In the past twelve months, the legal industry has accelerated towards evolving client service models intended to meet the expectations of customers in what is an ever-digital marketplace - not only when it comes to providing digital pathways for clients to engage, but utilising digital innovation to enhance matter progression to the client’s benefit.
New entrants to the legal market, including the Big Four and other accountancy firms in the UK, have been quick to implement digital solutions to enhance their productivity, support better employee engagement, and drive more efficient customer service. They are reaping the advantages of increased customer satisfaction and continuing business. It’s a model that can be duplicated by all firms.
Obtaining a new customer can cost upwards of five times more than retaining a current client. While attracting new business is a vital part of business growth, providing a client experience that can deliver cross-selling opportunities and referral opportunities is key to sustainable, long-term growth.
The hybrid marketplace
Hybrid working isn’t just for legal professionals - many clients and individuals working for client firms are also working remotely at least some of the time. This has led to people having a more fluid approach to their working day. While organisational psychologists may warn against the risk of burnout caused by blurred lines between work and home life, there is no doubt that many people will work beyond contracted hours because it fits better into their daily schedule.
Flexible working puts pressure on law firms to provide an around-the-clock service, and that requires easily accessible digital communication channels. This new ‘virtual’ service includes online video meetings, access to online matter updates, and clients reviewing and signing documents digitally, rather than in-person. Implementing digital tools provides better client service and greater flexibility in your business models.
By integrating virtual and in-person interactions you’ll make the delivery of your services timely, and seamless.
Transparency and collaboration
Fair pricing is also crucial to building and maintaining strong client relationships, perhaps now more than ever, as clients are scrutinising outgoings and watching every penny. Digital time recording software can ensure that every billable minute is recorded, maximising revenue. Fewer disputed invoices also mean less administration time is wasted in sorting issues out, leaving your teams with time to progress fee earning tasks or develop new client relationships.
Digital time recording tools demonstrate full transparency to clients, helping them to trust the billing and invoicing from a firm and reducing the frustration of both parties when figures have to be checked after bills have been delivered.
There is also a more collaborative approach between clients and lawyers now, as firms are investing in both the process and technology aspects of client interactions. Providing better delivery, and greater flexibility in business models, can help law firms manage their own pressures better.
This includes the ability to use automated responses for messages sent outside of normal working hours and providing online forms that clients can complete and sign themselves, without having to visit a law firm’s offices. Overall, clients expect that all matters will be managed in the most efficient way and firms can use digital tools to ensure service meets, and exceeds, these expectations.