Customers have always demanded quality service and fair pricing. With the fierce competition out there, expectations are higher than ever. Law firms are no exception. Clients deserve first-rate service when they interact with law firms. They need to feel confident that your law firm has their best interests at heart. This starts from the first call to settlement but must go above and beyond your competition for you to cultivate a distinguished reputation.
The importance of client communication cannot be overstated, so below we’ve given 4 ways to improve client communication at your personal injury law firm.
Keep it simple
When reading legal documents, many people will feel lost and confused by legalese, overlong sentences, and even the layout. Make your firm should stand out with documents that clients can easily understand. Every communication to your clients should be written in simple terms, so they are confident and comfortable when reviewing any information that they receive from you.
Each client will have different expectations so it is important to manage those expectations from the start. This applies not only to outcomes and timeframes but communication throughout the whole process. Naturally, you will provide your expertise, advice, and experience in the personal injury domain, but clients also need to know how these services will be provided and at what frequency. It is important to be clear about what both you and your client want and can expect. Information that should be gathered or conveyed when setting expectations includes:
- Phone calls, texts, or emails. Which does the client prefer?
- Frequency of status updates (e.g., weekly updates, updates only when there is something new to report).
- During what hours they can call and how long it takes to respond to emails.
- How do your reminder systems work for important dates like medical treatments, court dates, etc? Do you use texts, emails, and/or calls and how often will reminders be sent? (Updates should be sent regularly via the preferred communication method).
- How should you go about collecting any additional information required?
Set out the review process for important documents they need to see before submission.
- How will they receive the documents, how long do they have to respond, etc.?
- Demonstrate how your system’s client portal provides ongoing updates and allows them to upload/download documents and information.
If expectations for both parties are set properly at the start, clients will know that you are committed to their case even if they haven’t heard from you in a while. Staying on top of updates and communication with your clients is far better than the clients repeatedly calling or emailing you for updates. You are the experts, in this case, so your clients must see you are in control of the situation from your conduct.
Preserve ethical obligations
Under ABA Model Rule 1.4, attorneys have a duty to keep a client informed and “promptly comply with requests for information”. Personal injury is among the top practice areas for ethical complaints, with lack of communication being a commonly cited grievance. You certainly don’t want even an unfounded complaint to be filed against you. Therefore, it is imperative that expectations be communicated at the onset of the journey and clients be regularly updated.
Use the right tools
Any team member at your law firm should be able to track previous communication with clients so that cases can be taken over from any point and workload can be shared. As personal injury lawyers ourselves, we understand the need for keeping communication records easy to use. In fact, CloudLex was specifically designed with client communication tools for lawyers in mind.
CloudLex’s communication features include:
- Fully integrated email management: The email feature enables you to send and receive emails while you are working on your cases. It’s easy to manage your important tasks, reminders, and summaries while also sending emails, tagging, and taking notes all at the same time.
- Discussion boards: It’s not just about communicating with clients; you also need to communicate internally to service clients efficiently. The Sidebar feature is a discussion board-style communication system that allows you to tag cases, add comments and follow posts. Utilizing Sidebar for all internal and case-related conversations across the firm ensures all your team members stay on the same page.
- Client Messenger: Send text messages to clients without ever leaving CloudLex and keep your personal phone number private. CloudLex will automatically organize responses and file your correspondence in a convenient and case-specific manner—making your communications easy to find later and ensuring your records are always complete.