Client experience (CX) is defined as any moment where your existing or potential clients form an impression of your firm. Google calls them intent-rich ‘micro-moments’ in which a client decides to act on a need to know, go, do or buy. But when you have tens or hundreds of employees, tens or hundreds of clients and thousands of matters, how do you capture, analyse and understand each client micro-moment in your business?

Why CX is your secret weapon

In a post-COVID legal services world, CX is more important than ever as firms look to retain their existing clients and create new business opportunities. Consequently, it has never been more important for your firm to keep a strong handle on the client micro-moments in your business. According to research by PwC, speed, convenience, helpful employees and friendly service matter most. Firms that deliver great CX can charge a 16 percent premium on fees. Conversely, poor CX is bad for retention and 32 percent of clients will walk away following a bad experience.

Lawyers drive clients away

Research by Clio suggests lawyers create a poor first impression that drives away new clients.  The survey asked why prospective clients didn’t hire a firm:

  • 64 percent reported the law firm never responded to their inquiry;
  • 65 percent weren’t told what to do next to resolve their matter;
  • 64 percent didn’t get an indication of what their matter would cost; and
  • 52 percent said the lawyer they spoke with was unfriendly.

This research is supported by our own, that showed that Australian firms unwittingly leave significant revenue on the table by failing the ‘first impressions test’. Even small adjustments to service basics such as phone answering technique, call return times and increased displays of empathy converted inquirers to paying clients at a much higher rate than was otherwise possible.

Making the invisible, visible

One of the big CX challenges for firms is accurately tracking, analysing and reporting on human behaviour. Achieving the right balance of effort to reward is compounded by the difficulty of getting staff to comply with good record-keeping practices (aka data entry) in practice management systems, CRMs, and other information repositories.

Very few firms get this right and inadvertently fail to notice:

  • an important change in their clients’ circumstances (the departure of a key contact);
  • long gaps between key client contact (leaving them susceptible to competitors); and
  • key client relationships are held by too few. 

The larger the firm, the greater the chance that important things will be missed if these networks are not managed in a planned and systematic way.

Outsmart & outplay your competitors

But there is now a solution. Law firms can unlock the potential gold in their existing client relationships through a unique combination of human and machine powered CX. The human powered component comes in the form of CX experts who work with firms to identify their greatest client relationship challenges, risks and opportunities.

Specialist software is then used to analyse the firm’s communication data (ie email and other messaging platforms) to identify trends, patterns, risks and opportunities based on the type, frequency and source of email traffic for example between the firm and its key clients. Firms, in partnership with CX experts, then use the data to make client plans.

The communication data is presented by the software to reveal the true story behind a firm’s client relationships in a way that is far more reliable and effective than anecdotal evidence, ‘gut feel’ and ad hoc client contact.

The payoff

The payoff for using smart data-led strategies to build your CX program is both financial and non-financial:

  • responsive and emotionally intelligent approach to client service encourages clients to do more business with your firm and sets a high performance and productivity standard for your team;
  • Data highlights opportunities across the firm, especially where relationships are tightly held by one partner or practice area;
  • Reduced client churn means both retained fees and potentially more advocates recommending your firm;
  • Converting more inquiries to fee-paying clients by creating a great first impression; and
  • Building a reputation as a responsive and client-focused firm.

Law firms that use this powerful combination of human powered and software based CX solutions will convert more prospects to paying clients, establish a powerful differentiator in their market and provide their clients with a superior service experience that creates promoters of their firm. These firms will recover from the current crisis faster than their counterparts and establish themselves as leaders in the profession.

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About the author:

Julian Lambert is Client Experience (CX) and Legal Technology Expert and experienced senior executive. Julian is the Relationship Manager and Consultant at CXINLAW, responsible for helping law and firms of all sizes to create remarkable service experiences for their clients that turns them into active promoters of their firm.