Technology is your friend … and your client’s
Your potential clients are in a hurry and they demand a higher level of service. Relying on word-of-mouth and a traditional client service model is no longer good enough.
Today’s clients expect attorneys to harness a new set of skills when it comes to service delivery and an increased grasp of technological innovation. Because of the shifting legal market, creating happy clients is predicated upon a successful client service process. And step one is not to leave them hanging.
“The biggest complaint from clients that I get for those who fired their lawyer and then came to me is that their lawyer wasn't doing anything and they couldn't even really get to talk to them,” said Rob Sullivan, a products liability attorney in Kansas City, “If they do call or text, then I answer them immediately, and that's the number one thing that makes them happy.”
The stats back up Sullivan’s claim. In the Thomson Reuters 2018 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey, 81 percent of legal consumers surveyed said they contacted or seriously considered just two attorneys or law firms. In addition, 57 percent of those surveyed did something about their legal need in a week or less, and for those who chose to hire an attorney, a quarter of them said that an attorney’s expertise was the most important factor in their decision.
Therefore, showing value to a client can be won or lost through responsiveness and the ability to provide the quickest path to a solution. For many firms, a culture shift is necessary to set expectations that all client questions get a response within 24 hours, even if it’s just acknowledging that the question is being considered. This helps clients feel informed and valued.
On top of responsiveness, using the latest legal technology can make you a more efficient and productive attorney, which can mean happier clients and more time to do what you love: practice law.
“If you don't take advantage of what technology offers for you, then things are going to slip through the cracks,” said NiaLena Caravasos, a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia.
The need for efficiency and accuracy has ramped up, meaning the potential for infrastructure changes that make a critical difference to the bottom line has increased with it.
When you invest in new technologies, such as online research software equipped with cutting-edge artificial intelligence, automated document drafting and editing and the latest updates to precedents and citations, you will be able to easily educate your clients on their cases. In addition, you can seamlessly inform them of updates to set realistic expectations so no one gets surprised. By updating software can help you maintain and expand your expertise with less effort, as well as conduct research in less time.
This efficiency means you can deliver a more personalized and positive client experience, provide answers to your clients quicker and trust those answers are the right ones.
It also means your time is focused less on the administrative tasks, a known issue for almost any attorney. In the Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute’s 2019 State of U.S. Small Law Firms Report, attorneys noted they spend 26 percent of their time outside of practicing law and meeting with clients. If you could get back even a small chunk of that effort, what could that mean for your bottom line? What would it mean if you could spend more time building relationships with your clients?
The modern legal consumer assumes a higher form of innovation than even five years ago. That doesn’t mean every law firm is going to make the shift overnight. It takes time, but with small steps you can give clients the experience they expect and get back more time in your day.
If you want clients to see you as the expert able to find answers to their legal issues in the least amount of time, it’s time to invest in new technology.