Three ways to improve client care at your law firm

When prospective clients contact you, they are often facing challenging life circumstances. So, it’s important to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. Alexa Lemzy shares how.
A woman shakes hands with a man at the entrance to an office.

In the age of total mobility and instant communication, clients expect fast responses from any business after an initial enquiry.

This includes law firms, where clients may call the office and leave a voicemail, or leave their details on a web form.

Prospective clients will be contacting you likely during moments of stress or pressure. They have a problem that requires your expertise to resolve it quickly.

Simply put: they won’t wait for days to hear back from you after an initial enquiry, they’d rather turn to another law firm that cares about their time.

Perfect your onboarding process

One of the most challenging aspects of client service is the intake process.

From having that first contact with clients to having them sign a contract, there’s a lot of scope for things to go wrong and for them to lose faith in you.

Clients are paying someone to work on a case that they believe they deserve to win.

It’s important for your clients to see and feel that your firm is organised, and that their requests are handled in a timely manner.

This will increase the trust they have for you, and strengthen your working relationship.

Follow these four simple steps to make sure your intake process goes smoothly.

1. Make sure you know what phase each client is at

Divide and conquer by keeping tabs on the phase of client engagement.

For example, if they made a first call and need to be called back, make a note of that. If the next step is for them to sign a contract, write that on their file.

That way you can communicate efficiently and confidently with them because you know what the next step is.

2. Use standardised templates

Doing this for common cases eliminates reinventing the wheel every time you take in a new client.

3. Make sure your staff know your firm’s policies

You don’t want the client to have any unpleasant surprises down the road or put yourself at risk of malpractice claims.

Train your employees to provide the right information, have frequent training days, and update your team on policy changes as they arise.

4. Use e-signing

It’s more common than ever for contracts to be signed online.

Waiting around for a client to show up and sign a document in person can really stall things. By enabling e-signing, you can eliminate this problem.

Use text for updates

One of the most frustrating aspects for clients is waiting around for their solicitor to call with an update.

Clients often complain that their solicitors don’t keep them updated enough. Of course, you’re busy, but the client needs to know the progress of their case and what the next stage will be.

Texting can be a life-saver in this regard. If you don’t have time to chase down a client for a voice call, sending an update via text can save you time and make sure the client is in the know.

Text messaging is also great for sending out appointment reminders so you don’t have highly paid legal staff waiting around for no-shows.

For example, 1stCitizen Lawyers adopted texting for their client communication and saw the improved efficiency at their law office: “We have experienced increased client retention, satisfaction and attendance for appointments, saving time and effort that would have otherwise been spent on making phone calls.”

Use your emotional intelligence

Always remember that clients are often coming to you when they are going through an emotionally charged situation.

This could be a divorce, a criminal charge, an inheritance due to the death of a loved one or unfair treatment at work.

You may be seeing this person at their worst, so make sure that you (and your administrative staff) are skilled and sympathetic listeners who know how to comfort clients without escalating their already frayed nerves.

Your office environment also matters - make sure it’s welcoming and showcases why your clients can trust you.

For example, soundproof meeting rooms can give peace of mind to the clients who need to discuss personal matters and share their sensitive information with your solicitors.

Anticipate the possible triggers of unstable emotional conditions. When you’re dealing with bereavements, photos of happy families and lovers aren’t the best choice to decorate the walls.

Offering excellent client care will help grow your firm’s business and reputation.

Improving your intake processes, using emotional intelligence to handle clients, and embracing the use of text for updates and appointment reminders can all enhance your firm’s client care.

Views expressed in our blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Law Society.

I want to know more

Join our Leadership and Management section for exclusive access to relevant content and events

Use our learning resources for in-depth training on putting clients at the core of your firm

Explore our resources on business management and HR and people management