37% of dissatisfied legal clients report that a failure of the law firm to keep them informed was a key reason why they weren’t happy. In the conveyancing sector specifically, it was the number one complaint from 22% of unhappy clients.
Not only does poor communication make your client’s experience more stressful, difficult, and frustrating, but it also means they don’t get the outcomes they need.
Since smooth, thorough, and timely communication is the foundation for success in just about every aspect of a legal case, if you communicate badly, not enough, or perhaps even too much, you can fundamentally undermine the process.
Here’s how poor communication sabotages legal cases, and how you can prevent it.
Any legal case involves huge amounts of back and forth between clients and the law firm, both in the preparation and in the execution. If you’re not suitably methodical about those exchanges, matters can take far longer to resolve than they need to. Chasing your client wastes valuable time, and so does sifting through mountains of information.
Establishing a process based on your client’s tendencies will allow you to structure your workflow in a way that accommodates them and eliminates any inefficiencies.
Firstly, you need to establish what kind of communicator your client is. Are they the kind to bombard you with information and documents, many of which will be superfluous? Are they the unresponsive kind, from whom getting any reply is an agonising slog? Perhaps they communicate little and often. Perhaps they get in touch or reply rarely, but when they do, they send enormous missives. If you quickly understand where your client falls on the spectrum, you can prevent delays by adapting your approach accordingly.
One approach is to use a system like a client portal, the most obvious benefit of which is that it accommodates preferences from any point in the spectrum. If a client has a low tolerance for administrative communication, a portal assists them by laying out in a user-friendly interface what they need to provide and by when. It’s much less stressful and daunting than a flurry of emails and phone calls.
For the more zealous client, the portal allows them to satisfy their urge to provide documents and information, without clogging up the inbox of a fee-earner.
It’s one thing if a legal case doesn’t go your client’s way. It’s another if it didn’t go their way because of communication failures — that is always preventable, and it leaves a much bitterer taste.
The delays we’ve already mentioned are one way that things can go wrong. If you don’t manage to progress the administrative work during any stage of the case, it can quickly become too late. Or you might squeeze in the bare minimum, but lack the time to make a thorough and persuasive representation.
When there’s a communication failure of any kind, and either the solicitor or the client is in the dark, then a case’s chances of success fall dramatically. As a statement, that appears extremely obvious, but many law firms know it without having measures to prevent it.
It’s a matter of ‘you don’t know what it is you don’t know’ — a client can easily not realise that something is relevant to a case, and a solicitor can easily remain unaware of a fact, or a status, or a document that could be fundamental. The only way to uncover the ‘unknown unknowns’ is by more communication.
A client portal is one way to keep on top of that:
- it ensures that the basics are covered — both the law firm and the client have visibility on what is required from a documentation point of view, what has been provided, and what is outstanding
- it allows more time for extra communication: since the portal streamlines the process, it allows more time for thorough discussion between the firm and the client, which can often uncover additional valuable information
Insight Legal offers a client portal tailored to your firm’s style, which reduces the administrative burden on your law firm, and gives clients automatic, real-time updates and key case details at their fingertips.
In addition, our software allows you to manage legal cases more methodically, so that you can communicate more accurate timelines to your client, as well as record your time easily and accurately, so your offer a clearer picture of your work when it comes to invoicing.
Over a 1000 Law Firms maintain impeccable client experience and communication using Insight Legal’s software. Book a brief, no-obligation demo and you’ll see why.