I’d estimate about 85% of my communication with my clients is through email. Communicating by email is actually my preferred method for a number of reasons, some of which I’ll list here:
Comprehensive: Writing and sending an email is an opportunity to get a bunch of questions or concerns out of the way and off of everyone’s mind. I understand the “brain blank” phenomenon – I have it all of the time after I end a conversation with a doctor or dentist. The second I hang up the phone or get into my car in the parking lot, the questions I meant to ask come raining down on my head.
Quick response: I have a Blackberry. My Blackberry is my Joy and the Bane of My Existence all in one. Regardless of my feelings for my Blackberry at any given time, it is a great tool for getting right back to a client and either answer the question(s) or giving he client an estimate of when I can get back to him or her. There is a lot of downtime in Court that I can use quite effectively as e-mail answering time.
Efficency: The majority of my e-mail correspondence can be read and responded to in ten minutes or less. This generates a bill for .20 and also gives each party a nice paper trail to refer back to if needed. On the other hand, a phone call can be very inefficient. I generally need a few moments to gather my thoughts and switch reels from whatever I happened to have my nose buried in when the phone rang. If the client is calling from work, there are distractions on he other end of the phone. The conditions usually lead to a longer phone call with issues missed.
24/7: I’m not going to answer your e-mail at 2:00 a.m. on a regular basis. However, don’t be surprised if that actually happens. I am always on e-mail and chances are good that you will get a reply in the evening hours and over the weekends.
Searchable Information: I save all of my correspondence with clients in their own folders on my hard-drive. Many a time I’ve wanted to look up the make/model of a car, a child’s doctor’s name, a client’s vacation schedule, and it’s as easy as running a search to pull up the email containing the information. This is a far better system than the other system which is me flipping through scrawled notes.