For attorney offices, clients are the lifeblood, the heartbeat, and the driving source of all that you do. Your clients are depending on you during a sensitive time, such as wrecks, divorces, injuries, sickness, and even death – and effective client communication is the key to success.
After speaking with several attorney offices and learning about their needs, I’m here to share five ways you can improve your client communications and leave your office with the best reputation among your targeted clients and peers. It all starts with how to solve current issues you may be having that you don’t even realize are affecting how your office operates.
1. Never Miss an Important Call with Mobility
When an important client calls in, time matters. Missed calls can be avoided entirely with the Find Me, Follow Me feature coupled with mobility. When you step out of the office to take yourself or a client to lunch, or if you are traveling back and forth from the courthouse to the office, what happens when an important client calls you with critical information? Does the receptionist just take a message or transfer them to your voicemail?
What if you could get that important call transferred to your mobile phone or that voicemail sent to your email inbox? With mobility, you can. This allows you to evaluate for yourself if that person needs an immediate call back or to be answered before even reaching voicemail. Some VoIP phone systems, like Switchvox, have mobile apps that give you the ability to call your clients back while masking your personal phone number. It will show up on the customer’s caller ID as if you were calling from your office phone. That way you never have to share your personal number, and you don’t have to worry about receiving calls in the middle of the night or when you are eating dinner with your family. This can majorly improve your client communication without any extra burden.
2. Let Your Presence or Status Update Your Colleagues on Your Whereabouts
Building on the last point, using Presence or a status to indicate where you are and what you are doing can also assist those that are trying to get clients in touch with you. Presence or Status features give you the ability to press a button that says “Out to Lunch”, “In Court”, “With a Client”, etc. The receptionist or other attorneys can see these and transfer calls accordingly.
Most offices I’ve spoken with have wanted the ability to not only share their status with their colleagues and partners, but they want the status to be dynamic and actually do more than simply notify others. For example, the statuses in a Switchvox phone system can control call rules and send calls to your mobile app or other users.
They can also customize the voicemail greetings that customers hear based on the status you have active. It would be a pleasant surprise if I called into my lawyer’s office and I was greeted with a voicemail saying, “ Hi, you’ve reached John Smith. I’ve stepped out of the office for lunch, but I am in the office today. I will return your call this afternoon. Please leave a message.” That is more reassuring to me as a client than hearing a greeting that says, “Hi, you’ve reached John Smith. I’m not here, please leave a message.” Your client has no idea when you are getting back to them, and they could start to lose faith in you and your ability to communicate effectively.
3. Use Reporting for Client and Colleague Accountability
In the business of law, time is money. Some offices charge by the hour and need to keep up with how long they spent counseling a particular client for billing purposes. These offices need to be able to pull that client communication information quickly and without wasting time.
Reporting is a feature commonly requested by law firms because they want to simply type in the client’s name or phone number to see a log of how many times they’ve spoken with them and how long each call was. If your office phone system had a robust reporting tool, you or your colleagues would have this valuable client communication information in a matter of seconds. Bills could be sent out to clients in a timely manner and save you time to focus on much more important tasks. (Or even take a coffee break, you know you need it).
4. Never Miss a Detail on Your Cases with Recording
Not every office uses it, but those who do record heavily rely on their phone system for this functionality. For example, your client cannot come into the office for a meeting, but you are going over specific details that you are adding to their case which will need to be quoted by the client. Letting them know you are recording the call so you won’t leave out the slightest detail, and then playing it back again to organize your arguing points can help keep all of your case notes accurate and to the point. As you know, in most cases it is the smallest details that matter. Having a phone system with the ability to record can certainly help your client communication, keep your clients from repeating themselves, and hold others accountable for their remarks.
5. Use CRM Integration to Stay on Top of Every Call That Comes In
Using a CRM system, which stands for customer relationship management, can ensure that your clients are directed to the correct person immediately. Most law firms have a database with client information that updates with every interaction. Using a CRM with your phone system will allow specific client communication information to pop up on the screen. This gives the person taking the call details about who is calling so they can know who needs to receive the call. These details can include client name, contact information, case number, attorney assigned to that particular client, recent notes from the last call, and much more.
It really makes a huge impact when a client calls in and is greeted with a friendly voice that knows them by name and directs them where they need to go as if they we expecting the call in the first place. Your firm’s reputation will surely soar after the word gets out on how you care for your clients on a first name basis and respect their time, money, and business with you.
From a simple status change to notify your colleagues of where you are to an advanced CRM pop-up with lightening fast client information, your firm is sure to be a success when armed with the phone system features mentioned above. The aggressive legal industry is always changing, and in order to stay competitive, having a business phone system that enhances your client communication skills is a must.
Check out our Switchvox for Professional Services eBook to learn more about how your office can not only meet your customers’ demands but truly thrive in the legal industry.