How Fast Should You Respond To Calls And E-Mails?
July 5, 2016
You should return client calls and emails on the same business day and within four hours.
That’s the new standard we see in client satisfaction surveys we have completed over the past 12 months for both trial and transactional firms.
We’ve asked: “What constitutes ‘promptness’ when receiving a response to your e-mails and phone calls?” More than 60% of clients say within “four hours.” The “same business day” is the standard checked off about 30% of respondents and “within 24 hours” is the response for less than 10% of the more than 2,000 clients of law firms from which we have received responses in surveys we have completed.
What happens if you are in a deposition, a closing, hearing, a trial or are traveling? We decided to find that out and asked several dozen in-house counsel, executives and business owners. The answer: a response from an assistant or colleague will suffice.
It’s not that you have to answer the caller’s or sender’s question or do anything immediately, we were told. Clients and referral sources just want acknowledgement their message has been received and the situation is set to be addressed within a reasonable timeframe. The same standard, we discovered in these interviews, goes for referrals-acknowledge the referral ASAP, contacting both the person who was referred and the person referring the matter to you.
What about inquiries made at 4:59 p.m.? That same evening is preferable to the next morning, but first thing in the morning is acceptable, our interviews indicated.
What about weekends? A response over the weekend is much appreciated but not considered requisite in most circumstances.