Communicating with clients is absolutely critical to running a successful law firm. However, every attorney knows that unnecessary communication can take up precious time and cause significant distraction. As such, attorneys try to limit it is much as possible. It goes with the territory.
Believe it or not, attorneys can employ some key communication strategies that actually reduce unnecessary communications with clients. The key is understanding the root causes of why clients attempt to communicate without any real purpose. Once you figure that out, you can cut down on communication volume.
Here are four strategies for reducing unnecessary communications at your firm:
1. Provide Regular Updates
The number one reason clients contact their attorneys is to get updates on their cases. That is normal and to be expected. However, an attorney does not need to receive a phone call every single day. Rarely do things change that quickly. So how do you put a stop to daily phone calls? By offering regular updates.
There is no black and white rule for how often updates should be provided. But contacting clients every time their cases are touched pretty much heads off most unnecessary phone calls. Such frequent communications do not have to be long and detailed, either. A simple one or two-sentence message is often enough to let clients know what is going on so that they don’t worry.
2. Communicating in the Cloud
It is rarely a good idea to give clients personal cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Doing so is an open invitation to a communication tsunami. Instead, it’s better to give clients access to cloud communications via your case management app. By the way, NuLaw contains a secure communication module for just that purpose.
With chat and other communications tools, our software makes it easy to keep communications within the cloud environment so that clients aren’t calling your cell phone or sending e-mails to your personal address after hours. They will limit themselves to communicating when they know you are in the office.
3. Answer Every Single Contact
Though this next strategy might seem counterproductive, it’s not. One of the big reasons clients continually try to contact their attorneys is that they aren’t getting a response. The more times they have to make a phone call or send a message, the more anxious they become. This only increases the frequency with which they try to make contact. If you answer every single contact with a clear, concise answer, you relieve some of that anxiety and subsequently reduce contact volume.
Note that the attorney doesn’t have to answer every single contact him or herself. Members of the support staff can respond to less urgent contacts that don’t require specific advice. Junior attorneys can also be utilized for contacts that require a bit more knowledge. It is less important who answers and more important that every contact be answered.
4. Schedule Phone Calls
When phone calls cannot be avoided, its best to schedule them. In this day and age of so much busyness, it’s too easy to find yourself entangled in a game of telephone tag that will never have a clear winner. Scheduling phone calls eliminates the game and streamlines communication.
It goes without saying that some of the communicating that goes on within the legal industry is unnecessary. But that’s true in any industry. It’s just more pronounced in law because every unnecessary communication distracts attorneys from working on cases. If you understand why unnecessary communications happen, you can take action to prevent them. Hopefully the strategies discussed in this post will get you pointed in the right direction.