A reporter called the other day to ask about whether client communications have changed, and what I thought about how lawyers should communicate with clients in this new age. She mentioned that in talking with some digitally savvy “younger” lawyers, they preferred communicating by email and texting. In fact, one thirty something told her that he “hates” voicemail, and so doesn’t communicate with clients or prospects in that manner. I was asked what I and clients would think about that.
My answer was really simple: “I don’t know. Ask ‘em.” It doesn’t matter what one person thinks or feels about the many possible ways to communicate in today’s world. It’s irrelevant. When communicating with clients or prospects, the only thing that matters is what they think.
I hate email (as I have posted about before). However, when working on a client matter, it is efficient and effective; and if that is the way clients want to be communicated with, then DUH! Quite frankly, I expect that most would prefer it, if it got the job done quicker and cheaper. But, in my view, email is one of the worst methods of communicating when trying to develop business from clients, referral sources, and prospects. This “modern” way of communicating is not, especially with the pure volume of emails flying around the universe, the answer IMHO.
Texting is a whole ‘nother matter, especially when dodging the idiots on the highway that do it while moving into my lane. Moreover, it is downright insulting the way people do it while sitting in a meeting or in your living room while visiting from out of town (as a relative, whom my wife and I hadn’t seen in six months, did recently). Further, the person didn’t hear a world I said to him while he communicated with several people he had only met online. Okay, okay, you get it, I don’t like texting either.
I’m just too old fashion I guess, and think that the best business development (and socializing) is face-to-face. But heck, don’t take my word for it, ask your client.