As an immigration lawyer, you’re helping your clients build a better future for themselves. With so much on the line, it’s understandable that your stressed clients look to you for frequent updates, answers, and reassurance. But if you spend all your time communicating with clients, you’ll never be able to focus on your complex legal work—not to mention fulfilling your needs for rest, exercise, and connection with your loved ones.
Will you spend your day answering frantic phone calls? Or will you have the uninterrupted, focused time you need to practice law? If you work to improve client service, will that mean an end to work-life balance?
With immigration law firm software, you can have both a more balanced life and happier clients. Here are 7 ways to better manage client communication while maintaining your boundaries:
1. Standardize regular updates
Often when clients don’t know what’s happening, they’ll escalate the interruption until they get the answers they want. They’ll call the office, or maybe even drop in.
When you can keep communication on your own terms, it’s less damaging to your workflow. Map out your standard case process, and mark where client updates can happen. Then build that into your workflow, and educate new clients about when and how they can expect to hear from you.
Case management software can help by streamlining communication task assignments. When new updates come through, the appropriate staff member will be tasked with reaching out to the client. In addition, you can run reports to see which cases haven’t been updated in a certain amount of time. Following up with those clients will help them see that you haven’t forgotten them, even if the process has been stalled by forces outside your control.
2. Rely on automation
With new case management software, you can automatically generate forms, documents, letters, and emails. Not only does this help you move matters forward more effectively, it can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes for you to share key information with your clients. At the same time, automation helps you raise the standards of your communication, ensuring that each team member remains professional and on-brand.
You can also automate your task flows, so you or specific staff members are tasked at the right time to contact clients about new updates. Your clients stay informed, and you don’t have to waste time figuring out exactly which work needs to be done when.
3. Text to and from the case files
Clients love texting. But giving out your personal cell phone number can lead to a constant barrage of interruptions, at all hours of the day.
To maintain your work-life boundaries while giving clients what they want, invest in case management tools that allow you to text directly to and from the relevant case files. Any member of the legal team can offer updates or answer incoming questions, and the communication is securely archived in the case file.
4. Centralize information
In traditional law firms, often only one person has the latest case information. Maybe it’s in a file folder on their desk. Maybe it’s in their head. If a client calls with a question, it often can’t be answered without interrupting someone else.
Cloud-based case management software breaks down the silos in your firm and makes information accessible to all relevant members of the legal team. When a client calls, their latest case information can be immediately pulled up and shared. Centralization also helps firms avoid the embarrassment and confusion of different staff members sharing conflicting information with a client.
5. Partner with a virtual reception service
Sometimes you need some outside help to give your clients what they want. That’s why many immigration law firms rely on specialized legal intake and reception services. These services can make sure your clients get the attention they need even if they call outside of office hours or while your phone line is busy. Virtual receptionists can also respond to incoming messages on your website’s live chat, giving current and potential clients another non-disruptive way to reach your firm.
A high-quality service like Smith.ai will leave clients with the impression that they’re speaking directly with the firm. Trained bilingual legal receptionists can connect directly with your case management software, leaving new case notes, assigning follow-up tasks, and responding in a manner consistent with your firm’s voice.
6. Give clients their own portals
You can also give clients a direct inside view on their cases. Some case management software systems allow you to offer online portals, which gives clients special guest access to their case files. From here, they can ask questions, upload documents, and learn about new developments in their case.
An additional benefit of portals is security. At a time when email is increasingly subject to hacking, client portals are some of the most secure ways of sending and receiving information.
7. Schedule time without interruptions
Finally, make sure that you have time without interruptions to dive deeper into your more complex work. Not only do you need the ability to focus on your legal work, you also need time to address larger questions about your career and law firm management. Scheduled blocks of uninterrupted time will lead to better outcomes to your clients and your career, even if it means there are some times when you can’t be reached.
With the solutions listed above, you’ll also be able to set aside more evenings, weekends, and vacation time to recharge and be with your family and friends. A stable work-life balance will help you continue your life-changing work for the long-haul.
Learn more about what immigration law firm software can do for you at https://www.filevine.com/immigration/practice-management/.