We are all on the run these days and always connected. It's super easy to send a text off to any or many contacts. Talk about convenience. But, just because you can doesn't mean you should. But when you do need to communicate, is email always the answer? Probably not. As a person who is all over email - literally that icon with the number in it makes me nuts - I only want email when its absolutely necessary. So, the question remains - to text or not to text. Below are some key areas to consider when making that choice.
Length of Message
If it's a longer communication, obviously text is not the answer. If it's a shorter message, then more options are available. Remember that no one wants to see a 3 screen text. Even if you are time swamped and can only communicate from your device, choose email instead. If the message is a quick one then more options are available.
No one wants to get bad news via text. It's impersonal and doesn't demonstrate much care for the person. So, if it's tough news, make the call. If it's good news, most people are just happy to get that so you can literally send it almost any way. But, it is an opportunity to celebrate together so don't pass up the chance to emphasize the positive impact with the client. Building that client confidence and happiness is important to build your overall practice.
Not only do you need to be sure the message is received, you need to make sure it gets to the recipient securely. Now, most text platforms, emails, and phone calls are secure these days, thanks to technology advancements. But, it's worth asking the question. The trick is ensuring that the attorney/client privilege is kept in tact. You can't control who has access to a clients email but by sending it to them, you have some confidence that only they will read it.
Can you verify the message was received and read by the client? Unless you are using a CRM, it's tough to track that in emails. For texts, it is possible, if the client has read receipts turned on. Phone calls are obviously verified so that's simple. Consider the options to ensure verification is possible.
These messages should be documented within your case files. The trick with text messaging is they are likely connected to the phone they are sent from. If that attorney leaves the firm, they take those texts with them. Be sure you have a method to retain those messages. Emails are easier to document. In person meetings and phone calls are also trackable with notes, etc.
You can't always use the clients preferred method, but, if you can, it's a good thing to do. Not only does it make the client feel valued and listened to, it can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that comes with a legal matter. This is more of a nice to have versus a must have.
Consider using a case management software platform that supports a text-type feature. For example, in SimpleLaw, we offer a Messaging tool that is secure through the platform, rather than sending a text or email. They are easily tracked, verified, and retained. It isn't a text message to a phone, but it does let you send those quick messages securely. It keeps all communication in one place. Nice and simple.
Keeping clients informed on the status of their case helps create that positive experience. As a result, those clients will share that with others and build your practice. Be sure to find legal technology that supports you and your clients while protecting your firm and minimizing administrative time.
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