Do you give your clients your cell phone number?
The answer, for most lawyers, is a resounding “NO.”
Most lawyers don’t want to give out their mobile phone numbers because they want to maintain some level of control over the calls they receive. They worry that a client with a cell phone number will become a constant and never-ending pain in the ass.
My question for you today is, do you know that giving your clients your cell phone number will become a problem for you?
Do you have any evidence that indicates that giving out the cell phone number creates more calls at odd hours than you might otherwise receive?
Beyond that, do you know what the impact of giving out your cell phone number might be on your relationship with the client?
Do you know whether giving out the phone number will increase the bond between you and the client and result in a happier client who has a better client experience?
Is it possible that handing the number to the client provides such a feeling of security that the client is less likely, rather than more likely, to call you after hours?
My guess is that you don’t know whether clients will call outside of work hours if given the number. I’d also guess that you don’t know home important it might be to your clients to feel sufficiently trusted and cared for that they’re given the number. You’ve probably never tried giving out the number and have no idea what might happen if you did it.
I can absolutely tell you that taking your business card out and writing your cell phone number on the back and handing it to the client has a very positive impact. I’ve done it, and it makes a difference.
When you tell them this is the number that makes you available 24/7, it gives them a great comfort. You can see them relax. Handing them that phone number changes your relationship with your clients.
The question that’s outstanding then is whether giving that number will result in a disruption in your life. Will you be up at 2 AM answering crazy calls? Will you be interrupted at dinner? Will you be bothered at events with your kids?
There is only one way for you to find out how handing out the number will affect the quality of your life. That’s for you to start giving out the number.
Now, I know that you’re uncomfortable with giving this number out to all of your clients and/or prospective clients. I can feel everyone reading this article cringing at the very thought of giving out that private number.
My suggestion is not that you give the number out to everybody. My suggestion is that you do a test. Give the number out to a handful of clients and/or prospective clients and see what happens.
If you’re really worried that this experiment can go haywire, use a service like vumber.com and get a second number for $10.00 a month. Give out the second number and allow it to ring your cell phone. You can always cancel the number if the experiment turns out to be unpleasant for you.
We make lots of assumptions about the impact of actions we consider taking. In many instances, our assumptions result in us declining to act. In this instance, I suggest you do some experimentation and see whether the positive impact of giving out the number outweighs the negative impact of the occasional call.
Give it a try and share the outcome with us here. Let us know whether it resulted in happier clients. Let us know whether it resulted in a less happy lawyer.