They say that the customer is always right – though anyone who has dealt with customers knows how much truth there is in that! But have you considered flipping the question: is your business always right in the way it treats its customers?

In this blog, I look at some of the ways you can assess the client experience that your business provides – a crucial first step to seeing what needs to be improved.

How important this is, nearly goes without saying; businesses cannot thrive without creating positive customer experiences, and law firms are no exception. Naturally, clients who have a good experience using your services are more likely to recommend you to others – but it also goes beyond that if you are personally invested in your business. A fantastic client experience can be something you strive for, and a form of validation for your business. It can be recognition that you are providing a valuable commodity, and doing so in a way which is appreciated and effective.

But many things can change a client’s perception of the service they receive from you. Even if you have provided outstanding client care in the past, is this still the case?

Has the pandemic affected your client experience?

With Covid-19’s massive upheaval to everyday life, it seems inevitable that the customer experience of many firms would be affected. In areas of law where work-levels have exploded – such as conveyancing, family, and employment law – increased demand can strain the resources of your business. Client care is often one of the first casualties of high workloads.

On the other hand, in areas where the pandemic has lessened demand (commercial and corporate law, for example), customer experience attains an even greater significance as client retention becomes vital. However, having more time to devote to fewer clients does not necessarily mean they will have a more positive customer experience. Those resources have to be properly applied. The exercises below can help as these you identify where your efforts are best spent.

Then there is the additional pressure of factors outside of your control. The increased burden on the courts, for example, and the extra demands placed on organisations such as mortgage lenders and the Land Registry. Your clients’ experience can suffer if you cannot successfully manage their expectations in this new reality.

One last point regarding the pandemic (because it’s never a pleasant subject to dwell on!): have you considered how the different ways of working that your business has implemented has affected the customer experience?

  • How much is lost when face-to-face contact is replaced by phone or zoom consultations?
  • What about your legal team working from home? Do clients believe that they will be doing less work because they are not in the office?

Assessing these aspects of your service can help you recognise negative points in your client experience.

Incidentally, how are you coping with the strain of workloads which are too high or too low? If you feel like you need to do something about it, have a look at my workshop on using mindfulness techniques to help you manage stress for you and your team.

What’s the customer experience currently like for your clients?

Assessing the client experience of your business is not an easy task. Almost certainly you will want to obtain feedback from your clients themselves, and ideally not just when their matter has been concluded. Gauging their satisfaction during the course of your service may provide valuable insight.

However, before asking your clients, you should assess the customer experience yourself. That’s why I’ve added two new exercises to my free Documenting your Brilliance® toolkit, to help you get started. These focus on:

  1. Seeing yourself from the client’s perspective
  2. Assessing where the value in your service comes from

This type of analysis can be instigated at any time and should be reviewed on a regular basis to learn what is working for you and what is not.

The client’s perspective

The first exercise gets back to the fundamentals of the transaction – why is your client using the service? It encourages you to ‘step into their shoes’ and see yourself in the way you think clients perceive you.

The value in your service

The second exercise then builds on the first by asking you to assess where the value for the client comes from in your service.

It’s entirely possible to believe that clients have a different perception of value in your services than you do. Interestingly, a survey in The Bellwether report 2019 ‘The Changing Face of Law’, found that 95% of the responding lawyers felt expertise was an important factor when judging the value of legal services. However, only 67% of the lawyers believed this was an important factor of value when considering it from the client’s perspective.

Taking your assessment further

If you would like further support in assessing your client experience, I offer a wide range of services which can help you: from one-off discussion and analysis sessions to in-depth coaching and mentoring programmes, all tailored to the needs of you and your business.

“I found it really invaluable to take time out to work on my business and not in my business. I found Ann very knowledgeable not only about the legal sector but also my particular sector. I came away with renewed focus on my next steps to grow my business. I strongly recommend this to other business owners or potential ones.” Jane Wintringham Managing Director Adel Wills

If you would like to discuss any of these options, or book a session or workshop, please get in touch with me.

Ann Page, Business Author, Trainer and Coach to the Legal Profession.

Ann Page, a Top 100 lawyer of the year (2003) has had a successful in-house 28-year career, working mainly in the financial sector. She switched from being a business lawyer in industry to a non-practising solicitor who teaches and coaches on business subjects in 2003.  Since then, Ann has trained nearly 7000 lawyers on business skills including leadership, management and interpersonal skills.  If you want to see Ann in action, click here.

Ann has always been active in various professional committees and currently she is Treasurer of the Yorkshire Sole Practitioner’s Group, a member of the Professional Speaking Association, Professional Speaking Academy and Leeds Law Society.



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