It was only months ago that most professional firms took the position that it was generous to offer remote working. Many looked at it as a luxury or an employee perk. Today, it is a necessity. COVID-19 has forced firms to work remotely if they want to stay alive. As part of this virtual landscape, communication is more important than ever. Your clients should understand how you and your firm are adapting and what they can expect as COVID-19 continues. Here are 7 Habits for Highly Effective Client Communication in a Virtual Firm:
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Commit to being proactive about client communication. Too often we are in a reactive state, responding to client demands. The digital environment is saddled with uncertainty and angst due to COVID-19. Make sure that you are being proactive with your communication to clients. Be strategic as you work remotely by encouraging current and potential clients to reach out to you if they have any questions, concerns, or other needs. Call clients directly to offer help and reassurance as you work remotely. Reach out to former clients as well to let them know your firm is up-and-running. This will set their minds at ease that you’re handling their matters, albeit virtually.
Habit 2: Be Transparent
Be transparent in your communication with your clients. You’re not in your office. You’re working remotely. Maybe your garage is now your office, or you’re working on your dining room table. Own that and be transparent about your situation. Clients understand what is going on in the world. There’s no need to sugarcoat where you are in the COVID-19 landscape. Clients appreciate transparency.
Habit 3: Be Responsive
You and your team should commit to being responsive. Establish that your firm is an unwavering resource. Let’s face it, sitting at home with the rest of the family can be difficult to maintain a consistent focus on work. But remember that you have been given stewardship over these legal matters and you are a professional. Though the office may be closed, clients should not see any difference in terms of responsiveness or commitment.
Habit 4: Be Consistent
Be consistent in your communication with your clients. Consistent communication will keep you top of mind and help with referrals and new client acquisitions when the economy eventually rebounds. Consider sending weekly emails to clients to keep them informed about what’s happening at your firm. These emails can be powerful in building your client relationship as they can provide useful information – like the status of their case, the status of the court system, applicable laws, developments in your area of practice that might affect their cases. These types of emails can provide your clients with reassurance that while the firm is not physically in the office, everyone at your firm is still working diligently.