Episode 29: Gyi Tsakalakis on Attorneys Using Tech To Improve Responsiveness and Strengthen Client Relationships

According to Clio’s Legal Trends Report, attorneys fail to respond to more than 60% of inquiries from prospective clients. This abysmal response rate is juxtaposed against surveys of in-house counsel reporting that, on a scale of 1 to 10, responding to client inquiries rates 8.8 in importance to them. 

Poor client communications should not be the norm in legal. In Episode 29, lawyer and founder of Attorney Sync, Gyi Tsakalakis explains how lawyers can use tech and software to be more responsive to client inquiries, strengthen client relationships and win new business.

Gyi is a good person to talk to about this subject. His company Attorney Sync is a digital marketing consultancy helping lawyers build good websites and implement effective digital strategies. Gyi is also the co-host of a great legal marketing podcast called Clienting.

In this episode, Gyi talks about a few of the findings from the Clio Legal Trends report, but also offers practical tips to improve client communications. As Gyi notes, the first step in building strong client relationships and improving customer experience does not involve tech at all: It’s making responsiveness a priority and implementing client response policies.

Once a policy is in place, then it is time to think about using tech to enhance client interactions. The backbone is a good CRM platform (customer relationship management). These tools often provide access to email automation, bots and customer support tools that help facilitate client communications. 

Learn more about Gyi.


Episode Transcript

Chad Main: 

I’m Chad Main, the founder of legal services company Percipient and this is Technically Legal, the podcast about the impact of technology and innovation in the practice of law. In today’s episode we talk to Gyi Tsakalakis. He’s a lawyer and the founder of Attorney Sync. That’s a digital marketing company that helps with tech, helps them with their websites, and helps them improve the visibility of their businesses and strengthen their client relationships

As Gyi and I discuss, lawyers are often not that great about getting back to clients and prospective clients. In fact, you might be surprised to know that recent surveys have found that most inquiries to lawyers from prospective clients go unanswered. So to address this issue, Gyi and I talk about using tech to be responsive to clients and using it to enhance the overall client experience.

Chad: So a few weeks ago we were having some adult beverages.

Gyi:  Yes!

Chad: And I pitched this idea for the podcast because, since I’ve launched the company Percipient, there’s been a couple of times, even though I know a million and a half lawyers where I’ve needed help with legal work. And not insignificant stuff. Stuff that’s going to cost a couple bucks. And I reached out to several attorneys. Crickets, literally crickets. Email them, calls. Even if I had referrals from other attorneys or friends, sometimes I’d actually get them on the phone and then they’d say, “Alright, I’m going to send you the fee agreement,” Nothing. Dropped it. So I was thinking it was me. Is it me? They don’t want to have me as a client?

Gyi: It is you. It’s totally you.

Chad: Well, I thought that, but maybe not because then, a few months ago, Clio came out with their Legal Trends Report, and there was two interesting factors that kind of like proved each other. Of all the people they survey, which I believe are clients, right?

Gyi: Yeah. All of the actual survey respondents were … that’s not part of the law firm, is actually people that are working with those law firms. So yeah.

Chad:  I think the number was 64%. 64% of those surveyed said they’d reached out to attorneys and there was no response.

Gyi:  None.

Chad:  And then Clio itself sent out a thousand [inaudible 00: 02: 25] over to attorneys, I think various ways, email, phone, for different types of law, in bankruptcy, family, business, whatever it was. And they came up with 60% of the attorneys did not answer. Like they just went unanswered.

Gyi:  Ghosted completely.

Chad:  Right. So …

Gyi:  Not just you. It’s not you.

Chad:  Not me. So then-

Gyi:  Well, maybe it’s both.

Chad:  Could be both. Maybe it’s a combo, a perfect storm, the perfect storm. But they just got me thinking because then if you read the Clio report too, and here’s the quote from it. “Law firms say they want to increase their revenues, yet they have trouble finding business. On the other hand, clients struggle to get help with their legal problems.” It just didn’t make sense. It shocked me. When it was confirmed to me that it wasn’t just me that wasn’t having lawyers respond, I was curious. So I want to get your take, so.

