I never want to type this sentence—or one even remotely like it—again:
You have been there. We all have. It is the inefficient, aggravating, back-and-forth email ping-pong between you (or your staff) and your clients, referral partners, prospects, and friends. It starts quietly enough, with the mutual dream of setting up a meeting. It frequently derails, though, and getting something scheduled ends up taking an inordinate amount of time and email salvos. Wasting all that time drove me batshit crazy. I have better things to do, I promise.
I tried a bunch of tools. Only one of them changed my life. That’s why I’m going to tell you about Acuity Scheduling and give you five tips for how to use online scheduling in your law firm.
Acuity Scheduling for the Win
Acuity Scheduling is an online scheduling tool. You connect your calendar(s) to it, set up appointment types, set any limitations or forms you want to integrate, and you’re off to the races.
Then, every time Kesha wants to set a meeting with you, just send her a link. Although it may sound a bit aloof, I’m confident you can do it with grace. I always say something like:
And while you’re trying to save time, you could even set up a text expander to automate your invitation email.
Acuity’s beautiful and intuitive interface displays only the times I’m free based on my calendar. It is so easy. You can see a full tour of my Acuity set-up here.
4 Ways to Use Online Scheduling in Your Law Firm
I’ve come up with many ways to use Acuity in my professional life. I’m sure I’m missing some, too. But here are a few ideas to get you started:
For some networking meetings, I like to meet at my office. There’s a link just for that. In the confirmation email, I give my visitors directions (with photos) to get there.
Lunches and happy hour on location? Different link. Now, this may seem crazy, but I give up control and let the person choose the time and place. You might be more of a control freak, and that’s okay with Acuity. You can list five locations in a drop-down menu instead. I use limits to prevent happy hours during weeks when I have my kids. And I keep Mondays and Wednesday free for client work.
I include a link for clients to make appointments with me in my email signature. Scheduling phone calls and meetings eliminates the frustration of missed calls and delayed responses. This way, I can guarantee that my clients will have my undivided attention. They stay happier that way.
Are you in trial a lot? No big deal! Just set up another appointment type for a call to reach your paralegal or case manager instead.
Yes, I work with nonprofits and, yes, I charge for consultations. Sam Glover and I even talked about it on Lawyerist Lens. Can you guess what makes it painless? Collecting payments and initial paperwork when clients book their meeting. They schedule their meeting, sign a limited scope engagement letter, and pre-pay online.
Flat Fee Packages
You can schedule and automate flat-fee packages in the same way you do your paid consultations. If you have a flat fee menu, just describe your offerings and set up your online scheduling forms. It is so frickin’ simple.
Jumping in with networking is the least intimidating way to start. You have very little to lose and lots to gain that way. But when you’re done with your test drive, come up with some great ways to use online scheduling that fit your particular business.
If you want to learn more about how Acuity can change your lawyer life through online scheduling, you can download a free guide I put together. And good luck!