Three Simple Ways to Improve Client Communication
Effective communication translates into business revenues
• Create a comfortable and transparent conversational environment;
• Make the most of your listening skills, looking to comprehend client goals;
• Stay away from legal jargon to meet your clients where they are;
• Better communication means an elevated client experience, which converts into wider revenues for your business.
Nowadays being a solo-practitioner requires so much from us, that some of its aspects go at the bottom of the prioritisation list. And for some, efficient client communication is yet a subject that its utmost importance is not entirely reflected in day-to-day management. Nonetheless, this can assume a significant part of its prosperity or failure.
Today’s customers expect a more significant expert level, on-demand customer service and those that disregard this pattern do as such at their own hazard. Actually, the failure to adequate communication in plain English is one of the top reviews made by customers against lawyers.
If you haven’t given much thought to the effectiveness of your client communications previously, incorporating a few new tools and techniques into your client interactions is a great place to start. Here are three tips to consider.
1. Talk about money
Transparency and clarifying conversations are a must, especially when it comes to money and fee. There is nothing more annoying to expect a certain amount, and then, once the service is done, you’ve got a bill for a different amount with no apparent explanation. Therefore, one way to improve the quality of communications with your clients is to talk in detail about fee and cost estimates at the start of their case, or even to consider flat fee billing.
By giving clients more clarity from the beginning regarding the anticipated scope of their case (e.g. attorney hours required, court costs, expert witness fees, etc.) you can help ease those tensions.
If you think you can accurately estimate the scope of a client’s matter in your area of practice, flat fee billing is also something to consider. One of the enormous possible disadvantages to hourly charging for solo professionals is the continuous, awkward expense and collection conversations with customers. On the off chance that you want to precisely gauge the extent of a customer's issue in your general vicinity of training, level expense charging is additionally an interesting point.
2. Make sure to active listening to your client
Good listening skills are crucial for effective legal communication. When clients are listened to, they feel understood and are more trusting of you. To connect with your clients and others, and to have them experience you as an effective lawyer, polish your listening skills.
Time is money for everyone, and we often want to make the meetings as short as possible. While this might be a good idea for some team meetings, for sure is not when it comes to client communication. We tend to anticipate what is going to be said and don't feel the need to listen carefully. But when we really listen to a client, we can hear levels of communication that may deepen our understanding of the client's problem.
Here are some practical ideas to improve your listening:
- Make sure not to interrupt.
- Avoid rehearsing answers in your mind while the other person is talking.
- Pay attention and look for the feelings that underlie the person's comments.
- There is no need for you to worry about controlling the conversation or showing off by giving an answer before you have fully heard the question.
- Let go of being awkward with tuning in to your client’s emotions. Great listening aptitudes include silence and intuition.
3. Know which medium to use
A variety of different communication channels may be more or less appropriate for different situations. Consider whether it's ideal to convey news, answer questions, or provide updates via phone, email, personal letter or another medium.
Additionally, consider what kind of communication channels your clients prefer — and can easily access. A few clients may favour a quick message to address an inquiry, but relying upon your clients’ situations, not all may prefer this approach. Likewise, you may like emailing your clients, but this too sometimes can be a challenge.
One approach that suits very well most of the solo-practitioners is the use of an online platform, where they can keep track of all those who contacted them, with their inquires. On top of that such platforms, lawyers might end up having much more benefits, including a professional profile, the opportunity to get in touch with other lawyers, to promote their papers, and so on. Understanding your clients and their life situations is key here; if all else fails, ask them how they would best like for you to contact them.
At Avoteca, we’re working towards facilitating the lawyer-client relationship, supporting independent lawyers to thrive and helping digital nomads find the right lawyer.
Marketer & Community Manager
21 October 2020