Business leaders in every industry are talking about the customer experience these days. Optimizing the customer experience has become one of the most important steps toward building a company that can sustain the inevitable ups and downs of today’s fast-moving, competitive business world. Yet in the legal industry, it feels like not much has changed. It’s just business as usual, and very few law firms have given much thought to redesigning the client experience at all. In this post, we’ll review 5 simple steps you can take to create a better client experience at your law firm and set yourself apart from the crowd.
1. Map Out the Ideal Client Journey
One easy yet effective way to improve the client experience at your firm is to sit down and spend some time actually mapping out an ideal client journey.
Put yourself in the shoes of your client. How would you want the experience to go if you were facing a similar situation?
During this process, you should especially pay attention to any past instances where clients may have had a negative experience and try to identify what led to them. Often, implementing simple changes can help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Just the mere act of focusing your attention on the client experience in this way will help shed light on areas where you can improve. It will also create more awareness amongst people at your firm about the way they interact with clients.
Think about what an ideal experience should actually look like, and then draw it out on a flow chart to define your vision.
2. Send Email Communications at Every Key Milestone
In any service business, good communication between the customer and service provider is absolutely essential.
Without constant communication, the client may feel like they are in the dark and have no idea what’s going on or what the latest status of their matter is.
This can lead to feelings of frustration or confusion, even though the process might be moving along nicely behind the scenes.
One easy way to improve communication with clients is to send out emails at each key step in the process. This will help reassure your clients that the work is being done and you are on right schedule, even when things may take longer than they anticipated.
It’s a small step to take, but one that can dramatically improve the client experience. You can even save time and send these emails out automatically by using email automation software.
3. Develop Systematic Workflows to Improve Efficiency
Efficiency is of the utmost important to keep your client satisfaction rating high.
People tend to want to handle their legal issues swiftly and then forget about them. Not to mention that inefficient operations will tend to drive up the cost of services, which certainly won’t lead to a good client experience.
In order to deliver a quality work product, do it efficiently, and at a reasonable price, you need to have a systematic approach to running your business.
Implementing systems means creating repeatable processes for how your firm operates. There should be clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and everything should be done according to the process.
It also means having documented policies and procedures in place so that everyone at your firm knows how the processes work and what their individual responsibilities are within the system.
Learn more in our guide on implementing systematic workflows at your law firm.
4. Use Technology to Create a Seamless Experience
Technology has taken ahold of our society mainly because it makes our lives easier.
Imagine navigating a foreign city without Google maps. Imagine trying to see the wedding photos of an old friend who lives across the country without Facebook.
These things would be incredibly difficult without technology, yet today we can do them in seconds with just a few taps on a screen.
Technology allows businesses to do things they never could otherwise. It provides tools to make the client experience streamlined and effortless, which is why utilizing technology should be a core part of your strategy.
Think about all the painful parts of the process for your clients. Then find ways to streamline them or eliminate them altogether by using technology.
For example, allow your clients to pay their bills online with LawPay. Use online intake forms that clients can fill out from a smartphone instead of paper ones. Offer e-signatures for fee agreements so that clients don’t have to print and scan.
These types of software tools are available at an affordable price point. They can make a world of difference when it comes to streamlining the client experience, so there is really no reason not to use them.
5. Have a Process for Collecting and Incorporating Feedback
Finally, perhaps the most essential step you can take to create a better client experience at your law firm is simply to get feedback. It might seem obvious, yet many law firms don’t do it.
You should consider implementing a standardized process for gathering feedback from each client. Then find ways to incorporate this feedback to make improvements to your process over time.
For instance, you could use an online questionnaire to survey clients about their experience. For satisfied clients, you could also ask them to consider leaving an online review on Avvo, Google, or Yelp.
Doing this will certainly help you come up with some ideas about how to make the client experience better. It will also show your clients that you truly care about them and about providing good service.
This incremental, feedback-driven approach will go a long way toward the continual development of your overall reputation and law firm brand.
See our related post about how to get more 5-star reviews online for more.