In today’s highly competitive legal services environment, trust in the firm is a key creator of competitive differentiation and advantage. So how can technology help?
Trust is critical to law firms. There’s the obvious fact that without it, no one will willingly give you their business. In addition, a lack of trust means transactions take longer; investment is harder to find; clients won’t endorse you; and innovation and change are less readily accepted. It’s also the case, of course, that landing new clients is much more expensive than client retention. It all means that trust is not a “nice to have”, but a matter of competitive advantage. So how can firms nurture trust? This short article dissects trust into its component parts and suggests how technology can contribute to building each one.
Credibility and intimacy
Credibility is the bedrock of trust in legal relationships, so firms need to continually demonstrate their legal knowledge and skill. With existing clients this is done through their experience of the firm. But with prospective clients, firms must develop and store collateral that evidences their legal competence. Technology will support the identification of clients likely to provide the strongest references, testimonials and case studies (via the automated collection of feedback) and will help organise the collateral so it’s readily to hand.
Intimacy is also critical because clients must entrust their most sensitive personal or commercial information to law firms. Intimacy is built in two ways: via transparency and via establishing integrity. Technology can help you be transparent in relation to the process, progress and cost of legal transactions. Meanwhile, integrity can be established by investing in systems that provide iron-clad and full-lifecycle data protection.
Reliability and respect
A third key component of trust is reliability. This boils down to doing what you’ve said you’ll do, how and when you’ve said you’ll do it. Again, the right systems support this by, for example, planning and distributing workloads efficiently, coordinating resources, embedding workflows, automating processes and scheduling activities.
The final key component of building trust is respect: a quality that’s at the heart of all successful relationships. Clients must feel respected by the firm and its lawyers. This sense is built up when lawyers demonstrate that they’ve listened attentively to clients and remembered what they’ve been told. Once again, technology, in the form of a CRM system, will play an invaluable role in collecting and storing client information and preferences, and surfacing these at the point when they can have the most impact on deepening client trust.
Join in the discussion; Advanced are running a free webinar continuing on the conversation around why trust matters and why firms should understand what contributes to trust and the levers that increase it. Date: 25th February, 2021. Time: 11am. Register here: https://bit.ly/36nl4c1