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Wednesday
May152013

Tips for Better Client Communications

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By Tom Kane

I’m a strong believer in the adage I first heard from a marketing partner, who was a friend and mentor at one of my in-house marketing positions; and it is “marketing is everything you do as a lawyer.” The thought came to mind when I saw an article by Jared Correia on Attorney at Work last week in which he provides five tips for better client communications. Although his article was addressing what a lawyer could do to better manage his or her law practice, it could have just as well been talking about how to market your practice better.

He mentioned technology and how keeping a client informed as to your technical capabilities to protect their information, and how client files could be handled over time, as well as document management generally. Again, keeping clients informed about such things is not just good management, but could serve as a good marketing tool, as a result of effective client communications. Correia also suggests it is good practice management (and I would add marketing) to introduce members of your team to clients, so they are aware of whose working for them and are not surprised by a call from an unknown person at the firm.

The two tips that particularly struck me as clearly deal with marketing issues are:

  • Lack of communications.  According to the NY (which I wrote about before) and NC State Bars, 80 percent of grievances are due to poor communications and inattention to client matters.  Correia suggests regular contact with clients to “just to check in” is much better than waiting to communicate only when you need something. And the best way is to pick up the phone and call them. IMHO that’s just smart marketing;
  • Ask For referrals. In my experience a lot of lawyers are reluctant to ask clients for referrals. Sorry folks, but get with the real world. If you have a happy client it really makes no sense to not ask for referrals, since business people do it all the time. It is not strange to them and is considered a normal business practice.

Correia’s article is a good read and one well worth your time. I particularly liked his “With a twist” addition to each tip.  Communication is so basic to good client relationships.

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