addresses the concerns of these clients. Encourage them to keep a running list of their concerns to discuss during the scheduled meeting. If they have a specific time when they know they’ll get your undivided attention, they’re less likely to clog up the phone lines. This is a way to enrich the attorney-client relationship and keep your staff from feeling overwhelmed by client demands.
Offer Easy Access to Basic Information
Clients, and potential clients, too, for that matter, need immediate access to basic information about your firm. Your firm’s website is a great tool for providing this information. It doesn’t matter if it’s your office’s address and contact information or answers to basic questions related to their legal issues. You must make sure your site is easy to navigate and filled with useable information for clients.
Invest in a System to Store Documents and Information that Provides On-Demand Client Access
Instead of sending and re-sending documents every time a client requests something, you can store the information in an online portal that allows for easy access. In some cases, you can also provide communication access in the same place. Clients have access any time they need it to all of the pertinent information and discussions regarding their case.
Keep Careful Track of Court Deadlines and Make Sure They are Met
One of the fastest ways you’ll disappoint a client is failing to do something that results in their receiving a notice from the court or a third party notifying them of a missed deadline. Even in the rare event that there were legitimate reasons for this happening, it reflects poorly on your team.
If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your policies and procedures related to client care and services, now is the time. Unfortunately, many attorneys allow these things to fall through the cracks. There are plenty of things you can do to improve the operations of your firm, but it’s important to implement the right strategies and make the most of the opportunities out there.