Meet Your Customers in the Cloud | Holland & Hart – Persuasion Strategies
It is therefore time for your critical meeting with the Client. Do they come to your office or do you go to theirs? Or maybe it’s the new option: let’s just meet in the cloud. An article last week in the ABA Journal documents a pretty dramatic shift towards the latter, with lawyers and clients increasingly relying on online meetings through video conferencing software like Zoom. The article “Consumers increasingly want remote legal services” reports on a survey by legal software company Clio. The survey was conducted in May and June of 1,002 U.S. respondents, and 79 percent of them said the ability to work remotely with a lawyer is a big factor in the decision to hire. It may seem like common wisdom at this point, but it’s a number that has tripled in the last few years alone. In 2018, only 4% of those surveyed indicated that they preferred to communicate with their lawyer by video conference, but this year the figure reached up to 58% who preferred video conference for a first meeting or consultation with their lawyer.
Clio CEO and Co-Founder Jack Newton reports, “The idea of a physical law firm as the primary venue for attorney-client interactions is gone, and definitely gone. Trends that were already underway before 2020 have been fueled by the pandemic. Newton continues, “In just three years, we have gone from a tiny fraction of consumers open to video calling to video becoming an essential aspect of how most customers want to communicate. As a result, lawyers should not assume that we will simply fall back into normal office meetings once the pandemic is over, especially since that end date has been quite uncertain and changeable. Instead, we should prepare for remote client meetings as a routine offering. Previously, I offered specific advice to remote witness preparation meetings. In this article, I’ll share five additional communication tips and reminders for meeting with clients in general.
Don’t assume that in person is the default
We might assume that face-to-face communication is always the best communication, but the truth is, there are tradeoffs with all forms of communication. Most of us have now realized that with the total and constant attention to the face that is a hallmark of web conferencing, it is more intimate and direct than we might have expected before 2020. Plus , you and your client may not want to add the travel time, or the experience of being in an unfamiliar office. Either or both of you might also appreciate the ability to be on the laptop and easily share documents.
Keep an unstructured conversation
There is a ‘let’s get down to business’ feeling that can accompany remote meetings. That, along with “zoom fatigue” can make these meetings shorter than their in-person counterparts. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (and your customers might appreciate it from a billing perspective), but especially early in your relationship, remember that informal communication always plays a very important role. You should always have an idea of their personality, comfort and character because they need an idea of yours. So be aware of this and take the time for it.
Touch the base more often
When talking to parties involved in legal proceedings, I have heard the complaint more than once that “I only hear from my lawyer when something is wrong. While this is probably not literally true, it is helpful to remember that professionals who work in fields other than law are not necessarily used to these long periods of time where nothing is happening and, therefore, it is not. there is nothing to report. Remote meeting is a quick and easy way to stay in touch, showing your customers that you’re still there and that you are still on their minds.
Remember that good communication always counts
Don’t just open your laptop and tilt it towards your face. Instead, take the time to make sure you’re in a location with good lighting, with most of that light in front of your face rather than behind, with a nice, non-obtrusive background, and elevation for. the camera that puts it roughly at eye level. Also make sure that you or someone in your workspace knows enough about the technology that no one has to guess at the controls. Seeing and hearing each other clearly are prerequisites for good communication.
Provide privacy reminder and record
In a face-to-face meeting, you know who’s there, but in an online setting, you’ll need to confirm:
Is it correct that I only speak with you, and that there is no one else in the room, and no one else within earshot?
Is it also correct that no one is recording this conversation or otherwise recording this meeting?