According to the 2018 Legal Trends Report, what lawyers think their clients want doesn’t always line up with what clients actually want.
For example, 70% of consumers surveyed wanted to tell their lawyer about the details or facts of a situation in person, but but the majority of lawyers thought their clients preferred to do this over the phone or via email.
Taking a client-centered approach and meeting client expectations can help your firm stand out, but this doesn’t always mean simply aligning your firm to what clients say they want: Technology can bring plenty of benefits that your clients may not know about, and by introducing your clients to new technologies, you may improve their overall client experience. Per the Legal Trends Report:
“Clients may be the ones to set expectations for law firms, but lawyers are ultimately responsible for delivering on those expectations by finding solutions that are in the best interest of both the client and the firm. This may include educating clients on the benefits of new technologies—especially if they ensure better value and reduce wasted time for everyone.”
Here are three areas where lawyers can educate their clients on the benefits of new technologies to shift expectations, make operations more efficient, and create a better client experience.
1. Appointment scheduling: Use an online tool
59% of consumers surveyed for the Legal Trends Report preferred scheduling appointments over the phone, but this method is often more time consuming than clients may think. Leaving messages, remembering to follow-up, and taking calls at awkward times all adds up to a lot of unnecessary back and forth.
With self-scheduling tools, your firm can cut down on the time spent playing phone tag, and your clients can have a simpler experience scheduling appointments as well! For example, Jennifer Reynolds of Fresh Legal uses Acuity Scheduling during the client intake process to make it easy for potential clients to schedule their initial consults.
2. Document signing: Use e-signatures
When it comes to legal documents, 64% of consumers surveyed for the report said they’d prefer signing and viewing documents in person.
Of course, in some cases an in-person (or video) meeting may make more sense: Your client may have questions about their document, and may be looking for clarity or reassurance as to what everything means. However, it’s hard to believe that anyone would prefer taking time out of their workday to physically meet their lawyer to sign a document if they knew there was another option available.
With e-signatures, clients can simply click a link on their mobile phone or computer, draw or type in their signature, and click a button to submit the signed copy back to the firm. Plenty of tools, including DocuSign and RightSignature, will give your firm the ability to offer e-signatures, removing travel time and the time needed to set up meetings for both you and your clients.
3. Lawyer-client interactions: Meet over video
According to the Legal Trends Report, few clients say they’d prefer to interact with their lawyers over video, whether they’re talking about the legal aspects of their case, getting key updates, or something else.
However, depending on your practice area, meeting clients via Skype or Google Hangouts could be an efficient means of giving your clients face time while allowing you both to avoid time spent on transit or in traffic.
For example, Sound Immigration offers clients the option to meet via Skype or video conference if they can’t make it into the office.
By experimenting with new technologies and communicating the benefits of options like video meetings and self-scheduling tools to your clients, you’ll likely end up with happier clients and a more efficient law firm.