Your firm is busy. Leads are coming in and your staff and after-hours service are effectively and efficiently handling the calls, emails and chats. Cases are being signed. What next?
Do You Have a Client Contact Protocol?
You’ve successfully converted a lead to a signed case and now the individual is your client. An important next step is to ensure your firm has an established client contact protocol. This contact protocol should establish a communication cadence that ensures a positive and productive relationship throughout the case’s lifecycle. Once an individual hires a law firm, there is an expectation of a professional, responsive, and helpful relationship.
Having a skilled administrative team to serve as the main point of contact is a good start. You’ll want to carefully consider which staff members are the point of contact. You may want to designate experienced, tenured professionals who have solid experience to handle this important responsibility. New employees will likely lack the experience required, but as long as the firm has a training structure and sets expectations, you should be able to have new administrative staff ready to work independently in a few months. Training should not only include file handling guidelines, but also a robust customer service program.
Contact Type and Frequency
If your law firm is initiating the majority of contact with the client and communicating with a solid cadence, your client should be satisfied with the service level. Proactive communication will also reaffirm the firm’s ability to effectively resolve issues that inevitably arise.
A suggested contact cadence (phone, text, or email) should be every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the complexity, circumstances, and case value. Your staff should always begin the conversation by informing the client of any updates and actions that have been taken on their behalf since the last communication. Provide ample time for the client to pose any questions or concerns. If any questions require legal advice or direction, a follow-up should be scheduled for the client to speak directly with the attorney.
Typically, the beginning of a case is the most active for tasks such as claim initiation, treatment follow-up, property damage and rental claims, medical payment, automobile or health insurance company processing, lost wage verification and documentation, investigations, etc. Contacting the clients at this stage every few weeks at a minimum is advisable.
Other times during a case’s lifecycle may not be as active, such as when you are gathering medical records and bills once treatment has concluded or waiting for an initial offer. During the less active times, your staff should still have contact with the client, but the frequency may be reduced.
How you and your staff engage with clients can be a true differentiator between your firm and the competition. Clients will remember the professional manner in which you managed the relationship and their case. Providing a favorable client experience can convert clients into brand advocates, those who will sing your praises to family, friends, and associates. The word-of-mouth recommendation can be highly effective in driving more prospective clients your way, and it costs you nothing.