In the legal industry, good communication is key. As your client’s advocate and ally in what can be a frustrating and lengthy process, you need to be prepared at a moment’s notice to provide updates, ask time-sensitive questions, and answer any inquiries that can arise.
This is, of course, no easy task.
While email and phone calls remain solid options when a face-to-face meeting is either unnecessary or impossible, more and more lawyers are beginning to see the benefits of text communication with their clients. Currently, 97% of American adults text on a weekly basis and nearly 80% of people claim that they prefer texting as a customer service option.
By communicating with your clients via text, you can harness one of the 21st century’s most universal technologies to your advantage while simultaneously gaining loyalty and building a relationship grounded in trust. In this short guide, we’ll explain how texting can streamline lawyer client communication.
The Benefits of Communicating via Text for Lawyers and Clients
In the Communications section of its Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the American Bar Association states that “Reasonable communication between the lawyer and the client is necessary for the client effectively to participate in the representation.”
Lawyers texting clients will begin to see the benefits of doing so almost immediately. This is because text messages empower clients to feel like a part of the legal process while keeping them informed at all times.
By adding text messaging to your client service toolkit, you will:
- Foster client-centered experiences – It’s important to do everything in your power to focus on your client throughout the process by involving them and centering their unique needs. When your client can text questions without having to schedule a call or draft a formal email, they’ll feel like part of your team, a true participant in the legal process.
- Improve engagement – Phone calls go unanswered. Important messages get lost in a sea of emails. Texting, however, is proven to increase engagement and keep the line of client communication open and active. People are attached to their phones at all hours of the day. This translates to a surprising 98% open rate for text messages sent from businesses compared to just 22% for email. While email remains a crucial part of your customer service repertoire, you can use business texting to make clients engaged participants throughout the duration of your collaborative work.
- Save time – In a world where virtual connectivity is key, texting your clients can be one of the easiest ways to keep them informed. Drafting an email can be a tiresome, time-consuming process that you typically would prefer to do from your office. If you need to provide an answer, ask a question, or schedule something quickly, a text message to your clients can save everyone precious time and money.
- Drive new leads – By keeping your clients happy and engaged, you will encourage them to recommend your firm to their own clients and industry partners, resulting in better lead generation for lawyers. If you’re already using SMS to communicate with clients, it’s also a potential tool for new client legal intake.
Remember—loyalty isn’t just a two-way street. It’s an ever-widening network of relationships that depend on the human connections you build through open, honest, and dedicated work. Open communication is key to building it.
Ensure Compliance and Keep Client Information Secure
The American Bar Association takes privacy and confidentiality very seriously. While this applies to any kind of communication you have with your client, it is important to understand that the informal nature of texting is never an excuse for an informal approach to compliance with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and other legal standards.
When communicating with your client via text message, maintain the same security standards you would employ on email or over the phone.
- While keeping your client engaged over text can be of great benefit to both parties, it probably isn’t the best way to transmit sensitive or confidential documents.
- In that case, you’d be better off by using an encrypted file sharing service or sending a fax through a private IP network.
However you choose to use texting to your professional advantage, it’s essential to always keep your client’s information as secure as possible. This is an essential component of the client intake checklist to build trust between you and your cases, as well.
Foster Loyalty With Secure 24/7 Services From Alert
In a connected world, prospective and potential new clients increasingly expect around-the-clock communication with their attorneys.
While SMS communication has the ability to lengthen your work hours, solutions like Alert’s text messaging and law firm chat service can ensure your clients always receive an answer without keeping you up past your bedtime.
A legal call center powered by Alert equips your clients with 24/7 access to trained professionals via secure messaging. Our expert staff will inform you of any developments in the off-hours so you can start each day up-to-date on your conversations and cases. It’s a win for your clients and for your work-life balance.
American Bar Association. Rule 1.4 Communication – Comment. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_1_4_communications/comment_on_rule_1_4/
American Bar Association. Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_1_6_confidentiality_of_information/
Mobile Marketing Watch. SMS Marketing Wallops Email with 98% Open Rate and Only 1% Spam. https://mobilemarketingwatch.com/sms-marketing-wallops-email-with-98-open-rate-and-only-1-spam-43866
The Local Project. U.S. Texting Statistics. https://www.localproject.net/docs/texting-stats/