Levels of client expectations are ever increasing and especially so when professional trusted advisers are engaged to solve problems for their clients.
So, what experience do your clients have whilst you are acting on their behalf?
To use the analogy of flying, does your client feel as though the experience has been in steerage at the back of the airplane with his knees in his chest, or does he feel he has been travelling in first class and looked after for the whole of the journey?
A Clients Opinion
“I have never worked with a firm where everyone seemed to get on so well with each other and where the objective seemed to be to make my life easier.”
This is a statement made by a client law firm to the solicitor dealing with his work. And unsurprisingly that firm, each month increased the number of new matters, chargeable time and bills delivered (compared to the same month in the previous year).
Why Is This Firm Prosperous?
How did they do this?
How is it they remain prosperous even when their competitors are laying off staff?
Well, the answer is they decided to “get to grips” with improving the experience each client had when dealing with the firm.
And, the power behind making that decision is what propelled them forward to create an even more successful law firm.
They decided to put in place improved standards of service, communication and delivery to clients. They wanted the standards to be consistent across each and every department. They did this by benchmarking in a short and reader friendly format what each Partner thought were the key standards that would improve the client’s experience.
They created standards which could be measured objectively by reviewing files. The firm approached the improvement from the perspective of measuring the client’s experience. They did at the same time measure risk and regulatory compliance.
When they had reviewed the files, the information was analysed and presented in a format that showed exactly where the problems lay and allowed appropriate action to be taken. There was then consultation with all members of staff to identify the ways in which the unacceptable standards identified could be improved. Very few people get out of bed in the morning with the intention of going to work and doing a bad days’ work.
Unfortunately, many firms have unwittingly created an environment where it is very difficult for staff to do a good day’s work!
Testing the Clients Perception
In tandem with the reviewing of files, there were discussions with randomly selected clients on the telephone. The clients did not appreciate that a questionnaire has been created as a template for use by Partners making the calls. The client believed (correctly) that the firm is genuinely interested in his views so that the next time he instructs the firm in a matter he will have an even better experience. This is an additional bonding opportunity with the client to ensure he remains a client of the firm. The views obtained were fed back into the process so that the key performance standards could be amended, and further discussions could take place internally to ensure the standards are those that make the difference and the bar is set at the right level.
Scaring Your Competitors
It is of course a continuous process of improvement. This firm scared its competitors. It will continue to do so.
The Key… Take Action
Do you have an effective system in place for ensuring your clients are positive about the benefits of being a client?
Unless you are satisfied that all your clients travel firm class, take action today to put in place the changes that will enable you to delight clients. A business that does not provide consistent first class service is unlikely to survive – however good the technical standards of the lawyers.
An expert in the business benefits and profits derived from effective file reviews. Gail has managed over 400 law firm improvements based on the results of over 45,000 file reviews. Previously the managing director of an outsourced file review company and has trained lawyers how to review files effectively turning an overhead into a profit. Gail's focus is on creating successful businesses. She works with law firms advising on how to obtain the most benefit from file reviews.