The soft skills to build client service excellence and staff loyalty

Transforming your law firm’s culture to strengthen Client Experience Excellence (CXE) capabilities is more than about creating a ‘warm and fuzzy’ vibe.

Ann-Maree David, CEO and Program Director of Queensland’s College of Law notes, “The traditional tools of our trade – our oratory and writing skills – are introduced in law school, but we’re not taught to listen. Lawyers have to become more focused on the clients and their needs. They’ve got to listen to the client.”

A culture of innovation is borne by listening to clients and looking at the wider world beyond law so that we create changes in service delivery beyond what is anticipated. Everyone in the firm has a role to play here.

Low prospect conversion

With only 1 in 10 prospect calls converting to new business in the 2018 CXINLAW and ALPMA mystery shopping research, CXE represents a clear and untapped differentiator in today’s competitive landscape. The results also send an alarming message about the squandering of marketing dollars and effort.

Low staff retention

At the same time, The Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) reported that the number one HR challenge for law firms is staff retention. Further, a recent Deloitte study found that if given the choice, one in four Millennials would quit his or her current employer in the next year to join a new organisation or to do something different. Scarily, that figure increased to 44 per cent when the time frame was expanded to two years.

The Deloitte study also found millennials feel most influential and, in turn, accountable in the workplace. This is important to acknowledge as it offers a platform from which to build each employee’s sense of purpose and, ultimately, a more engaged workforce. Interestingly, Millennials believe they have the greatest level of accountability for (and influence on) client satisfaction.

A combined solution

Solutions to address a firm’s underwhelming client service levels and/or low staff engagement are not mutually exclusive.

In today’s ever-changing world, the ability to adapt and innovate to meet a changing market will be a marker of success. However, none of this will be possible without your entire team building strong relationships.

Being a highly skilled professional is a given. Clients are making buying decisions based on ease, emotion and effectiveness – i.e. delivering real value in a time of heightened anxiety levels. Therefore, everyone in the firm needs to respond in unison to reinforce your firm’s service promise.

A well-executed CX training program addresses both the need to grow new business opportunities as well as provide a stimulating and great firm to work in. The CXE business case is positive!

The need for external help

Improving CX often requires an outside opinion. Engaging external experts (such as CXINLAW) to develop your junior lawyers and support staff into CXE champions will help create a client-centred culture, delivering improved commercial results in a timely manner.

Under expert guidance, internal champions of change will design the firm’s enhanced CX protocols collaboratively, break down silos and bring your service promise to life.

Using this methodology, some of the CXE changes made at law firms have included:

  • Giving a full introduction (name and title) when taking a new client call
  • Greater confidence to position and discuss costs and value
  • Developing a more cohesive, logical new client process crafted in line with the firm’s service aspiration.
  • Making CXE part of their new staff induction

Firms investing in these ‘soft’ skills are finding:

  • A more energised team and firm culture
  • Improvement in staff retention rates
  • More confident and cohesive teams delivering more quality clients
  • Candidates for future leadership roles

Ultimately, firms should expect an increase in both new prospect and staff engagement through an objective approach to Client Experience Excellence at every touch-point, making it impossible for the right client not to engage them, pay for the value they deliver, and talk positively about the firm with others.

To find out more about how to develop CXE capabilities at your firm, contact Carl White (carl.white@cxinlaw.com or 0423 254 484).

About Carl White

Passionate about the impact of Client Experience Excellence in professional services, Carl White founded CXINLAW in the UK and Australasia. He co-authored the highly-regarded ‘Customer Experience in Law’ report in 2012 and led the market-leading Australian research in 2015 and 2017 that examines the Client Experience Advantage for law firms, in association with ALPMA.

April 15th, 2018|Guest Posts|0 Comments

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