Apparently the #1 complaint that clients have about their divorce lawyer is not the exorbitant fees but in fact the slow return of phone calls, text messages and other contact attempts. I am not sure if this is a fair characterization. But if this is the number one complaint, there probably is something to it.
How can divorce lawyers do a better job of quickly returning clients’ messages, texts and phone calls? Well, being better organized could help. Having a specific couple of hours in the workday dedicated to returning client calls would be a good idea. Or some lawyers like the idea of just sending a quick response right away so that the client knows you are on the case and that you will re-contact them later when you have more time.
It is true that in this technologically advanced world (how ridiculous this notion will be in 50 years) that clients probably expect a faster turn around on their calls than is feasible given that the lawyer has to go to court, deal with other clients, conduct research and a whole bunch of other things that make it unreasonable for clients to expect the lawyer to respond right away to every overture.
Having administrative help at the office is obviously a plus so that if you cannot answer at least the secretary can. Not giving out your mobile phone is probably a good idea too. This way the client won’t be too angry if you ignore their texts and calls; they will conclude you are probably not at the office and be more content to wait till you get back. But if they have your cell phone, their expectations will change. They will expect you to get back instantaneously.
Another way of managing clients’ expectations is to put something in the retainer about how soon you can be reasonably expected to get back to the client. You can have a 48 hour rule in the contract and discuss it during consultation so that the client knows and understands that this can happen. You should also put this rule on your website so it is out there that you can take up to 48 hours to return a phone call.
Finally, if all else fails, maybe you just straight up have to try harder to get back to your client right away. This could be the thing that makes your services more attractive than all the other lawyers out there.
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