Meeting legal client expectations is a sure-fire way to build trust and goodwill with your clients. But with so many variables at play, it can be challenging to meet these expectations. A typical scenario is when a client expects a particular result or outcome from your legal services, but the actual outcome is different.
It’s up to you as the law firm to set expectations with your clients. This includes setting expectations about the length of time it takes to resolve their case, the cost of legal services, and, more importantly, their desired outcomes.
Thankfully, there are several useful strategies and tools to help you set and manage client expectations. For instance, LawBillity is a comprehensive time and legal billing software that can help you keep track of the costs associated with a case and the estimated time to conclude the matter. This type of software makes it easier for you to set expectations with clients at the outset of their cases.
What Do Legal Firm Clients Look for When Choosing a Client?
When choosing a legal firm, clients typically look for specific qualities that set apart the firms they are considering. These qualities include:
- Reputation. No matter how qualified a firm may be, its reputation and past client experiences should be considered.
- Experience. Clients prefer law firms with experience handling the type of cases they need help with.
- Personnel. Clients want to feel like their case is in good hands, so they look for firms staffed with competent, personable attorneys.
- Fees. Legal services can be expensive, so clients may look for firms that offer value-based billing or other fee structures that are easy to understand and affordable.
- Communication policies. Clients want to know that their legal team is available when needed and will keep them updated on the progress of their cases.
- Responsiveness. Clients want a firm that values their time and will respond promptly to their inquiries.
In addition to these tangible traits, clients also look for intangible ones, such as a law firm’s ability to provide creative solutions, a positive attitude, and a dedication to client success.
Challenges Law Firms Face in Meeting These Client Expectations
While setting legal client expectations is crucial, it is also challenging for law firms to meet some of them. Common challenges include:
- Unrealistic expectations. Clients may not fully understand the complexities of their case, or the time required to resolve it. They may also expect a certain outcome that may not be possible.
- High case volume. It’s not uncommon for law firms to experience case backlogs due to a high volume of cases. This can lead to delays in communication and resolution.
- Unclear policies. Clients may not fully understand the terms of their agreements with the firm, leading to confusion and frustration.
- Lack of technological investment. Many law firms lack the technological tools needed to efficiently manage cases and communicate with clients in a timely manner. For example, top-rated time and billing software can help law firms keep track of their costs and ensure accuracy in billing and invoicing.
Tools and Best Practices for Meeting Legal Client Expectations
Meeting client expectations takes acts as simple as picking up the phone. Unfortunately, only 10% of customers get to speak to a lawyer when they call a law firm. But all’s not lost, as endless avenues exist to help your firm meet client expectations.
Here’s a closer look:
- Set Realistic Expectations. First, you want to eliminate the risk of stretching your resources thin by setting realistic expectations at the outset. A comprehensive time and legal billing software like LawBillity can help you track the costs of each case and when you can reasonably expect to resolve it.
- Invest in Technology. Modern law firms need to invest in technology to stay competitive. Tools such as cloud-based digital document storage, time tracking software, online invoicing, and virtual meeting software can streamline the case management process. LawBillity, for example, has reporting feature that empower your law firm to track billable hours and manage costs, enhancing productivity and profitability.
- Create an Open Line of Communication. Having a clear communication policy in place is key to meeting client expectations. This should include how often clients will hear from their legal team, the methods of communication available, and the expected response times when they do reach out.
- Utilize Automated Communication Tools. Automated communication tools can help law firms stay in touch with clients without having to respond to every inquiry personally. From email newsletters to text notifications, automated communication tools make it easier for lawyers to keep clients informed about case progress without repeatedly checking in on them manually.
- Make it Personal.Clients want to feel like their case is a priority and that their legal team cares. Your law firm can accomplish this by assigning an experienced attorney to handle each case, providing clients with personalized attention, and always making them feel heard.
- Be transparent about fees.Clients should understand all costs associated with their case before they sign on. This includes the hourly rate of each attorney, any additional costs such as filing fees, and what is expected as payment for the services rendered. A legal billing and invoicing software like LawBillity can help law firms easily manage and track their billing processes.
Invest in the Right Technology
Meeting client expectations isn’t always easy — but it is essential to the success of a law firm. By investing in technology, setting realistic expectations, creating an open line of communication, utilizing automated tools to stay in touch with clients, making it personal, and being transparent about costs — your law firm can ensure clients are happy with the services they receive.
If you’re in the market for legal time management and billing software for your law firm, LawBillity is highly rated. We make it easy to track time and manage legal billing processes with comprehensive features, such as automated invoices, client statements, and reporting. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today to see how LawBillity can help you exceed legal client expectations!