At its simplest level, the purpose of a law firm invoice is to communicate with the client about work completed on a case towards the goal of getting paid. It is the conduit for compensation for legal services rendered. As such, many attorneys send a pretty basic email along with their invoices, containing minimal information and dialogue with the client.
But attorneys who take this route miss out on a valuable opportunity to solidify their law firm’s brand and build on the attorney-client relationship. The email accompanying your invoice offers a perfect opportunity for client follow-up and the promotion of future business.
If you want your law firm invoicing to do more than meet the basic need of collecting payments, here are some tips to get the most out of your invoice emails:
Clearly Communicate the Value Provided
Leveraging your law firm’s message starts with clearly communicating the value you provided to the client. Don’t assume that your clients understand all the knowledge, skill, and expertise that goes into completing their matters. They know that you have provided legal service, but they may need some help in really understanding the value.
To clearly communicate the value provided, think of your invoice emails as cover sheets that further expand the information included within the bill. For example, if you were able to secure a positive result, tell the client about it. Maybe you wrote off some time or expense. Let the client know what it was and why the firm is eating the cost.
When given this information, clients can appreciate the amount of work and effort that goes into achieving a successful result in their case. They better recognize your law firm’s value and become more willing to pay your bill in a timely manner.
While it may not be necessary to include a detailed email with every single invoice, consider including one at strategic points in the case… or at the least, when the case concludes. And don’t forget to say thank you. Your invoice email provides a great opportunity to voice your appreciation for your client and their business.
When you take these steps to go above and beyond your clients’ expectations, your invoice email becomes an effective marketing tool.
Ask for Feedback
Use your invoice email to confirm that you are meeting the needs of your client. Include a statement that invites them to contact the law office with any additional questions, compliments, or concerns about the legal services they received. You can also include language that you are happy to meet and discuss any aspects of the invoice the client does not agree with.
For the final invoice, another tactic you might use is to include a link to a client survey for the client to complete. Done correctly, a survey can help you evaluate various aspects of your firm to better meet your business and marketing objectives. Ask probing questions that help you evaluate issues such as:
- Satisfaction with services provided
- Role of the firm’s marketing efforts in securing the client engagement
- Relevancy of practice areas
- The perceived image and branding of your firm
- Factors considered for referrals
- Effectiveness of attorney-client interactions
By asking for feedback in your invoice emails, your firm can better connect with clients and identify ways to promote new business in the future.
Invite Clients into your Community
Law firms can also use invoice emails to promote their communities, by inviting clients to connect with them on social media and subscribe to their blogs. Social media is an effective way for law firms to stay connected with past, present, and future clients. Use your content to demonstrate your knowledge about industry trends and provide clients with the information they find valuable.
Building an online community provides you an effective tool to continue communications with past clients. When clients maintain an appreciation for your firm, they come back to you when they need an attorney. They also become advocates for your firm when friends and family need legal services. Your community becomes an ongoing marketing tool that can start with your invoice email. Also, be sure to include links to your online presence, so clients can easily find you.
Ask for Referrals
Most importantly, don’t forget to ask for the referral. A lot of attorneys hesitate to outright ask clients to refer their services in the future, but this is a major mistake. Your invoice email is the perfect time to bring up referrals, especially if you have secured a positive outcome for the client.
Consider using simple language like:
- Do you have any further legal needs?
- May I check back with you in six months to see if you have any further legal needs?
- Do you have any friends or family members with legal needs I may be able to assist with?
- I’d appreciate any referrals you may provide.
- All referrals are appreciated.
With this language, you can let your clients know that you are open to referrals, as well as repeat business.
Recognize the Value of Your Invoice Email
With the right language and a little effort, your law firm invoicing can serve dual purposes: to get your firm paid and to market for future business. Implement these strategies to create invoices that further the attorney-client relationship for increased growth and profitability.
About Erika Winston:
Erika Winston is a freelance writer with a passion for law. Through her business, Personal Touch Edits, she helps legal professionals deliver effective written messages. Erika is a regular contributor to TimeSolv and a variety of other publications.