Until now, it is widely accepted that the legal profession has been able to get away with poor customer service. But times have changed.
Due to new technology and changing consumer expectations, traditional sectors have been left behind. Particularly in the last ten years.
Law firms are under the impression that their clients are happy paying for a legal professional’s knowledge. But client expectations are much, much higher. They expect outstanding customer service and an enjoyable experience too. Knowledge is a given, but a great client experience is desired by consumers.
This shift in client expectations could result in a great experience becoming the difference between a leading firm and an underachieving one.
What makes an enjoyable client experience?
Clients demand, and have the right, to be kept up to date at frequent intervals during their case. They want to be regularly updated on progress, and to see that you’re doing everything to ensure the case comes to a satisfactory conclusion.
In fact, this is what Lawyerist called out as the number one complaint among clients; not being informed by their solicitor.
An enjoyable client experience relies on efficient and regular communication.
Law firms are failing in this department. Their client communication is poor, which means their customer service as a whole is impacted. It’s clear to see why law firms are inundated with client complaints.
So why haven’t law firms adapted?
My experience as a lawyer
I’ve seen first hand the client experience that law firms deem acceptable. After I first qualified as a solicitor I was shocked to see how basic and global business principles were being disregarded. Other businesses couldn’t get away with these standards, so why is legal any different?
It’s a complicated and traditional profession that doesn’t embrace change. But it needs to if it’s to thrive.
For me, the most obvious win for legal was to embrace customer service and make it their highest priority.
Law firms have got away with providing poor customer service for centuries, but they cannot hide from it now. The mindset of their consumers have changed, and firms need to adapt.
It takes people who are passionate and have the courage to want to make a difference to help firms to adapt.
Why has customer service been left broken in legal?
Customer service hasn’t been fixed because it hasn’t been a priority to fix.
Legal professionals know the value of their knowledge, and they’ve decided to keep it to themselves. After all, it’s what they’re selling to their clients.
That, however, is the wrong mindset to have. Clients should be at the top of their priorities list, not the bottom. Law firms may have had the power of knowledge on their side, but that has shifted - the power is with the client.
The landscape of customer service has changed, catching firms off guard
Legal firms may see themselves as a distinct business, but at the end of the day, they’re dealing with consumers. This is why client satisfaction is essential to growing profits.
It’s the likes of Amazon who have lifted the client experience standards. Their customers are in control. The tracking on a customer’s order is a game changer. They can see the status of their package constantly; whether it’s been packaged, when it’s at the delivery depot, even when it’s out on the road.
This transparency is provided as a standard part of the service. It ensures clients are happy because they’re in the loop every step of the way.
But it’s not just Amazon that is forward thinking.
Dominos - the experience trumps legal
The value and importance of ordering a pizza and conveyancing may greatly differ, but the distinction between both client experiences is substantial. Dominos prevails.
A customer can order a pizza online and track the process from the moment the order is received until it’s on their doorstep. The prep, the baking, the packaging, everything.
The tracker is something that keeps customers in the loop and satisfied that their order is being fulfilled. This is exactly what customers expect, and more importantly, deserve; whether it’s a product or service they’re receiving.
Law firms can learn a great deal from Dominos and Amazon’s service model.
Solicitors are learning from the past, which doesn’t embrace modern thinking
Consider the fact that new and upcoming solicitors are being trained by experienced solicitors. Then consider that those training were trained by someone who was more experience than them.
Solicitors today are learning from the past. The traditional way of teaching does not embrace a modern approach. But that’s what Managing Partners, Heads of Department and solicitors are used to. These professionals possess a great amount of knowledge and are vastly experienced in their respective area of law, but customer service is not something they generally prioritise.
Embracing technology for your clients is the key to success
There is a general lack of awareness and understanding of what technology can do for firms among solicitors. Although it can seem like an intimidating process to integrate a new piece of technology into a firm, it’s much simpler than you think.
That’s why I built The Link App, a legal case management platform that gives law firms the tools to transform their client experience. Our platform solves the number one complaint of poor customer service and communication by providing case transparency and communications through any device. This brings many benefits, not just to the client, but your law firm.
You can expect less phone calls and emails, and less time spent on case administration. All communications are in one single, secure location.
Smart technology will align your service and give you the support needed to manage your caseload and keep clients happy.
In a previous blog, we looked at 4 ways an app can improve your client relations. By adopting modern communication tools, you can provide a boost to the performance and efficiency of your firm, but more importantly, the satisfaction of your clients.
Why you must fix customer service
A law firm fixes their customer service through technology, what’s the result?
Increased profitability. By fixing your customer service and transforming your client experience, there’s less chargeable time being wasted in dealing with client complaints. This results in less bad debt and wasted time.
Improved client experience also means an increase in client retention. This means there’s less resource spent winning new clients because existing clients staying loyal to you, but also because they’re referring you new business.
In a survey we conducted, 73% of respondents said that they found their legal representation through recommendations from friends and family. This is why client retention is key.
Solicitors can focus more of their time progressing cases and providing a valuable service to their clients.
More efficiency. Through an app, like The Link App, you can expect less phone calls and emails from clients, thanks to the case tracking and messaging functionality.
Your client will be able to track their case at anytime and anywhere. They will even receive notifications to their phone from you when there’s an update on the case.
A happier team. Responding to complaints and chasing clients constantly can take its toll.
With an improved client experience comes less dissatisfied clients to manage. Solicitors can build positive client relationships, which in turn increases their job satisfaction; creating a pleasant working environment.
Customer service is the key to growth
Being a great lawyer isn’t enough anymore. If you don’t have any clients, you can’t function, let alone grow.
Put the client at the heart of your business
The client has to be at the forefront of everything you do.
Investing in technology to support them more effectively will make you stand out. It demonstrates that meeting client needs is at the heart of your business and that you care.
Embrace The Link App and transform your firm’s customer service.
Written by: Lauren Riley, Founder & CEO
Originally published 15 / Nov / 2019