Many problems with clients – perhaps even most – can be traced back to an all-too-frequent practice management oversight: they were never properly welcomed into your practice. Conversely, attorneys who provide new clients with a well-thought out welcome packet spend less time answering unnecessary questions, have fewer headaches, and more satisfied clients.
And they’re more profitable as a result. At a minimum, new clients should receive a basic packet (or at least a welcome letter) in which you address common questions such as typical steps and time frames, who to contact on your staff, your communications policies, etc. Packets can also contain resources to help educate the client about the general realm of their legal matter, and, specifically, what they can expect in working with you.
The more effectively you welcome new clients, the fewer problems you’ll face down the line. If you don’t have a welcome packet, this is a perfect autumn project. If you do have one, it’s a great time to improve it. Start by asking your administrative assistant and/or paralegal to create a list of what they think should be contained in the packet/letter.
Explain that the goal is to provide as much information as necessary to answer the most predictable client questions before they arise and to set appropriate client expectations. Set a specific meeting time to go over the list.
Then, at the meeting, do two things: 1. determine which items on the list are important enough to include in the first version of your packet; and 2, set a basic project timeline for having that first/next version ready to go by, say, November 1st. The key is to get in motion and start the process.