Legal professionals work with a variety of clients every day. Some are a walk in the park. They listen, pay attention to important dates, and value your time. Unfortunately, not all clients are so accommodating. Others take up way too amount time, generally with unnecessary conversations, and don’t retain the information you tell them.
These clients can become more hassle than their business is worth, and it might be best for your firm to eventually let them go. Before you make that decision, however, try a few of these strategies to help you understand why your client might be needy and how to help them move past it.
Try different communication tactics
Some clients become difficult and time-consuming simply because they do not understand what you are telling them. Their confusion or misunderstanding can lead to excessive follow-up phone calls and office time. Try communicating in a different way to resolve this issue.
Cater to their personality
A great way to begin communicating better with a difficult client is to observe their personality. If they are more straight-forward, you may want to focus on facts and statistics when communicating an idea to them.
On the other hand, if a client seems confused whenever you speak, try to make real-world comparisons. Providing an example scenario can help them understand what is going on with their case in a way that makes sense in their everyday world.
Acknowledge their point of view
Another key tactic to employ when communicating with clients is acknowledging their point of view. You do not have to accept that it is correct, but clients need to feel like they are being heard. This may keep them from returning to your office over and over again just to make a point.
When responding to an incorrect statement, try saying “I understand, but…” to allow you the opportunity to correct them without offending them. Avoid having a second person come into the room to back you up. This can make a client feel embarrassed, which might drive them away.
Keep them focused
Many clients that take up a lot of your time might not be trying to. They could simply be too scatter-brained or stressed to retain all of the information you have discussed in previous meetings. This is why it helps to assist your client in staying focused.
Provide visual reminders
An easy and popular way to keep everyone focused is with visual reminders. If a client has a flowchart detailing the steps you have to take for their case, they will be less likely to contact you when they forget something. They can simply refer to the chart.
Setting goals for your client is an amazing way to make sure you receive paperwork on time. This way, you do not waste time tracking them down. Make these goals clear through effective communication. Combine this with visual reminders, as shown above.
Ease their worries
One reason a client might be taking up extra time is they are feeling anxious about their case. The anxious client can lead to an excessive number of phone calls and office visits. Luckily, there are a few tactics you can employ to help ease their worries.
A great way to ease anxiety is to recognize it and move on. If your client seems concerned about the advice you are giving them, try being straightforward. Say something along the lines of “You’ve already chosen me to be your lawyer, which means you must trust me. Can we move forward now?”
Many times, the client can easily move on with the simple knowledge that you understand their hesitation.
A client could have extreme trust issues, which would make recognizing their anxiety ineffective. In this case, you need to build trust. Keeping them informed of the process is a great way to do this. You will end up spending more time on the client on the front end. However, building a solid relationship with them will help prevent trust barriers when you are further along on the case. That will save you time in the long run.
If you have a difficult client who is taking up an excessive amount of your time, give these options a try. One or more of them might just work for your specific situation.