According to the 2019 Legal Trends Report, 79% of clients expect a response from their attorney within 24 hours. NextChapter recognizes the importance of client communication and has developed a tool called NextMessage to make this process simpler and more efficient. This post will highlight the importance of effective client communication and how NextChapter improves this process. Without further ado, let's get into it.
Importance of Client Communication
Communication is essential in any relationship, including attorney and client relationships. Asides from breaking an attorney's or firm's reputation, poor communication could negatively impact the outcome of your legal cases. Communicating with clients gives lawyers a better understanding of the case and updates them on relevant details that may be damaging to the case.
Client communication entails mainly case details, and documentation of conversations in an orderly manner is essential. For clients, communication keeps them updated on the progress of the case and on their upcoming appointments. This prepares them for the possible outcomes of the case while managing their expectations. Other notable importance of client communication include:
Helps Build Trust
Excellent client communication and responsiveness are crucial as it helps build trust. Providing a transparent and open line of contact for your client fosters a sense of partnership and collaboration, reducing misunderstandings or conflicts. When trust is built in client-attorney relationships, clients are more likely to cooperate with the attorney's requests and provide information vital to the case leading to better legal outcomes.
It Creates a Client-Centered Relationship
According to RedEye, The average text message open rate is 99%, and Intelligent Contacts says that 78% of consumers wish to text a business. Proper client communication should exist outside formal interviews. Texting is an integral part of every client's daily life; firms are likely to get quick responses from clients that are more responsive to texts. This reduces response time and boosts efficiency in your firm.
Regular communication with clients makes them feel more empowered and engaged in the legal process. This is particularly important in stressful legal situations, such as clients who are experiencing divorce, criminal charges, or bankruptcy. Keeping in touch with clients allows attorneys to provide timely updates that ensure clients feel heard and understood.
Reduces Legal Risks
Regular client communication helps mitigate legal risks. Communication issues are among the most prevalent reasons for malpractice claims against attorneys. When lawyers fail to keep their clients informed or address their concerns, clients may become angry or dissatisfied, potentially leading to legal action. Ongoing communication allows attorneys to address any misunderstandings or conflicts and thus prevent escalation proactively.
BoostsYour Firm's Reputation
The worst thing a client can experience in their case is being left in the dark. Intentionally sending clients case updates and reminders or responding to their questions and concerns ultimately leads to client loyalty. Proper communication with your clients boosts their customer experience with your firm, which can lead to recommendations and referrals. 65% of new business opportunities come from referrals and recommendations.
What Is NextMessage?
NextMessage from NextChapter is an all-encompassing notification and communication tool for attorneys and clients. With NextMessage, attorneys can send secure messages to their clients, share important documents and case updates, and receive real-time responses and feedback without giving up their contacts.
What Are The Benefits of NextMessage?
NextChapter emphasizes innovation and usability, and NextMessage is a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate tool in client relationship management (CRM). This tool efficiently streamlines the communication process offering attorneys and clients a secure platform to exchange information, updates, and valuable feedback that aids the case progression. Some other benefits of NextMessage include:
Managing client communication can be challenging, but NextMessage helps attorneys keep all case communication organized in one place. Responsiveness can be improved with the automation of legal processes and communication management tools like NextMessage. This also reduces the time spent sifting through emails or chats in search of a specific client or document relevant to cases.
Using NextMessage can also help attorneys and clients save time. Rather than scheduling phone calls or in-person meetings, attorneys can quickly send their clients a secure message with all the necessary information, updates, and requests. This feature allows clients to respond conveniently and eliminates time-consuming back-and-forth communication.
Some attorneys prefer a separate phone number for their clients rather than their personal line. NextMessage provides a unique local number for firms, allowing everyone in the firm access to the communication in the case dashboard.
Creating Easy Texting with Email Reminders
Unlike the average communication channel texting through cases comes with email notifications so clients and attorneys don't miss updates on cases. Usually, the email notifications are sent to the firm's email address; however, this can be changed per case, so email notifications for specific cases are sent to the corresponding attorney assigned to the case in the firm.
Usually, sending reminders to your clients involves setting reminders for yourself, but with NextMessage, automated reminders are sent out, which can relieve the stress of keeping track. Your client gets automatic reminders when you send messages to them. You could also customize reminders for upcoming calendar events like hearing dates and appointments.
How To Send Direct Texts and Reminders with NextMessage
Once your firm purchases NextMessage, you can text your client. To set up your client texting, follow these steps;
Visit your "Account Settings' and click on NextMessage to input your area code and receive your firm's local texting number.
Proceeding to set up communication, attorneys must add their client's or debtor's mobile number in the Case Dashboard under "Edit Contact" and click on "Save and Close."
Once the contact is saved, texting can begin! In cases where it's a joint case with two clients, ensure you save each debtor's contact separately.
To start chatting, attorneys could simply drop a message in the text box with "Say Something." Similarly to the average chatbox, when your client responds, the message appears on the case page, and an email notification for the message is sent to the registered email.
NextMessage can be set to send text reminders to clients automatically; however, clients can choose to opt out of this channel. In the Case Event tab, attorneys can use automatic text message reminders for upcoming events. When attorneys create new events like courthouse meetings or hearings, they can set a text reminder with a customized delivery date.
Attorneys can also send text reminders on existing events. These automated text message reminders are called recipes and include information on the event, like the Title, Date and Time, Location, and Description. Attorneys can create unlimited reusable recipes under "NextMessage: Client Text Notifications."
These recipes are automated texts that can be used for clients in every case. Attorneys should ensure each recipe is well named so that other attorneys in the firm quickly know what each text reminder is for. The recipes are also set using one of these four dates in each case: IC Date (Initial Consultation), Signing Date, Filing Date, and 341 Date. For example, attorneys can send text reminders days before or days after the filing date.
Client communication is a crucial factor in shaping a successful legal practice. By using modern and innovative communication tools like NextMessage, attorneys can stay in touch with their clients more efficiently and effectively while having a saved communication history for every case. This ultimately leads to more successful legal outcomes.