4 Client Communication Problems Law Firms Don’t Realize They Have

When attorneys think about how to provide the best legal service possible to clients, they probably think about the results they achieve in the courtroom or the hours of research and preparation they do on a given case.

Though these aspects of your firm’s services are crucial, they have very little to do with one of the most important of your team’s offerings: communication. When you don’t communicate effectively, all the hard work you do will only go so far.

Communication is a blind spot for so many attorneys and law firms. Often, firms aren’t even aware of their clients’ frustrations. The good news is that, in most cases, the fixes are easy.

Here are four client communication problems you might not even realize your firm has—and how to fix them!

Your Client Feels Like You’re Not Paying Attention to Their Case

The worst feeling a client can have is feeling like they’re their own case manager. Even if you are working hard on a case and doing everything possible for the client, they’ll never know if you don’t communicate that to them.

It’s often true that a case sits idle for many reasons that have nothing to do with the lawyer who is handling it. In those situations, it’s best to promptly communicate delays to the client and let them know their case is still on the top of your mind.

Fixing these problems means communicating frequently with a client. That will alleviate any uncertainty they’re feeling and demonstrate your value as their advocate.

Your Client’s Messages Aren’t Returned Promptly (or Ever)

For your client, their case is potentially one of the most important events in their life. Imagine their frustration when they reach out to the person they’ve trusted to handle it and hear nothing in return.

Client messages should never go unaddressed, and the sooner you respond, the better. Even if the client’s question doesn’t have an answer, letting them know that will help put their mind at ease.

Create a policy at your law firm that someone should respond to the client’s message on the same business day if possible and no later than 24 hours. This will prevent a backlog of unreturned messages.

Expectations Aren’t Set from the Beginning

It’s likely that daily updates on your client’s case would be unreasonable. After all, you and your team are busy, and there isn’t enough happening with the case that would warrant that much correspondence with a client.

However, it’s possible that your client doesn’t realize this. It’s a law firm’s job to communicate and set expectations very early on in the relationship. Failing to do could result in an unnecessarily disappointed client.

When you first accept a case, or even before, discuss with your client how frequently you’ll be in touch and what you’ll be communicating when you reach out. This could entail communicating milestones and a broad estimate of when those milestones are likely to occur.

You’re Not Listening Enough to Your Clients

Attorneys are often so familiar with the law and the details of a client’s case that they tend to do more talking and explaining than listening. This is a big mistake, as your client’s needs go well beyond receiving information.

The time you invest in listening to what your client is experiencing will reap dividends when it comes to client satisfaction and generating more business. Practicing empathy is a soft skill that receives far too little attention in law school and ongoing education.

Fortunately, the solution is simple. When you call or meet with your clients, carve out time to ask them questions and listen thoroughly to what they’re saying.

Let backdocket Help Your Firm Communicate Better with Clients

At backdocket, we’re passionate about helping small- to mid-size law firms do the best work possible for their clients. Our practice management software uses automation, dashboards, and centralized documentation to make sure team members excel at client communication.

One of the most common pieces of feedback we hear from our customers is how backdocket dramatically improved their relationships with clients. By having reminders in front of you and notes from previous calls on hand, you can pick up conversations where you left off. Your client will feel like your team is always having meetings about their case. If you’d like to learn more about how backdocket can help you and your team work smarter, contact us today to schedule a free demonstration.

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