Gyi:  It’s me too.

Chad:  So give us a little bit about your background and why I wanted to have you here.

Gyi:  My background is … I used to be a trial attorney for a very short period of time, a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away. But I founded a company in 2008 that does, for lack of a better way of saying, digital marketing for law firms. But part of the issue that always comes up for us is, we track phone calls and inquiries and we try to get people on using client relationship management tools so they can actually track their marketing by channel. And sometimes we look at, we’ll send these call detail reports and we’ll see, oh, 60% or 50% of the calls just were unanswered.

Gyi:  Some of our clients, they’ll record the intake process. And you listen to what’s going on and you’re like, “Well, yeah, no wonder. There’s no followup. You’re not answering the phone.” There’s an expectation people are going to leave voice messages. So I think that’s kind of the impetus for this conversation. It grew out of that experience, grew out of the Legal Trends Report. But we see this across the board. I mean, again, I’m a customer of lawyers as well. As a small business owner, same thing. Can’t get them on the phone. I’m like, “Hey, I need to hire you for this. I think this is what you do.” Nothing.

Chad:  It’s crazy. It’s crazy. And before we get into the nuts and bolts of it, what’s Clio for those who might not know?

Gyi:  Yeah. So Clio is a practice management tool. But they’re really, they’re doing some great stuff over there. They’re trying to build a platform that basically helps lawyers assist clients through what I guess they call their entire client journey. But the context in this conversation that they do is, they’re collecting data from all of these users of their platform. They got a really large number of law firms using it. So they can see, they get a lot of insight into the issues that law firms are facing, whether it’s collections, or billing time, utilization, marketing efforts.

Gyi:  So they put out this report, this Trends Report every year that’s a combination of the data they see in their system and survey information. And it’s always fascinating. I think that right now that’s probably one of the better sources. The ABA puts out one. There’s a lot of good information. But the point is, is every time I see one of these survey studies data from the law practice, it shows the same thing. I don’t know if it’s a, hey, maybe some lawyers are just so busy that they don’t need to worry about it, but they’re leaving money on the table.

Chad:  Literally. They’re literally leaving money on the table. We hear that with the corporate level too, it’s a different complaint, but a similar complaint is, “My outside counsel not as receptive. They don’t take the time to learn my business.” So it’s …

Gyi:  Right.

Chad: There’s a disconnect even after they become clients. And I think, you mentioned that on your podcast. I might add too, that you have your own podcast called Clienting. Very good. It’s focused on …

Gyi: Thanks.

Chad:  Legal marketing.

Gyi: Yeah. It’s focused on how lawyers … We try to get practicing lawyers on for the most part and get them talking about what’s working for them to get new business.

Chad:  So lawyers may not be quick to respond, if they do it all. What’s the issue here? Looking at the data,  Gyi has come up with a theory. It’s that clients have vastly different expectations of how, what, and why they want to communicate with attorneys. And attorneys are simply not paying attention to what their clients want.

Gyi:  There’s a disconnect between what lawyers think clients care about and what clients actually report caring about. I think some of the obvious ones, like one of the numbers that jumps off the page, 77% want to know a lawyer who’s experienced in credentials. Everybody knows that. Lawyers know that. Lawyers know it’s a relationship and reputation business. So reputation, experience, and credentials matter. 72% want to know the types of cases they handle. Now, that’s an interesting one because a lot of lawyers have a hard time articulating exactly what it is that they do beyond …

Gyi: I was talking to a guy the other day, business litigation. Well, what do you do? Like who do you help? Like your small business? All that kind of stuff. So I think that’s an expectation clients have.

Chad: You said they do a poor job of really explaining what they do. What do you mean by that? The business litigation, that to me it all makes sense. You do commercial litigation. But you’re saying it’s not enough. What should that lawyer have said?

Gyi: It’s explaining it in a way that resonates with the target audience. Lawyers tend to get into their world of they’ve got their whole language. When I was practicing law it was the same thing, everybody. Even now when I talk to plaintiff’s attorneys, it’s like there’s a language there. You don’t need to say much. It’s like Shorthand. But let’s just say that you are a … I don’t know, I’ll make one up. You help startups deal with trademark issues. That’s another step further. That could still fall under the umbrella of business litigation. But that’s more specific.

