February 3, 2015
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.