Responsiveness has always been key to establishing and maintaining good relationships with your clients. However, since the addition of social media and other forms of communication have toppled conventional contact, regular business hours mean less and less to clients. As an added tension, clients are getting used to instant responses as a way of life.
Here are some tips on managing expectations and balance within your practice.
Set Explicit Rules of Interaction
When you are managing a heavy caseload, the pressure to make yourself available can be overwhelming. Taking breaks and establishing your availability can not only help you manage your day-to-day, but it can also make you a better attorney. Make your business hours known on all possible channels (website, social media, and anywhere your practice is listed).
Try: Having one phone for business and one for personal. You can also turn off your phone when work is done for the day to avoid the potential interruption of texts and phone calls at all hours.
Remind Clients of Your Dedication
Your time is valuable to you. Helping your clients to understand your availability and giving explanation to your response time is honoring your relationship with them. Ending every conversation with next steps and when to expect them can iron out any unnecessary confusion.
Try: After being retained, let clients know your preferred method of communication (and why, if applicable). If you don’t have a set schedule, or have a court date coming up, let your clients know. You can choose to send out a mass email informing them of your updated availability, or even set up immediate responses on all communication channels to let them know that you’re unavailable and that you’ve received their message.
Like any relationship, personal or professional, clients will appreciate knowing you haven’t forgotten about them. So, although the idea of responsiveness is constantly changing, maintaining explicit and clear communication about when your clients can expect a response will help you and your practice thrive.