Gyi: And then, even getting more specific is like, do you do trademark litigation? Are you doing enforcement? How do you specifically help your client beyond just the “practice area” headline that you tend to throw out? So I think that’s really what that was speaking to is. It’s not just what types of case do you handle. It’s how do you help me as a client. I think that’s the thing that it’s missing.

Gyi: And then the other. So another. 70% want a clear understanding of the legal process and what to expect. That’s a big one too. Again, and we’re talking keep the trademark thing going. What is the life cycle of this representation? What’s it look like? Is this a next 24 hours, does a week, two week, what’s happening over the next month? And setting those expectations from the start makes a big difference in how the client’s feeling about the representation. Because there’s the classic adage that the leading cause of malpractice is just not keeping clients informed about what’s going on. A lot of that can be solved by setting those expectations at the beginning, talking about the process, giving them a roadmap. And we’ll talk about some of the ways that you can even automate some of that so you can make it a little bit more clear. You might have like a visual representation of what it looks like to just fire off after a retainer. But that’s a big one.

Chad: It’s funny you say it because that’s across the board. It’s not just on the consumer facing legal problems. I was just at a client’s office two weeks ago, and they were talking about one of the … They reached out their outside counsel to get status on the case because they reached out. Come to find out they’d already, they’d filed summary judgment motion and hadn’t told the in-house attorney they’d done it. It’s crazy.

Gyi: Classic.

Chad: Yeah.

Gyi: Classic example. And then the last one that really jumped out is the 66% one estimate of total cost. So it’s the same thing. It’s what should I expect through this? Like how much is this going to cost? I don’t know. I’ll give you my hourly rate. It’s in the retainer. But realistically, the more you can share, and representing clients in a lot of different practices, it can be very fluid. Right?

Chad: Yeah. I was going to say getting the budget’s easier said than done, unless you’re doing DUIs. It’s going to cost $5,000 and you know that.

Gyi: Right. And I get that. I think so much of it is expectation setting. It’s not getting into locking down commitments to a specific number, but it’s having those conversations of like, well, if X, Y, and Z, if it goes this way, you’re looking at this. If it goes this way, you’re looking at maybe something else. And lawyers, to their credit are getting more creative about things like value based pricing and flat fee and alternative methods to their services than just the hourly rate.

Chad: So, as you know, we’re a podcast focused on tech and innovation in the legal world. On most podcasts we like to offer actual real-world practical tips about implementing tech in the legal practices to make them more efficient and better for clients. So what kind of tech can lawyers use to improve lines of communication with clients and strengthen client relationships? How about email automation, bots, and the use of CRM, which are customer relationship management tools? And while tech may be daunting to some, it doesn’t have to be. Modern software is very user-friendly and you can take baby steps before diving into every feature a piece of software has to offer. But, as Gyi explains, before even thinking about tech, the first step is to implement a policy regarding client communications and response times.

Gyi:  Everybody’s practice is different. So I’m going to make some suggestions, and if you’re listening to this and you’re like, “That’s never going to work in my firms.” Like, all right, fair enough. Maybe it won’t, but I would at least implore you to consider this.

Gyi: So number one is, this goes to the what do clients look for when first contacting a lawyer. They want a timely response. The challenge is, all right …

Chad:  And that’s across the board. It doesn’t matter-

Gyi: Across the board.

Chad: Yeah, it doesn’t matter what type of [crosstalk 00: 12: 08]

Gyi: The number one factor, number one most important factor, timely response. And …

Chad: Was 82%, right?

Gyi: Yeah. And I think at least half said it’s the most important thing. So what’s a busy lawyer to do? Number one, the mantra here needs to be, you need a policy that says we are going to respond to every inquiry, every client, every potential client, whoever calls our prac firm, whoever has our professional contact information I say within 24 hours. If you can do better than that, great. If you can’t do better than 24 hours, I think you need to visit that.

