Today’s consumers are not only becoming empowered by technology – they also have more options than ever before. As a result, brands must adapt to this new business paradigm, and fast.
Consumers’ expectations are seemingly skyrocketing, with a recent report suggesting that 66% of customers say it takes more for a company to impress them with new products and services than ever before. And, like any other major business strategy, a Customer Experience initiative needs strong leadership to be brought to fruition.
That’s why so many businesses have turned their focus to Customer Experience rather than Customer Service. Law firm leaders should be poised to lead the charge in 2021 and orchestrate a game plan that addresses this important aspect of, not modern law firms, but modern business.
First, here are a few stats to get you thinking…
86% of buyers will pay more for a better brand experience, but only 1% feel that companies consistently meet expectations.
96% of customers say customer experience is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
Are you aware of these stats? Do you care? If so, are you acting on or ignoring them?
Creating a Toy Story?
As someone who managed a global marketing portfolio for one of the biggest experiential brands in the world for 10 years, I feel that I have enough clout to give some advice on this topic.
Growing a toy retail brand from one store in the West End of London to more than 180 globally, didn’t happen because there was a lack of companies selling our product. Far from it. The evolution that business went through happened right in the middle of Amazon’s meteoric rise to global retail domination. Unable to compete, you have no choice but to focus on your USP (we all have at least one!). In our case it was all about creating an environment exploding with tangible fun, magic and theatre – creating a feast for the senses, something the likes of Amazon could never compete with. Equally, we would place the bulk of our attention on the one area that would get people talking – the customer journey.
We decided to go beyond trying to compete, fix the problem, slash prices or hand out discounts. We wanted to create memories. After all, we had bricks and mortar; Amazon didn’t!
From the moment you step over the threshold, be that physically or virtually, into any business, speak to a member of the team or engage with the brand online, you must remember one thing – every little thing you do is going to affect people’s perception of you.
For me it was about being “The Finest Toy Shop in the World”. Whenever you thought about our brand, it gave you a good feeling. That’s marketing in a nutshell, by the way. It’s the art of getting people to change their minds – or to maintain their mindset if they are already inclined to do business with you. Every little thing you do and show and say – not only your advertising on your website – is going to affect people’s perception of your brand.
Reading this, you might be thinking that offering an experience like that is (buzz) lightyears away from the reality of working in the legal industry. But why?
In a legal market inundated with choices, it’s now not enough for businesses to rely on unique selling points or brand strength. Almost more than a service, you must sell an experience. And that experience begins with your relationship to the client.
Is a legal firm different from a toy retailer?
You sell a product and service; your objective is to be the best in your field of expertise; you want to build a loyal customer base; you are competing against some big players who are spending more money and telling more people about their product. Sounds pretty similar to me.
What’s the expectation in 2021? Amazon recently stated that their record click to delivery to the door for food in London is six minutes. My next Google search consisted of “Amazon + Time Travel”! An incredible stat.
Now, the customer most likely to be receiving that order is a millennial whose expectation becomes just that. When next month it’s 30 minutes, if it ever will be, they are going to be happy, but not over the moon.
What everyone in the legal profession needs to recognise is that their competition extends further than the new firm who have set up shop at the opposite end of the high street. Amazon, Deliveroo, ASOS, and Hamleys are now their competition. So, when someone calls to speak to a fee earner, how long do you think is it acceptable to them to wait for a response. In their head, “Food… six minutes, returned call…?” You need to act now, to compete.
Figures released in 2020 show that:
- Fewer than 10% of customers who call a law firm will actually get to speak to a lawyer.
- More than 40% of people who leave a voicemail or fill out a web form wait two or three days before they hear back.
In short: most law firms don’t have the best reputation when it comes to customer experience. This is a big problem as well as an opportunity.
So, where should law firm leaders be looking for inspiration? Colleagues, other law firms, senior figures who have lived the profession for 40-odd years? Surely, they must know how clients want to be communicated to: they’ve been there, done it, worn the three-piece suit?
I would argue you have to look outside your own arena to make a significant change.
Lawyers do good!
Say it with me! Your job is a force for good and you can make someone’s life better. That’s just a fact. Your aim is to give sound advice, and in most cases law firms will deliver on that expectation. However, your client has no real method of assessing the quality of the service they receive. What they will assess is the experience they had.
You work late nights for your clients, take their calls on the weekend, lose your hair over their divorces and labour disputes and contract negotiations. You fight hard, obtain the best possible outcomes, and even (gulp) reduce their bills occasionally. Even after all that, how many of your clients often limp away thinking that using your firm was actually quite difficult, even jarring – unreturned calls, uncertainty about progress, the “surprise fee”, etc. Why should the level of customer experience for purchasing rattan garden furniture on Amazon or a toy from Hamleys be a better experience than when you are going through a divorce – potentially one of the most stressful periods of your life?
Whether the customer experience was positive or negative, how would you know? Do you ask?
Take steps towards client retention
Delivering excellent customer experience takes the right organisational culture and trained, knowledgeable staff. But add the right client experience technology platform and you can exceed customers’ expectations.
The team at Denovo are experts in supporting law firms to improve their client experience and are always available to help you cultivate the customer journey at your firm. All you need to do is ask.
So, if you think you can become “The Finest Law Firm on the High Street” or “The Finest Sole Practitioner in Scotland”, reach for infinity and beyond and give us a call, because at Denovo you’ve got a friend in us.
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