How do clients decide whether they’d like to hire a lawyer? According to the 2017 Legal Trends Report, 67% of consumers say that the most important factor in choosing a lawyer is how long it takes for them to respond to their first call or email. This shouldn’t be surprising—often, if your client is looking for legal assistance, they’ll likely want it sooner rather than later.
The amount of time it takes for you to respond to a potential client can make a huge difference in your ability to secure their business.
Why? In a Forbes article titled The Future Lawyer, author Mark A. Cohen explains:
The legal guild is being replaced by a more client-centric, accessible (24/7/365), technology-enabled, process driven, knowledge management based, cost-effective, collaborative, agile and global delivery model.
In today’s demanding market your clients have more choices than they can handle, and they expect you court to them immediately. Law offices that respond quickly and through modern and convenient means will win client business and loyalty far more frequently than those who fail to modernize and adapt.
So, if the bottom line is fast response, exactly how fast do you need to respond? The answer may surprise you. Responding to an inquiry from a potential client 30 minutes after they contact you versus five minutes after they contact you means you are 100 times less likely to secure them.
That means it’s important to have a system in place that can support rapid responses. From using app messaging and SMS, to implementing an automated client response system, to hiring staff who can respond to potential clients quickly, here are the top ways lawyers can secure more new clients with quicker responses:
1. Consider texting
Everyone texts, including your clients. More and more people are becoming smartphone dependent with 85% of 16-75-year-olds in the U.K. owning or having access to a smartphone.
If this trend continues, law offices that still depend on calling and leaving voicemails will soon be left behind. Texting with your clients makes it easy for you to communicate quickly and on a device that’s most convenient to your client. Clients can send quick texts with updates that may affect their case, and if needed, you can respond quickly as well.
Bulk text messaging services like TextMagic allow users to send texts from their business, so that your clients will see your law firm’s name or your business number as a sender instead of your personal details. Such software also allows you to schedule texts and send them right from your email, desktop software, or mobile app.
2. Give your staff the tools to be efficient
Depending on the size of your law firm and the number of clients you have, you may not be able to respond directly to your clients’ messages. However, with the right tools and processes, your staff can give your clients and potential clients the quick responses they’re looking for. For example, text messaging services, as mentioned above, can help you and your staff respond to
In addition to providing quick responses via text, you may also want to send reminders and updates via text. Here are a few examples:
- Send an appointment reminder to a client the day before their meeting
- Follow up on your last meeting to see if a client has questions
- Notify your client via text when there’s an update to their case
3. Make sure your website is mobile friendly
Is your website mobile friendly? To help you find out, here’s a quick checklist:
- Can you use your law firm’s website easily on a mobile device?
- Does it download quickly on a mobile or does it take forever to load?
- Does it have autofill forms that allow clients to send an inquiry without having to provide a cumbersome amount of information?
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, you’re missing out. Clients don’t just want a fast response from you: They want a quick and simple experience reaching out to you. If a potential client is checking out your website from their mobile device, chances are they will want to reach out to you right away.
Make it easy for clients and potential clients to contact you quickly and conveniently via your mobile site by optimising your site for mobile.
4. Don’t forget about data security
As much as you want to get new clients and respond to messages as quickly as you can, you’ll always want to put the security of your firm and your clients first. Make sure all the data that passes through the communication channels you use is encrypted so you minimise the risks of a data breach.
Taking shortcuts when it comes to security is never worth it in the end—it creates more problems than it solves. Taking measures like consolidating data storage locations, using cloud-providers with a good security track record, limiting the number of employees who have access to certain data, using effective (and yes, sometimes costly) security software, and encrypting data while it’s in transit will all help keep your firm and client data safe.
Lawyers who adapt to the modern mobile client’s fast response expectations may soon find themselves with a larger client base. Today’s clients expect fast responses, and with the right tools, that’s entirely possible.
How do you communicate with your clients? Let us know in the comments.
Alexa Lemzy is the customer service manager at TextMagic, a bulk SMS provider for businesses. She is passionate about building client relationships, time-saving automation, and mobile technology. If you have a question for Alexa, or want to check out her other articles, follow @Alexa_Lemzy.