Gyi: Okay, so then the pushback is, “Well, I’ve got to practice law. I don’t have time to field all these inquiries.” Okay, well, maybe you have a receptionist. Maybe you have a intake person. “Well, it’s expensive. I don’t have the type of practice that can support a full-time person.” Okay, so I’d be starting to look at virtual receptionists. I love Smith AI. Smith.ai is a … They actually have virtual reception and they have a chat bot. The chat bot has an AI component. So for common questions, it will learn answers. I won’t get into all the technical details, but this way someone’s on your website or someone calls you, someone’s, a human being, if they call is answering the phone. They can do a hot transfer or they can take a message and set the expectation of when they’re going to hear a response.

Gyi: Now, you still got to respond. If someone at the firm has got to respond, whether it’s the lawyer or an intake person or somebody, but the virtual reception will help bridge that gap so you’re not getting interrupted all day with all of your inbound inquiries.

Chad: I want to talk about the bot though. There’s a second part of this. I assume that it’s customizable?

Gyi: Customizable, and in fact what you do is you can seed questions and answers in the bot. So the bot basically learns based on natural language processing for the inputs that you put in. You might create a bot that says like, all right, if someone asks about fee structure, this is the little blurb that you want to get out. And it doesn’t have to just be … It’s $500 an hour, right? It can be like, we like to have a conversation about fee arrangements. Enter your email to get a followup about fee arrangements. So you can get creative about how you deliver the information. But that’s all being automated. And then to take it … No, not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but you could also set it up so it captures the email. Email goes into your client relationship management tool, CRM. I like ActiveCampaign there, but there are a bunch of them.

Gyi: Full disclosure. I’m an investor and advisor to a company called Lawmatics, which is doing CRM specifically for law firms. I think they’re building something really cool, but obviously I’m biased. Take it or leave it. We’ve used ActiveCampaign. There’s a bunch of these CRM tools. Point being bot, enter your email into the response to the bot. Fires it to your CRM. CRM fires off an autoresponder that can fire off white papers and guides or links to video. So now you’ve automated a lot of that stuff that you do to try to nurture that relationship with the software. So you don’t actually have to have the same conversation over and over and over again. You know those frequently asked questions you hear all the time. The software can handle it.

Chad: We should talk a little bit more about CRM just so people … I didn’t know what it was until I launched the business. But in retrospect, and there are … Clio has that aspect to it.

Gyi: Sure.

Chad: They are CRM, client relationship management tools that are legal law facing. And I think every lawyer should use them because their use is just beyond keeping track of leads and prospects and clients. In a nutshell, describe what a CRM is.

Gyi: So the most simplistic version is it’s contact management. Most of the CRMs that are kind of table stakes to me, they have a marketing automation component, meaning that it’ll do things like trigger based automation for email marketing, meaning you can set it up so that maybe it sends an email to wish somebody like Happy 4th of July or Happy Birthday. MailChimp’s another … Mailchimp’s not really a CRM but it’s got-

Chad: But getting there though.

Gyi: Yeah. They build a lot of automations in. I love MailChimp. I think also, if you’re looking for a pretty affordable option, MailChimp’s a good one. It’s got built-in automation. But you want something that can take your potential client inquiries and move them through stages to your feed so that you can see things like call came in. Potential client inquiry. Step one is schedule initial consult or whatever your process is for getting them to your retainer. The CRM helps manage that process. It can create reminders. Usually I’ll have them have task lists. And then, I think more importantly, it’ll help you track the performance of your marketing and networking.

Gyi: So if you’re a word of mouth person, you’re out there investing money in networking and events and that kind of stuff, your CRM can actually help you track which efforts are working the best in terms of generating new business for you.

Chad: And going to that point, if you’re out there, the word of mouth person and you’re getting business cards or most of these CRMs have apps, take a picture of it, and it’s automatically in there.

Gyi: Love it. Nutshell that comes to mind. Nutshell CRM, they’re out in Ann Arbor. Go Blue. They have a really nice feature like that on their app where it takes a picture. They do a lot of good de-duping of contacts. So that’s another one. I like to give people a bunch of options to check out. Nutshell’s one that I like. But even if you go to like, there’s a site called Capterra. And if you just search on Capterra for CRM law firm, CRM law firm practice management, start looking at future comparisons, there’s a growing list of different options that are, I think are worth checking out.

