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Why effective client communication should always be our number one priority

by Shaun Cremins | May 17, 2023

A guest blog by Shaun Cremins, CX director at insight6, the Customer Experience (CX) specialists

Every time you communicate with your clients, you’re shaping their impression of you and your firm. To cultivate a positive reputation, enhance your clients’ experience and ensure your law firm’s success, effective client communication isn’t a “nice to have”—it’s essential.

Covid-19 has had a significant impact on consumer expectations when it comes to service levels, and this is no different for law firms. Your firm is now being directly compared to highly innovative tech brands in the same way that traditional retailers are. After all, why can one firm offer a client portal that sends them personalised, secure text messages, updates the status of their matter, asks for feedback on a regular basis, and completes the invoice process online. Whilst another may take an instruction and then go ‘off-line’ for a significant period of time before any update is received? Which provider would you choose?

Although many firms believe they interact effectively with their clients and prospects, research shows a disconnect between the ways lawyers communicate with clients and how clients would actually prefer to communicate. For instance, 55% of legal clients say they want to learn about the legal aspects of a case in person—but only 5% of lawyers think their clients prefer in-person meetings*. Can you relate to this?

By learning how to overcome this communication gap, you can build a more efficient, client-centric, and profitable law firm.

Here are six highly effective ways to enhance how you communicate with your clients.

1) Clearly and often - be proactive so that clients feel truly cared for and informed. Avoid unnecessary legal jargon and ensure there is an option for clients to ask questions throughout their experience. Send a secure message following client contact to confirm any key actions (SMS messages are 10x more likely to be viewed than emails)

2) Set expectations - setting expectations upfront makes a big difference for effective client communication. How often will you be in touch, which channels would your client prefer, what is your availability?

3) Develop your interpersonal skills (and those of your employees) - keeping your people skills sharp helps ensure that your clients feel heard, cared for and informed. Watch for visual cues when communicating in person, stay present, and ask probing questions when you sense there’s more to the story than what the client is telling you. Lay out best practices and guidelines for client communication, and share them with new paralegals, administrative assistants, and associates.

4) Active listening – it’s all too easy to jump in with our thoughts before we have truly understood the problem, and this can leave clients feeling as if they’re not being heard. To improve active listening skills, avoid interruptions or rehearsed answers while the client is talking, and instead attune yourself to your clients’ emotions as they speak.

5) Limit automated communication - automating tedious or repetitive processes can be highly efficient for law firms, but the automation of communication needs to be done carefully, so it’s convenient for both you and your client. Simple and transactional communications—such as a new client welcome letter—are fine to automate, but more personal and specific communications are best left to humans, especially if bad news is being delivered or your client shows signs of vulnerability.

6) Know which communication medium to use - different communication channels may be more or less appropriate for specific situations. Consider whether it’s best to deliver news, answer questions, or provide updates via phone, email, personal letter, text, or another medium. Understanding your clients and their life situations is key in this area; when in doubt, ask them how they would best like for you to reach them.

Effective client communication training is just one area of expertise available to you via your local insight6 CX specialist. Our work with hundreds of professional firms across the UK and Ireland supports a drive for positive client and employee engagement change.


About insight6

insight6 are the only Customer Experience (CX) specialists in the UK and Ireland with 25 experts across the country supporting over 1000 clients. They design and deliver some of the most advanced feedback programmes in the world. Having conducted over 300,000 Customer Experience Reviews and Customer Surveys, they are able to rapidly transfer their knowledge and expertise to create the perfect Customer Experience Improvement programme.

Find out more.

*Clio Legal Trends Report 2022

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