Law firms work vigorously to convert leads: to get those leads to pay retainers and sign engagement agreements. That all makes sense: winning business is essential for any organization. However, once law firms convert clients, there is often a dry spell before the new clients hear from their new law firms again; and, because many cases start with potentially significant periods before anything of note actually happens, new clients may go for months, or even a year, before they hear from their lawyer again.
This paucity of response is one of the reasons that law firms have a bad reputation for customer service. Keep in mind that, while you deal with the legal field every working day of your life, for many of your clients, it will be the first (and potentially only) time they ever have an interaction with the legal system. So, it’s essential to keep them informed of what’s going on, even if you know exactly what’s up.
And, that’s why your law firm should adopt and utilize a client journey.
A client journey is a series of interactions that are scheduled for onboarding new clients. Even if these are automated, as part of a drip campaign for every new client, that’s a site better than just letting your new clients twist in the wind, wondering what happens now. And, while you should maintain regular, personal contact with your clients (a good rule is to check in with each of your active clients via phone or email every six weeks), it helps to automate an initial rollout of information, in order to keep your clients engaged, and to make them feel cared for, while you can tend to more pressing substantive legal matters.
What you construct is entirely up to you; but, whatever it is, it should be a consistent demonstration of your investment in the attorney-client relationship. By way of example, the client journey you build out might look like this: (1) a short video welcoming the client to the law firm, sent by email; (2) a follow-up email listing the various ways that the client can contact the law firm; (3) a text message to see whether or not the client has any questions; (4) an email notifying the client that you’ve signed her up for your enewsletter, which will follow on a schedule; (5) your first check-in call, six weeks into the representation. In all likelihood that’s five more additional touches than most law firms get on new clients. This listing assumes that your law firm is like most law firms in that it collects only the most basic client contact information: email and phone number; but, if you’ve got more than that, feel free to communicate with your client via other or alternate media. No matter how you contact your new clients, set up a schedule, and follow through; that’s the only way to instill an effective system.
If you can install a client journey within your law firm’s client communications structure, you’ll end up with happier clients, which ultimately means more referrals and less malpractice risk.