Gyi: But the biggest thing is that you have to have something that’s kind of like the central nervous system for your contact management. Again, it doesn’t matter if your clients find you from Google or it’s all relationships and reputation because this is the one that gets me all the time. I’ve got lawyers to talk to. They’ve been practicing for 25, 30 years. They’ve got a great reputation, they’ve got all these contacts, and they never stay in touch with anybody. After the representation, no follow up.

Chad: Which, you beat me to it. I was going to say, CRM is also good for that, because if you’ve already landed the client, maybe it’s dormant right now. Maybe they don’t have anything going on. But you go in and they have, the CRMs have the stay in touch modules and you go, “Look. Oh, I haven’t talked to Gyi in a while. I need to reach out to him.” They do all those studies that say the majority of business is generated from existing clients than new clients. It’s like, again, leaving money on the table if you’re not following up.

Gyi: Just untapped resource. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be sitting, whether it’s with a lawyer or a legal services consumer and you watch what happens, and it’s literally, “Oh, I’ve been meaning to contact you. I’m so glad you sent me that email.”

Chad: Right.

Gyi: And the email can be something like Happy 4th of July. Lawyers think like, “Oh, I got to send out my firm newsletter.” And it’s like, “Well, maybe your firm, maybe people that subscribed to your firm newsletter list, they really love getting your firm newsletter. And I won’t take away from that. But from a relationship building standpoint, nurturing relationships, I bet you they’d much rather get the Happy Birthday. I mean MailChimp, you can set up to send them … You automate sending them a physical birthday card, which is like wow.

Chad: Yeah.

Gyi: And now again, there are people in your referral network that you should be writing hand written cards to. But if you’ve got 10,000 connections, you want to write 10,000 birthday cards?

Chad: No. But this segues into another point that you alluded to earlier, talking about how attorneys sometimes do not keep their clients informed. You alluded to some software there. What’s your suggestion there?

Gyi: Yeah. So a lot of these practice management tools and CRMs, they have that kind of stuff built in, where you can fire off reminders about calendars. A big one for me, just kind of, I was actually just at the Chicago bar talking automation. One of the things I really like is the automatic scheduling stuff. So you can do, I don’t want to get too fancy here, but there’s a tool called Calendly. There’s Acuity. But essentially you can pick availability slots. You can automate the scheduling process. The tool fire off reminders. So you’re getting a lot of no shows for your initial consultations with clients, or you’re getting people that are kind of falling off the … They’re like, “Oh, I forgot.” Right? A lot of these tools can be configured to send a text message reminder the day of or 24 hours before the meeting. Some of them you can … If you want to get really fancy, you can take the scheduling tool, connect it with Zapier. So zapier.com is another. It just connects software. There’s a short version of it.

Gyi: Create a zap that certain types of meetings get scheduled. Maybe it’s a deposition or initial intake. Give the client the option to check a box, and you can send an Uber to pick them up. And that can all be automated. So that kind of stuff, it’s getting a little fancy, but I just kind of wanted to talk about some of the other ways that you can do things that … It’s great experience with the clients. It’s great for … The practice management tool has a follow-up component for yourself. So if you need reminders, it can fire off reminders for you.

Gyi: But more and more you’re seeing, whether it’s CRM or client portals that some of that heavy lifting that lawyers used to have to do either through like … Once upon a time, lawyers actually had to mail a letter to tell people about that they’d have a deposition the next day. Now, the software can do it. So it can fire off … You can get confirmation that they received the message, text message, email, send a car to pick them up and that can all be automated, which takes a lot of that heavy lifting off the lawyers’ plate. If you’re a firm that does a lot of email, autoresponders are a big one.

Chad: I thought about that too because you’re getting a response, and you don’t have to do anything. You’ve already bested 64% of the attorneys out there.

