How Lawyers can Relax During the Holidays and Still Offer Excellent Client Service
Can you believe we’re almost at the year’s end? Like us, you might be looking forward to some well-deserved time off. But for many lawyers, switching off during the holidays is much easier said than done. You’ve built your practice and reputation and know precisely how much time is needed to keep everything running smoothly. You might have very close relationships with your clients, and they might be used to getting in touch with you quickly. An ABA study found that 32% of lawyers said they feel pressure not to take vacation time (ABA, 2021).
But that doesn’t mean you should feel guilty when you take time off. In fact, breaks are essential to staying in top form for the rest of the year. Is it possible to relax at the end of the year and still deliver the holiday customer service your clients expect? Absolutely. It just takes a little planning.
Tell your clients your holiday dates
Your vacation isn’t a shameful secret to keep from your clients – they’ll understand that you’re human too. In fact, at this time of year, many of them may also be planning their own vacations. Communicating when you’ll be out of the office and your law firm’s holiday hours makes clients much less likely to contact you during this time.
Top tip: While telling your clients your availability, make sure to offer time in your calendar before you go. This will help them feel nurtured and personally cared for. And speaking of calendars…
Update your calendar
Update your calendar to give yourself time and space when needed. That means removing available slots while you’re away and thinking about your return to work. If you’ve been off for more than a few days, you’ll likely have much to catch up on. Offer reduced meeting slots during the first day or two back. That way, your first day back won’t be overloaded with client questions.
Top tip: Make sure you book quiet time into your calendar. You don’t just need time to prepare for client questions but also employee questions. You need part of your day without interruptions. Create it.
Set up automation
Your out-of-office reply is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to automating your firm for a positive holiday customer service experience. Your case management software can automate billing, and LawPay can provide payment links – imagine coming back from the holidays to find paid invoices! And your calendar software can often automate reminders, letting your clients know when they have upcoming meetings.
Top tip: Though automation is beneficial, don’t disguise where you use automation and where you use real people. 84% of consumers want companies to disclose where they use AI, and they want to be confident that when they call your firm, they’ll always reach a real person.
Task someone with responding to inquiries
While current clients are likely to be understanding while you’re out of the office, the same can’t be said of your potential clients. If they don’t receive a fast reply, they’ll continue calling other options. A virtual receptionist can respond to callers and even call out to webform and email inquiries any time of the day or night. One more tool to give your clients the best holiday customer service experience while allowing you to relax.
You work incredibly hard all year round – and you deserve a rest from time to time. With a few techniques, you’ll be able to switch off and truly enjoy your time off.
Top tip: Switch up your regular virtual receptionist script for a customized holiday script. This should include details like your return-to-work date and the next steps of their inquiry.
Author bio: Brianna Quiroga is a Business Development Executive for LEX Reception with over 12 years of experience in legal answering. With LEX, she helps give lawyers more time for their casework, clients, and personal life with custom reception services. Working for LEX allows her to do her two favorite things: travel and help people transform their lives for the better.