Guide to Great Client Communications

//Guide to Great Client Communications

Think about all of the positive relationships that you have in your life. What do they have in common? Whether a great business partnership or a healthy relationship with your spouse comes to mind, communicating well with each other is usually the common denominator among them. In order to build and nurture your relationships with clients, it’s important to keep the lines of communication between you and your clients in good health.

Here are a few ways you can foster healthy communication with your clients:

Return Calls in a Timely Manner

Even though you and your staff may be juggling many clients, it’s important to stay in contact with clients who have reached out to you with questions or concerns. Commit to returning client phone calls within 24 hours, and faster when possible.

Returning calls quickly not only keeps your clients happy, it also keeps you organized and on top of all your projects. Long delays between client communications can allow important details to fall through the cracks. Timely responses increase the chance that everything will be handled appropriately and make your clients feel like they’re a priority.

Limiting the Amount of “Lawyer Speak”

While legal documents require a certain amount of jargon, client communications should steer clear of unnecessary “lawyer speak.” There’s no benefit to you or your client in confusing language. It will only require more time to sort out questions the client will have, and may make them uncomfortable because they’re not understanding what you’re telling them.

Aim to be clear and concise in client conversations, in person, on the phone and through email. When jargon is necessary, offer to talk your clients through anything they may not understand.

Listening to Client Concerns

As a lawyer, you deal with many of the same legal concerns day after day. But you must never forget that, for any given client, the work you are completing is likely not a regular part of their life. Additionally, while you’re the legal expert in the relationship, your client is the expert on their business or personal matter.

As such, it’s critical to take your client’s concerns seriously. They may know about an issue specific to their situation that you’re unfamiliar with. Also keep in mind that it’s your job to guide the client through the legal process. Dealing with legal matters is often a stressful experience, and not addressing client concerns can put additional stress on their plate, which you undoubtedly want to avoid. Make sure to never brush your client’s concerns or requests off as unimportant.

Follow the tips above, and you’ll be well on your way to a more positive and productive relationship with your clients.

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By |February 3rd, 2015|

About the Author:

For years, Josh has helped lawyers become more organized, productive, and profitable. A trained litigator, Josh came to Smokeball from a large east-coast law firm where his practice focused on franchise, insurance, marine, and general litigation. His work with Smokeball, and his continued passion for what he does each day, is driven by a desire to help lawyers and their staff do better in every way. Knowing well the stress and strain put on today’s legal professional, he regularly focuses on improving work and life in the law. He has traveled the country working with and learning from lawyers and their staff. Josh speaks regularly to bar associations about successful law firm practices and other legal topics. Recent notable engagements have been with the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Missouri Bar’s Solo and Small Firm Conference. In addition to his work at Smokeball, Josh serves on the Writing Resource Center staff at The John Marshall Law School. Besides legal technology, his research interests include judicial decision-making, jury decision-making and psychology, and legal writing. He has written and overseen research exploring causal effects of sex/gender on federal appellate court decision-making, and assisted with research for a forthcoming textbook on judicial decision-making. Additionally, Josh sits on the Board of Directors of Chicago-based Community Activism Law Alliance and on the Board of Directors of Chicago Fringe Opera Company. Josh holds his J.D., cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as a Senior Editor of the Wash. U. Law Review, held the prestigious Thompson Coburn Research Fellowship, served as Research Assistant to then-Vice-Dean (now Chancellor) Andrew D. Martin, and clerked at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and a B.M. in Music Performance with Honors Scholar distinction from the University of Connecticut, making him a Huskies basketball fan through and through. Follow Josh’s activity on LinkedIn, and keep up with new articles on the Smokeball Blog.