Client management is a critical aspect of operating a successful legal practice. When done correctly, it leaves clients feeling valued, satisfied, and confident in the abilities of your legal professionals. But a lack of client management can damage your law firm’s reputation, resulting in less growth and diminished profitability. This post will offer some dos and don’ts for effective client management and the role that client relationship management (CRM) software for law firms can play in this important endeavor.
Let’s Start with the Don’ts
Client mismanagement often lies at the root of complaints against law firms. When ignored or treated as a billable hour, clients react negatively and push back in opposition. Here are some actions that can destroy legal client management.
Ignoring the Client Journey
From the moment a potential client begins the search for law firm representation, their legal client journey begins. Yet, many firms make the vital mistake of acting as though the journey begins at the point of conversion. As a result, they ignore many important considerations when crafting marketing experiences.
Every piece of legal marketing content should be crafted and highlighted with the intention of providing prospects and leads with information they will find useful to the decision-making process. Outdated or inaccurate content does not meet this goal, but far too many law firms operate their marketing plans in this manner.
Another mistake that firms make is failing to consider the journey they provide at each stage of legal client intake. Look at the individual parts of the process and consider how the client experiences it. Are communications going unanswered for an extended period of time? Maybe you are frustrating the convenience of the process by using manual law firm client intake forms. Identify the deficiencies in your law firm client journey, so that you can address them.
Lack of Responsiveness
Nothing ruins the client experience faster than unanswered questions and unreturned calls. This type of behavior erodes client confidence in the firm. Clients are often dealing with highly stressful situations where much is at stake. When they have questions or concerns, they expect timely answers, generally within 24 hours.
Failing to meet this expectation sends a message that your firm does not care about your client’s needs. Your firm members are not valuing clients enough to answer their questions.
Effective client management must involve active listening, which is far more than simply hearing words and making notes. When you fail to make eye contact during face-to-face conversations or you don’t recite what they have told you for clarification, it makes clients feel as though they are not being heard.
Not listening can lead to a multitude of problems, including missed court dates and deadlines, ignored client interests, and inaccurate information. Each of these circumstances can frustrate legal representation, possibly lessening the likelihood of success for the client.
Now for the Dos
Now that you know what not to do when managing clients, let’s dive into the strategies that encourage a high level of client satisfaction.
Communicate Often and Clearly
Communication is a must for successful client management. It puts them at ease and ensures the exchange of accurate information. Whether done through emails, messaging, or telephone calls, communications should occur regularly with the inclusion of valuable data. Also, consider non traditional methods of communication, such as texting. Many people prefer these quick and convenient communications, and this can be easily accomplished with technologies like Law Ruler’s legal CRM and practice management software.
When communicating with leads and clients, leave the legalese for the courtroom and use plain language instead. It is also helpful to provide some level of explanation for the decisions and actions taken, which makes the client feel centered in the decision-making process.
A lot of knowledge and skill goes into practicing law. Sometimes, attorneys get so embroiled in the day to day that they forget to exhibit empathy towards their clients. These are people who may be experiencing extreme levels of stress. They need assurance that their legal advocate understands and cares about their experience.
This looks like the active listening that we discussed earlier, such as making eye contact and using the client’s name throughout conversations. Also, concentrate on one thing at a time. Multitasking can give the impression that you are distracted and unfocused. Instead, when speaking to a client, place your attention solely on them.
Use Technology for a Seamless Client Intake Process
Legal technology must be a part of any effective client management process, especially when it comes to the law firm client intake process. CRM offers a number of tools that firms can use to create a seamless experience, including:
- Response automation for comprehensive lead capturing
- Tracking of lead sources
- Collection of necessary lead data
- Automated email drip campaigns
- Form automation for greater client convenience
- Enhanced organization
To ensure a successful process, conduct regular assessments of your technology and take a critical look at how it performs during each step. If it is not streamlining procedures and making client management more efficient, it is time for an upgrade.
Welcome Honest Feedback
A surefire way to determine whether your firm is providing quality client management is listening to feedback. Ask the difficult questions, even if you are not prepared for the possibility of negative responses. Encourage feedback through surveys and questionnaires. And even more importantly, use the responses as guides for improvement and strategizing. Just as retailers seek customer input, you should actively solicit client feedback.
Legal CRM Helps Law Firms Center the Client Experience
Every client hopes to receive exceptional legal representation, not only in the actual handling of their cases but also in the treatment they receive from the firm. With a bit of emotional intelligence, combined with a commitment to excellence and the many benefits of legal CRM, law firms can successfully manage every client, every time.
Law Ruler’s CRM platform is packed with valuable features to simplify client management. Get started with your free demonstration by clicking here.