“Back in the day” lawyers had limited communication channels. If a client needed to reach out to you or vice versa, it was done either by phone or email. And that was about it.
But now, there are a myriad of different options that extend far beyond phone and email including instant messengers, live chat, chatbots, and so on.
The question is, what’s the best way to communicate with clients?
Data from a 2016 Study
In 2016, HelpSpot performed a study to determine what the preferred means of interaction was. More specifically, they examined whether most people would prefer to interact with a robot/automated system or a human.
Here are the highlights of what they found:
- 63 percent of people said they prefer an automated system over a human for simple needs (e.g. checking the status of a court case)
- 60 percent said they prefer to speak to a human to find an answer to an open-ended question
HelpSpot’s findings indicate that the preferred means of interaction basically just boils down to the complexity of the request. If it’s a simple request that can be quickly answered with a yes or no response, then the majority of people will be satisfied interacting with a robot.
While this isn’t true for everyone, and it might not be preferable for those who still like the personal touch, the bulk of your clients should be generally satisfied.
For more complex requests like asking a complicated question, it’s clear that most people prefer speaking with an actual human being. And this makes sense. They’re much more likely to get a viable response if they go this route and should be able to save a lot of time and frustration.
Ideally, you’ll have both of these systems in place and provide clients with the option of choosing the one that feels right to them.
Email is Always a Safe Bet
Another key finding was that nearly everyone is comfortable using email. HelpSpot explains, “A ranking of 1 was essentially ‘ugh, avoid it at all costs,’ while a 5 indicated ‘I love it.'” What they found was that half of all respondents rated email as a 4.
“We feel pretty good about email,” they write. “Perhaps this warmth toward email stems from the fact that it integrates pretty seamlessly into our existing routines and it is a very familiar realm for users of most demographics.”
In other words, it’s hard to go wrong with email. While many people—especially those who are less tech-savvy—are a little reluctant to use chatbots and other automated systems, most feel comfortable using email. So you’ll definitely want to use it as a primary contact method.
Keeping Your Clients Happy
At the end of the day, this study shows us that there is no be all end all way to communicate with clients. People have their different preferences, so you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got all of the bases covered. Having multiple options in place means everyone can have their questions and concerns conveniently answered and avoid any unnecessary friction in the process.