Traditionally, a call from a client meant making an appointment to meet in person in an office, where someone explained a case to help you determine how best to help. Telephone consultations were usually brief, designed for the attorney to decide whether to advise someone to come into the office or refer a colleague who was a better fit.
Today’s internet-connected consumers are no longer satisfied with face-to-face meetings as the sole way of doing business. Using modern communication technology, attorneys can join professionals in other fields who now conduct business without ever meeting customers in person. Here are a few ways technology is changing the way law firms interact.
Winning new clients starts with your website, where potential clients go first as they’re deciding whether to work with you. Imagine being able to speak to those website visitors directly, answering any questions they might have. While you can’t have an in-person conversation with website visitors, you can invite them to chat. In many cases, they’ll decline the invitation, opting to look for information on their own, but when someone has a pressing question or wants to make a quick decision, you may find that the invitation means the difference between winning new clients and losing them to a competitor.
There are several ways to handle chat on your website. At our firm, we use stagnant chat invitations in addition to a box that pops up requiring visitors to either accept or decline. We’ve implemented this on virtually every page of our site with great results.
If you can’t have someone on hand to chat 24/7, look for a service that lets you turn chat off when no one is available, or offers access to a FAQ or resource library. You can also use chatbots to answer common questions and have simple conversations with visitors after hours.
Medical professionals are diagnosing patients and therapists are conducting sessions using video conferencing, providing a level of convenience that patients enjoy. Law firms can benefit from offering that same convenience, especially if your clientele finds it difficult to set time aside for an in-person meeting. Even if you prefer initial consultations to be face to face, however, you can still use video conferencing for subsequent interactions, such as case updates and fact-finding conversations.
Although there are many firms using video conferencing for internal meetings and depositions, the technology is beginning to make its way into the attorney-client meeting space. Zurich law firm, LAUX Lawyers AG, uses a service called Veeting Rooms to interact with its clients, witnesses, partners, paralegals, and everyone else involved in the case. The service makes it easier to gather multiple parties in one place for a meeting, especially when some of the parties involved aren’t located nearby. As this technology evolves, firms will likely find multiple services offering video conferencing services specifically geared toward the unique needs of the legal field.
Finding a secure way to communicate with clients throughout the case preparation process can be challenging. Online portals offer the perfect solution, setting up a password-protected space where clients and firm employees can access documents and collaborate. It’s important that such portals meet regulatory requirements when it comes to securing personal data on clients, but they can actually be a more compliant way of communicating than email or phone.
Amara Immigration Law switched to legal practice software years ago, finding that it dramatically improved the firm’s productivity. As a result, they generally have more than 100 open cases at any given time. Through the portal, firm employees can access all their messages in one place. Instead of dealing with a constant stream of phone calls throughout the day, the firm can manage everything through the portal, decreasing one attorney’s workday from 14 hours to 11 hours each day. While there are still clients who prefer to pick up the phone, the portal better serves those clients who are also challenged on time. This increases the likelihood that the next time those clients need an attorney, they will return to the law firm that provided the most convenient form of communication.
Today’s legal professionals know an investment in technology is essential to winning repeat business from clients. When firms can make communication as convenient and painless as possible, they’ll create a customer service experience that impresses clients and leads to referrals.