Rainmaking Recommendation #14: Your Response Is Required

What to keep your clients happy?  Respond.

One of the main reasons why clients state that they leave their current attorney’s can be classified as “attorney indifference”.   Attorneys do not respond to emails, voicemails, or requests for information.

More often than not, it is because the attorney does not have any current news about a case.  Ergo, most attorneys decide that because of this, a client’s contact does not warrant a response.

This does not excuse you from responding.

It takes less than 60 seconds to hit the reply button and respond to an email with “Thank you for contacting me.  So far there is nothing to tell you, but as soon as something comes up, I will get in contact.”

It takes less than 2 minutes to call up and say:  “I cannot really chat right now, but I just wanted to let you know that I got your call and so far nothing new is happening, but feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. “

Attorneys need to remember that most clients are not used to being in legal disputes of any kind.  This is scary to a client and they just want to be reassured that their attorney is still working on their behalf.

Help me spread the word!

Comments

  1. Again, providing such useful information. This website is very clean. Will be looking forward to future posts!

  2. Jaimie Field says:

    Thank you so much for the compliment.

  3. The simple courtesies make such a difference, don’t they? Thank you notes still carry a huge impact because nobody else sends them.

  4. Good article, and it’s so, so true.
    I sell efficiency and organization to the Legal market, and I’ve always instructed my colleagues and teamates that getting back to the client is a an absolute must…even if it’s a phone call to say “hold tight, I am still working on your problem/issue”.

  5. Gary Johnston-Webber says:

    Hi Jaimie

    Again you raise a very interesting topic.

    I was just reading and commenting on another subject that was “Is Customer Service dead” in another group

    I think my comments to that question can have an echo in this topic of yours.

    Again from a non lawyer point of view, I would question as to where is the customer service when it comes to the attorneys.

    I will admit that for the larger attorneys and their large clients they do, once a year, invite the few people they deal with at their client’s company, to an expensive and rather enjoyable luncheon, however it is just a smidgen tarnished when one remembers the quantum of the invoices you have processed over the time for payment to the attorney.

    Please accept that I am not getting at the fact, that a good attorney is worth a lot to a company, however when one sees the bill that includes incidentals like a phone call or paper and such like appearing when the two companies are doing a great deal of business is a touch sensitive. I do appreciate that law firms do have expenses and also that they have some form of automated billing system, so to change that for your valued customer is a bit difficult as who do you change your software programs for and who not, however it remains a sore point on top of expensive counsel.

    So enough of that issue as I would like to return to the customer service that legal firms offer and I do agree with you that it really is dead in this instance.

    I have spent a great deal of time in various attorney offices over my career and could see the actual workings and whilst i agree there are times when all the wheels fall off for a client and it is then all hands on deck for the legal firm to assist and very quickly, this is not the norm so I totally agree with you that there is ample time to pay some attention to your clients in providing some decent customer service.

    My last 40 years of business has been so interesting in watching the changes occurring in business in general and especially in the legal fraternity. I have seen where general business have had to make some major changes in their modus operandi and their structures merely to remain in business with the advent of computers, to say the least, and all the other management style changes over these years.

    Now having said that, the same rapidity of change has not really been evident regarding the staid legal firms, and only now that business it starting to train there own people to do a lot of what the attorney’s did and the changes, as evident in the UK with the Tesco Act etc, are things starting to happen.

    My view is that should the attorney’s not create faster change and provide customer service and all the niceties that go with business today then there are going to be a number of firms going to the wall and unfortunately a number of really good attorney’s finding themselves out of work.

    This would be a great shame, in my mind, and I would like to see a greater mentoring process being developed between the lawyers and their clients to go forwards in a proactive manner.

    Enough said, as these are merely my feelings on my observations.

    Best regards

    Gary Johnston-Webber
    gjw.consulting@vodamail.co.za

  6. Jaimie Field says:

    Gary:

    You bring up some amazing points and I will be addressing some of them in future blogs. The legal field is changing, albeit slower than the rest of the industries out there….

    Jeff & Mary Kay:

    It’s amazing isn’t it? Just treating others the way you would want to be treated makes all the difference in the world.

    Thanks for the comments.

  7. Jamie,

    It’s really embarrassing that what you say is true. Unfortunately, many folks simply don’t build in time during their day to deal with “non-emergencies”. Guess what happens then? They become emergencies.

    If young lawyers want to be a change agent in the profession, this can be a really big first step. This is not “billable” time but will do more to build a lawyer’s long term income and success than many other activities.

    I recommend attorneys get small upscale letterhead (not 8.5 x 11) with nothing more than their name at the top. Use that with a quick note and a hand addressed envelope. This will definitely set you apart from the pack.

    Thanks again for the excellent tip.

  8. Jaimie Field says:

    Dan – I always recommend the handwritten note as well. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Jaimie- I think another good thing to do is to set up regularly scheduled status updates. When attorneys work with our Bankruptcy Case Support staff, our paralegals have scheduled dates to call clients and let them know the status of their case. This often prevents the clients from ever feeling the need to call the attorney to ask about their case because they already know they will get an update without having to ask. For an attorney not using an LPO, this might be as simple as setting up a couple hours every other Monday to call clients quickly and relay status information to them even if that status information is “no change but still working on your case.”

  10. Jaimie Field says:

    Kevin:

    Thanks for the comment. I agree with you and try to teach my clients to schedule a block of time per week to just follow up with old clients, new clients and prospects. I always suggest no more than 30 minutes and whether they get to one client or 5 at least they are responding.

    Jaimie

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