Gyi: That’s what I always say. I’m just like, you don’t have to sit there and explain the complicated issue within 24 hours. You just have to acknowledge that they sent you a message and set their expectation of when they should expect a follow-up. So if someone, whether they call you or text you or email you an autoresponder, which you use any kind of software. Most of these softwares have ticketing systems, where if you submit a ticket, it’ll fire off an email to you saying, “Hey, we acknowledge that we got your ticket. You should be able to expect a response within X hours,” or whatever. Great. I’m all good then. Right?

Gyi: What happens is that the thing that makes me frustrated as a client is that I send you an email, and it goes into the black hole. I never hear from you. So at the very, the autoresponder automatically set up. I mean, I think lawyers are familiar with it in the context of, I’m on vacation. Well, that same concept can work for actual follow-up. Again, “Hey, we got your message. I’m out and in the office. We’ll get back to you. If it’s an emergency, you can contact this person.”

Gyi: And then the other thing you can do that’s … If you’ve got people who are in that you’re trying to stay top of mind with, you can set up email sequences with some of these tools. So it’s like, here’s my eight-step email sequence that goes from Happy 4th of July to something that’s a little bit more, what the marketers would call like down funnel. So it’s like, “Hey, do you have any questions about blah, blah, blah.” So you’re going to engage them even beyond that. But all of that can be automated.

Gyi: One thing that I would say be careful of, especially if it is brand new for you, you want your automations to be invisible. It’s not that you want to mislead people into thinking that they’re actually dealing with you. I mean, in California in fact, we talk about this all the time, but if you’re using a chat bot, just say it’s a bot. It’s okay. You don’t have to pretend it’s an actual person. Same thing with email. It’s okay to say, “Maybe it comes from the firm.” Not trying to trick them to thinking that the autoresponder is you actually responding. You say, “Hey. We’re in receipt of your message. We’ll get back to you.”

Gyi: But at the same time, if you ever do an automation and it just seems inauthentic, you’re not going to want to rework it because it’ll become more of a liability than an asset. It’s like anything else. If you use some kind of technology and it just doesn’t feel right, you’re in a sense that, and be like, “Yeah, I’m just, I’m stuck on this person’s email list or whatever and it’s not working. I’m going to unsubscribe or block them or whatever.” So it’s just something to keep in mind. That’s not a reason not to use it, but it’s just the devil’s in the details of how you implement it.

Chad: The autoresponder is a great idea. If the other alternative nowadays is no response, at least that auto-generated response is better. But, could be just kicking the can down the road. So what do you recommend to a lawyer who sets up the autoresponder, “Hey, thanks for your inquiry. I’m going to get back to you,” to make sure they actually get back to them?

Gyi: Yeah. It’s going to vary from person to person, but it should fire off an email notification to you. If that doesn’t work for you, it should fire off a text message to you if that’s better, which they all can do. If you’re that bad, then you got to talk about investing in resources to fill the intake. So whether it’s Smith AI or Ringbird or some kind of more formal intake consult, you can outsource your intake, right? You better get it all right, because if you’re … Someone else who’s going to take the intake for you and you want to test the script, test the questions, test the form, all that kind of stuff, but that’s the only way to do it.

Gyi: At some point, the buck’s got to stop with you got to talk to people and get them to get to know you, especially again, if your target audience is sophisticated legal services consumers, they’re not going to give you a lot of latitude in dealing with outsourced intake specialists or whatever else you might be using to try to do the intake. They want to meet you. They’re hiring you.

Gyi: That’s another big thing too that this is like more just general lawyer stuff. People hire lawyers. They don’t hire logo, for the most part. I think there are some firms that have developed such a reputation that people are actually like, “It doesn’t matter who at the firm we get, we got the firm, we’re good.” Most lawyers, they’re hiring you. Like you. To use the parlance of our times, lawyers are a personal brand. It’s like who you are. Like do people know you, like you and trust you? And they want to talk to you. They don’t want to talk to an intake or a receptionist person. They want to get you.

Gyi: So you got to carve out some time to actually do whatever that final step’s going to be. I think all the things that we’re talking about are ways that you can nurture that potential client to qualify them to get to the point where you’re going to talk to them. There are certain practice areas where maybe you can really automate even some of the aspects of the representation. But for the most part, this is a service business. You got to meet the people. You’ve got to talk to them. But there’s some things you can do to do, to make it more efficient for you and the potential client as you lead up to actually getting retained.

