Make Contact Information Work for You
Your SBM member profile serves several functions; it helps to keep clients informed with your articles and blogs, it improves client service, and it helps potential clients find you. Once they find you, they need to contact you. Providing easy-to-find contact information creates trust. Failure to give contact information makes you appear untrustworthy.
Your Zeekbeek profile in the SBM Member Directory makes it easy for clients to contact you once you decide to allow consumer contact. The default position on your Zeekbeek profile is set to "no contact" status. But, when you log in to your profile for the first time or to edit an already established profile, you can modify several options, including the option to allow consumer contact.
Start by logging in to your account and then click on "Edit Profile." Navigate to "settings" and find both the "Accept Consumer Clients" and the "Accept Consumer Contact" choices. Click yes to both and future clients will know you are accepting clients and looking forward to hearing from them.
For the general public searching for a lawyer, the first page of your profile, named the business card, will have a notation in the upper-right stating "Accepting Clients." There are two buttons at the bottom labeled "Contact" and "Contact Multiple." Consumers can contact up to 10 lawyers at one time. When the consumer clicks on one or both buttons, a screen opens with three boxes:
- An address bar with the name or names of the lawyers they wish to contact
- A subject line box where they can state the area of law
- A message box to write their questions, send a message, or ask simply that you contact them
There is also a warning on the contact form alerting consumers of the potential hazards of communicating on the Internet. It states:
"Please do not send confidential or sensitive information. Zeekbeek reminds you that no website, including this one, can guarantee that the information you submit will be privileged or stay confidential. Also, be aware that no attorney-client relationship is created by your e-mail. The lawyer you are e-mailing is not your lawyer until he or she formally agrees to be your lawyer and can refuse to represent you for any reason."
Before computers and the Internet, clients seeking a lawyer for a particular legal problem would peruse the yellow pages, talk to friends and family, read billboards, or listen to ads on the radio or the television. Then they would pick two or three lawyers to contact about representation.
Now, however, most consumers (about 84% according to Pew Research) use the Internet to find goods and services including their lawyer. Using the procedure available on Zeekbeek, they can "interview" up to ten lawyers at a time. And, from the responses, they can narrow the field down to two or three they want to interview.
Be one of the interviewees—take a few minutes to add the accepting consumer clients and consumer contact options to your profile.
Roberta Gubbins has served as the editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides services as a ghostwriter editing articles, blogs, and e-blasts for lawyers and law firms. She is the editor of Briefs, the Ingham County Bar Association e-newsletter, and The Mentor, SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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