Change is truly inevitable, even in the legal industry. Consider the average age and demographics of the clients who require your services as a lawyer. If you practice estate law, you may see clients of all ages, but chances are good that most of your clients are part of an older generation. If you practice family law, you may notice that your clients seem to be getting younger. Clients are reshaping the legal industry. Is your law firm ready?
Client-Focused Legal Advocacy
Gone are the days when clients were content to leave messages or simply wait for you to call them with an update. Now, clients take their business, their money, and their loyalty to lawyers who make them feel special.
We know what you’re thinking. You have more than one client. How can you make each one of them feel special? You’re thinking you don’t have that sort of time. The good news is that making each of your clients feel special doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. When your law firm becomes more client focused, you’ll get more referrals and clients will stay loyal to your firm. Some suggestions for being client focused include:
- Respect the time of your clients. Of course, there are times when court hearings run on and on or you have an emergency. Yet, when possible you should strive to respect the time of your clients by seeing them on time. If you are going to be late and it is unavoidable, apologize to the client and offer to reschedule for another time if they are unable to wait.
- Return phone calls within 24 business hours. One of the most commonly filed complaints against lawyers is a lack of communication. Clients don’t usually file a bar complaint about one missed phone call, but over time a history of un-returned calls can add up. Create a policy for your law office that all client calls should be returned within 24 business hours. Even if you or your staff doesn’t have the answer to the question within 24 business hours, a simple phone call stating that you are still researching the matter can go a long way in keeping clients happy.
- Create a follow-up plan. Follow-up isn’t just for problems. Follow-up is a magic wand to client satisfaction. How many times have you asked a client if they have questions just to be told no? Then, you get a phone call a few hours or days later with a question. Maybe they misunderstood and they’re embarrassed to ask you. A follow-up call or email can be made to clients the day after their appointment to make sure that they’ve not thought of any questions or need clarification.
Meet Your Clients Where They Are
This tip can be used both literally and figuratively. Many personal injury attorneys are willing to meet their clients in the hospital or in their home. What about meeting your clients for coffee or lunch? This takes the pressure off your clients. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that you may need to make adjustments to secure privacy and confidentiality, but meeting clients where they are can help solidify client loyalty.
Figuratively speaking, meeting clients where they are is more about being able to communicate effectively with them given a particular state of mind or meeting a particular need. This means knowing how to defuse angry clients. It means knowing how to provide a professional level of empathy where necessary. It could mean a little hand-holding.
Appealing to the Younger Generation
While older clients may be content to wait for their documents to come in the mail, pay you via check, or call you on the phone, the younger generation was raised in a society that provided instant gratification for just about everything. If they had a question, they could get an answer in seconds from a smart phone. If they wanted to buy something, they had online merchants and payment choices.
In time, the majority of clients for all law firms will be from the Millennial and future generations. Your law firm must be ready for that. Some ways that you can appeal to the younger generation include:
- Providing online payment options. An online payment system doesn’t just benefit your clients. It benefits your law firm, too. You get paid faster.
- Secure messaging and document exchange. Even smart phones can be used to scan documents. Providing a secure way for your clients to send you a question or a document that you need can improve your workflow as well as client satisfaction.
- Solutions to meet their needs. By and large, the younger generation has adopted a work hard, play hard mentality. Many aren’t looking to buy a home right away, but many do look for alternative ways to make money. Consider your area of law and the needs that the younger generation has. Find ways to reach out to your target market about their needs.
Get Ready for the Future
Isn’t it time that you prepared your law firm to meet future expectations? Zelican can help your clients pay online, get the documents they need from you, and helps you manage your law firm anytime, anywhere. Zelican can help your law firm meet the needs of your clients.
You can test drive all of Zelican’s features without a fee.