“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

This famous quotation from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, summarizes the main reason personal injury attorneys lose clients. Successful client communication can go a long way to help you retain existing clients as well as to grow your future client base. Following a few simple rules will best accomplish this:

  1. Be disciplined in keeping a set schedule to speak with your clients. Even if you don’t have anything monumental to report, touch base with them on a regular, set basis, even to just say “hi.”
  2. Schedule periodic in person meetings in your office. Take this opportunity to show the client the file and any new paperwork. Discuss the next steps and keep the client involved. Don’t rush these meetings, so be careful to schedule them when you have the time to spend.
  3. Be upfront and candid about any problems or setbacks in the case. Don’t let the client find out from someone else. Nowadays, with the advent of ecourts, elaw and other comparable public court resources, most court dockets are accessible online. Some clients keep track of their case progress from their own computer.
  4. Get to know your client. Take the opportunity to not only get updates about your client’s treatment, work status etc.… but ask about their family. What are your client’s interests? Hopefully we are in this business because we love what we do and take great pride in helping people. Try to listen more than you talk. This is a people business. Don’t lose sight of this.
  5. Always return client phone calls on the same day you receive them. If that is not possible, have a member of your office staff call the client and let them know you will return the call the following day. A short email to the client will be effective as well.

Yes, these sound like very basic and obvious things that you should be doing to keep your clients satisfied. However, it has been my experience that most attorneys who aren’t a car accident lawyers clients rely on will still ignore the basics. Don’t ever give the client a reason to think that you are too busy for them. If you are too busy for your clients, you may want to find other work. Remember that in matters involving personal injury, you can bet that the case is the most important thing in the client’s life, so make sure you treat it that way.