Customer experience is now the new frontier for law firms. Excellent experiences result in stronger connections, increased customer acquisition and retention. Improving the end-to-end customer experience is now a priority for law firms that aim to win market share and stay competitive.
Paul Smith, Non-Executive Director at Calls9 and former Global Chairman of Eversheds Sutherland, stresses that "A large proportion of the legal market is unwilling to change and insist on maintaining their old business ways - physical customer interaction, in offices designed to impress. In sharp contrast, their digital customer journey is often weak and confusing. Their websites have nothing in common with their clean, imposing offices and personal service that sweep clients off their feet and inspire respect and trust. If law firms do not create game-changing digital customer experiences, they will not stay relevant and risk losing their high-value clients. Clients are increasingly used to buying services online and have greater expectations about what good client service looks and feels like. They expect their firms to understand and anticipate their needs and to deliver a service that is unique to them."
How you can provide excellent customer experiences cost-effectively and with minimal disruption to your current business:
Start small. Create a killer website
Your website is a mirror to your firm. It reflects not only your services but also your brand essence. It can make or break your brand. Expert design experience can create digital journeys that increase engagement and drive conversions through your website. Partnering with a user-experience expert, you will be able to offer your services, content, and custom functionality in a way that your clients will understand, relate to and enjoy.
Involve the people that manage your website in the design process to provide the back-end functionality they need to work more efficiently. From content management to making design changes, it is essential to understand what is important to them.
Provide data-driven personalised experiences
Truly treating your clients as unique individuals, as opposed to just paying lip service to this concept, will differentiate your law firm and increase customer loyalty that drives cross-selling and recurring revenue. To do this, you will need a digital platform that captures real-time customer data to enable effective personalisation. Knowing not only your clients' name but also their needs, desires and problems, you can predict their intent in the early stages. You will understand what they need and how best to solve their issues. You will be able to provide them with personalised digital journeys through your website, mobile app or digital platform, showing relevant content and services at the right time.
"In my company, I look for a law firm that knows the intricacies of my business and can customise their services accordingly. Given the fluid regulatory landscape we are in, we are also keen on those who are able to proactively provide us with the correct information so that we can plan/ change our plans as necessary." Legal Counsel from Manila,
Calls9 White Paper "Beyond Black Swan: Positioning the law firm for the next normal."
Provide your services like an e-commerce business
Since the global pandemic, the majority of law firms have had to act like e-commerce businesses. They have been meeting people, taking instructions, delivering work, and receiving payments virtually. Now, they need to continue to provide seamless e-commerce experiences at a standard. To stay competitive, they also need to offer the quality of customer service that their clients have come to expect from e-commerce retailers such as Apple, Amazon and Uber.
Law firms that invest in digital platforms that bring suppliers and buyers together are the ones that will be able to retain their existing clients, as well as expand in new domestic and global markets. You can provide a virtual marketplace where your clients can access, interact and purchase your services on demand. Your clients can work with your team in real-time and get support quickly, reducing costs, enhancing productivity, increasing customer satisfaction, and enabling your firm to grow profitably. Knowing what kind of service your clients need and proactively offering it is fundamental. One of the legal counsels we surveyed for our white paper suggested:
"Law firms need to improve in knowing their clients and clients' needs. This would allow proactive legal responses (and sometimes anticipation) that would be very beneficial for both the counsel and the company. The outbreak of the COVID-19 in December in China should have led law firms to press the button and offer tailored services as soon as January. Rather, the industry players were the ones directed the firms as to how to respond to the clients' need" (Senior Legal Counsel, Abu Dhabi)
Enable self-service through next-gen Customer Portals
Nowadays, "self-service" is a necessity and customer portals are the perfect way to enable clients to engage, transact and collaborate with your firm. A managing partner from Hong Kong told us that:
"Law firms need to offer more technology-based solutions (self-service/on-demand tools) for clients. Simple contract templates (e.g. non-disclosure agreements) and other online tools such as online training; law firm notes on recent cases; doc builder; due diligence software) should be made available for free to clients on retainer."
Using a customer portal, your clients will access, use, or purchase your digital products and services. They will be able to track key metrics, respond to requests, consume content and collaborate directly with your team. At the same time, your team will gather valuable insights and track client interactions. This will highlight patterns to identify potential needs and increase cross-selling opportunities.
Where to start
Invest a few minutes of your time speaking with Calls9. Because, as Calls9 founder and CEO Adam Roney says, "Change not managed properly, can at times be worse than doing nothing at all. For the last 10+ years, law firms and legal networks around the world have trusted Calls9 to improve their client experience and empower their teams to do their best work. We have built new and rejuvenated existing brands, designed impactful, functional websites and mobile apps. We have also helped our customers launch new digital products and services and create innovative digital platforms and customer portals in record time."