Chad: So efficiency and automation. This technically is not an automation, but you might find this interesting too, is Slack collaboration tools. I was talking to a contact of mine. He’s at one of the bigger tech companies. He’s in-house there. And they have a Slack channel where they pay an outside law firm to respond to questions posted on that Slack channel. I forget what specific area of law it was. I think maybe an HR or some obscure area of compliance. But that’s another way. Another piece of software you can use.

Gyi: Yeah, we love Slack.

Chad: To stay in touch with clients.

Gyi: There are so many tools. There’s so much software that can help you with all this stuff. For me, one of the things, the starting points is are you having conversations with your clients and setting expectations about what’s the best way to communicate, right? So many people, they don’t even bother to ask like how would you prefer that we actually communicate? Here are your options. Oh, we can text. It’s totally fine.

Gyi: Now of course, there are compliance and legal ethics issues and client confidence and that kind of stuff. You want to be sensitive to that kind of thing. End-to-end encryption and VPN, that’s another conversation for another day. But, the main issue is having a conversation at the start about how you actually want to be communicated with. And that’s a piece that’s missing. So if you offer out to some people, “Hey, does Slack work for you?” “Yes.” “Oh, I’m so glad you mentioned that. I love Slack. I use it at work.” So it’ll actually be way easier for me to communicate with you because I’m on Slack all day anyway for work. I just need to pop open a new team. I’m good to go.

Gyi: Other people are going to be like, “Text is best for me,” or “Email’s fine,” or, and some people still are like, “It’s got to be phone.” And if it’s got to be phone, then I think you’re talking about assistants. But my big thing with the phone is, it’s got to be human. This idea that people are going to do the, “Press one for this, press two for that.” I mean, do you like when that happens to you? I don’t.

Chad: So we downloaded a lot of, a lot of info, a lot of different tools, a lot of different ideas. Where would you recommend someone start?

Gyi: Start with the CRM, my opinion.

Chad: I agree 100%.

Gyi: Because at the very least the CRM, it can do the … It gets you organized with your contacts. You can stay top of mind with your existing client base and former clients. It’ll help you nurture the relationships you’ve already established. The CRM is kind of like the backbone. That to me is this place. I would start from a software perspective. But I think even if you back up a little bit more, it’s like you’ve got to have policies at your practice about we’re going to say we have a 24 hour response.And then go fill in the details of how you’re going to deliver that.

Gyi: But, again, I think so much … I know there are lawyers listening to this right now, and they’re like, “All right, tech people, you’re full of it. I use voicemail.” Before you get into using CRM or any of this stuff, you got to start with the mindset of what kind of experience do you actually want to deliver, what kind of expectations do you want to set? For me, the thing that I always talk about is because we’ll get into unique selling propositions, especially with brand new lawyers versus experienced lawyers. Brand new lawyer says, “I don’t have the reputation this person has. I haven’t been doing this for 25 years. I don’t have the experience.” Well, guess what? If you’re better at responding and you’re better at engagement and you’re better at follow-up, that might be your competitive advantage to win that business even though you’re less experienced. And so-

Chad: Well, it is a competitive advantage because 64% of these attorneys aren’t responding at all.

Gyi: It’s like a no-brainer.

Chad: Yeah.

Gyi: You can be the less experienced lawyer and still win the business just with an autoresponder.

Chad: Just answering an email. Just answering the email.

Gyi: So that’s where I’d start.

Chad: Cool. Gyi, thanks for your time. Where can people find you?

Gyi: I’m pretty active on … I waste most of my life on Twitter. So @gyitsakalakis or people can find me at attorneysync.com. You’re giving my email G-Y-I, that’s a whole other story @attorney S-Y-N-C .com. If you search my long Greek name, you’ll find me online and I’m always happy to answer questions and I really appreciate the conversation we had.

Chad: And don’t forget Clienting Podcast.

Gyi: Clienting Podcast.

Chad: All this information will be on the episode page. Thanks Gyi.

Gyi: Awesome Chad. Thanks so much.


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