- Clare Fanner
Coronavirus and Clients …. What should law firms be doing?
Here’s my top 10:
1. Reassure all clients with current matters
Contact all clients with current matters to ensure they know how to contact you, how you are ensuring that you can continue to support them with their current matter(s) and how they can contact you. Advise them if there are changes in timescales and what they may need to do differently. In short, reassure them that’s it’s business as usual aside from perhaps how and when you communicate with them e.g. maybe not in person.
2. Reassure your professional contacts
Similarly, contact the agents, accountants, IFAs etc. that you deal with to let them know you are open for business – that you can still complete on the property transaction, that the deal can still proceed, that you can advise and support their clients who need advice and support on employment, personal and business matters.
3. Be responsive. Answer phones. Respond to emails.
Now is not the time to slack or drop the ball. You need to put in place suitable resources, processes and measures to ensure that your front-line team can answer calls and enquiries. There are some brilliant support services that can help you here – I can’t recommend Moneypenny enough when it comes to online chat and call handling.
4. Update your website. Update your email signature.
Make sure your website is up to date. Ensure that clients and visitors to your site know what to expect from you, how to contact you and how you can help them.
Add a sentence to your email signatures to make sure clients know what to expect especially if there are changes to availability or services.
5. Communicate with your supplier chain.
Make sure that you know what to expect from your suppliers. Can they continue to support you? Will communication or services be affected and if so and how will this affect your services? What might need to be done differently?
Communication is key – make sure you have open lines of communication with all partners and suppliers.
6. Communicate with your wider client base.
They may not have ongoing matters, but they may well need your support. What if they are affected in their employment or business? What if they have family members and friends that need support with legal matters. How can they contact you? Getting in touch with them now to let them know you are open for business and ready to help them will give confidence and reassurance – something that we need at such a time of uncertainty. It will also help you re-engage with clients you may not have been in touch recently.
7. Provide advice and information on key topics.
Whilst the news is fully of pretty well nothing else right now, don’t stop being that trusted adviser. Now more than ever people need to understand their rights, they need to understand the implications of the significant changes taking place around us. Help them understand the steps to take if they are affected – cancelled travel plans, events, employment changes, troubles with supply chains, legal rights and obligations etc.
8. Post helpful content online as well as sharing it with clients and contacts.
If writing content and providing guidance and advise make sure you make it readily available to all via e-shots, your website social and other digital channels (as well as good old-fashioned letters where appropriate).
Contact your local media as well, if you have genuinely useful information for their audience, they will want to hear from you.
9. Empower and support staff.
Never has there been a better time to trust and empower your people. As already established, we are in uncharted territory, so we need to be flexible. And this means giving your people the ability to use their initiative to do what is ‘right’. Give them the boundaries within which to operate and then trust them!
10. Keep calm and carry on.
A lightly flippant final point but let’s not forget the world will keep turning, things will improve and get back to some form of normal. So, keep calm, carry on, keep going, keep running your business, planning for the future and supporting your staff and wider communities. We all need to pull together and support each other. We all have a role to play. Law firms are no different.