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Survey Says Lawyers Need to Be Better About Responding to Calls and Emails

Young man sitting at his desk talking on landline phone at office.
By Laura Temme, Esq. on November 06, 2019 2:21 PM

To say most lawyers are "busy" would be a colossal understatement. But, in most cases, the way to get new clients through the door is to pick up the phone when they call - or to answer their email. A recent study published by Clio took on a thorn that sticks in many attorneys' sides: Responding to client inquiries. And, well...the results aren't great.

Please Leave a Message

The research firm conducting the survey attempted to contact 1,000 law firms via both email and phone to assess their responsiveness. The emails, phone calls, and voicemails included a brief list of questions a typical client might have. They also surveyed 2,000 consumers to figure out what kind of communication clients look for.

Not only were the results a bit discouraging, but they run contrary to what clients want:

  • Only 40% of firms responded to the email inquiry
  • A live person answered only 56% of phone calls

When the surveyors left a voicemail, more than half of the firms still hadn't responded three days later. When firms did respond to emails, 82% sent the response within 24 hours - indicating that if a client doesn't receive a response within 24 hours, they aren't going to get one.

Swing, And A Miss

But when the attorneys did answer, the "clients" got what they were looking for, right? Unfortunately, no. Nearly all of the responses to voicemails consumers called "unsatisfactory." Around 70% of firms provided unsatisfactory email responses, and 6 out of every 10 firms gave sub-par responses on the phone.

"Adequate" email responses were those that:

  • Responded within 24 hours
  • Answered at least one question posed in the inquiry
  • Provide information on rates or how to schedule an appointment
  • Did not confuse the potential client

The good news is: There's nowhere to go but up.

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