Work Related: Getting Clients to Give you Information

posted 2 years ago in Career
Member
3969 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I’m the same field, and have never been on the receptionist end, but trained the receptionist to do the following when a client would say “it’s personal”.

Tell the client that it’s more likely the attorney will return their phone call sooner if they know what they are calling about.  Word it like this, “Mr/Mrs.____ has a lot of messages today.  I want to make sure he’s aware how important it is to get back to you.  If I can let them know the nature of your call, I can have him get back to you as soon as possible”

In all actuality, this is true.  When a message is passed to an attorney with only a name and phone number, they will put it on the back burner until messages with “did I miss my Court date”, “I got a speeding ticket”, or “I won’t be able to pay you this month” get taken care of.

Member
1689 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I think maybe just repeating the question in a different way might get them to loosen their lips.

You: What can I tell them it’s regarding?

Client: It’s personal

You: No problem!  Are there any keywords or anything I can mention pertaining to the issue so I can clue them in?

Member
3673 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

@mchitt329:  Is it possible to do a good humored chuckle and remind them that you’re all on the same team and that _____ is super busy and giving some specifics will help the caller ‘jump the line’?

Member
1951 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@mchitt329:  I’d try changing your question. Instead of saying “may I ask what this is regarding?” try “What is the general purpose of your call?” or “So I can give Mr.BossMan an accurate message when I transfer you, what is this call regarding?”

 

Member
1605 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I always explain attorney client privilege to each of my clients.  And when I do, I tell them that privilege extends to secretaries, paralegals, legal assistants, social workers, and other attorneys in the office.  I told them that they may even receive phone calls from these people and that privilege extends to them as well.  It’s all part of the representation agreement that they sign and I go over it in EVERY case.  It makes it a lot easier for them to discuss their concerns w/people who are taking messages or scheduling appointments, etc.

 

 

Member
2241 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

@mchitt329:  That’s the worst. I’m a legal secretary too and ther are days I want to bash my head into a wall. It’s either they give you no information or they start going into how their third cousin’s second wife twice removed daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend is having a baby.

Member
1605 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@mchitt329:  I think that’s the best way to handle it.  Unfortunately, if the attorney is not easing the clients’ minds, then it will be THAT much harder for you to discuss things w/the client, which is really unfortunate and inefficient for EVERYONE involved.  I know that I HATE when a client leaves me a message saying, “call me back right away it’s urgent,” because half of the time it isn’t and because if they told me WHAT they were calling about, then I could have the answer/fix the problem BEFORE I called them back if I knew what they wanted. 

Member
2241 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

@mchitt329: One of the attorneys I work for also doesn’t like returning calls–so that makes for even more of a headache.

But, 90 % of the time I like my job.

Member
1605 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@mchitt329:  It is frustrating to have to deal w/clients sometimes though.  There are days when I think, “my job would be perfect without the clients!”  lol.  Just kidding.  But I think it’s one of those jobs were the people you are serving are pretty much always in some sort of crisis in their lives, which is why emotions and high.  Definitely not fun for the people helping them.  You’re doing your best!  And I’m sure the lawyers in your office appreciate your hard work.

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