According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority there are 9,465 solicitors offices in the UK, of which 71% are incorporated companies or LLPs. The UK legal market is one of the largest in the world, with the majority of prominent global law firms maintaining London offices, alongside prestigious Magic Circle firms.
While there are definitely benefits to being part of an ecosystem of world-class firms – from market stability to regulatory relationships to innovation – it’s undeniable that competition is stiff. Since the rapid digital transformations of the pandemic years, law firms must contend with changing client expectations, the demand for higher productivity and growing competition. In a competitive marketplace, client loyalty isn’t a given – so how can companies make sure clients keep coming back, or better still, that they refer your services to their contacts?
Defining outstanding client experiences
Law firms have a commercial imperative to deliver the best client experience possible. Of course, nobody sets out to provide bad customer experiences – so what are the key factors that define excellent service? How do you make sure you’re keeping clients happy and giving them what they’re looking for?
Here’s a few ways you can be sure you’re delivering the best possible service for your clients.
First impressions matter
Great customer service is all about attention. When new clients walk through the door of your offices, they’re often greeted by a receptionist, and subtly reassured by the professionalism of their surroundings. But how can you replicate that experience in a post-pandemic world, when many first impressions will be via telephone or email? Every point of contact could be your client’s first impression of your practice. You wouldn’t dream of leaving a client waiting in your reception area – nor should they be left on hold for long periods, or being passed around between departments, or having their calls ring out. Attention to every client – whether they contact your business in person, via phone, or by another channel – should be prompt, professional and consistent.
People don’t usually turn to law firms unless they have a problem – something that could be affecting their relationship, their livelihood, their business operations, or even their freedom. Whether your client is a legal department or an individual, it’s important that they receive regular updates, and that any potential issues are flagged in advance. Good business communication is both proactive and reactive, of course – as well as providing updates, you need to be ready to receive and return client calls and emails when they ask for an update. That means ensuring you have enough resource to take calls and return messages. Some legal firms even use outsourced switchboard services to make sure there’s always someone there to pick up the phone, even during busy periods or out of hours.
People value the personal touch
There is a time and a place for self-service portals. Few clients prefer to wait on the phone to find information they could access much more quickly online, or to provide a piece of documentation they could easily upload via your website. In other words, self-service is great for efficiency. But many of your potential clients will be seeking assistance for complex, urgent, or personal matters. Your team must be ready to demonstrate understanding, empathy and professionalism when assisting with difficult cases, and that means ensuring clients can always get through to a real human – someone who can instil a sense of confidence and reassure them of your ongoing support. Leaving them chasing an elusive team member when they need an urgent update is unlikely to leave a favourable impression.
Success can – and should – be measured
When a customer calls you, their experience on the phone can be measured in terms of “call quality”. High-quality calls are polite, professional, prompt, personable, and problem-solving (although every business might have its own KPIs). The quality of calls matters. Historical research suggests that 50% of clients consider “poor communication” a key source of dissatisfaction in their working relationship. Research from the 2019 Legal Trends report bears this out, finding that responsiveness has a “strong impact” on a client’s decision to hire a firm, and that while 79% of clients expect a response within 24 hours, most law firms fall “far below” these expectations. Responsiveness has an impact on a firm’s Net Promoter Score, too. In today’s competitive commercial environment, poor communication standards can easily mean losing a referral, or even a client’s business, to a more attentive competitor.
Your firm can benefit from monitoring the quality of your calls and implementing Service Level Agreements to ensure that customers who try to reach you on the phone always have the best possible experience – getting through to you quickly and receiving a high standard of service when they do.
Setting yourself up for success
Using an outsourced switchboard service to unify communications across your business can benefit you in a number of different ways. From ensuring there’s always a human available when they pick up the phone – even out of hours – to helping you communicate case progress to managing high call-loads professionally and empathetically, the right switchboard solution provides the attention to detail that defines truly outstanding service. In a competitive market – where a missed call could mean another client for your competitor – a central switchboard team that understands your business could be the difference between unsatisfactory and outstanding in your client’s eyes.
How ComXo can help
ComXo are industry-leaders in transformational switchboard and business support services, committed to redefining the switchboard for law firms. With a combination of technology and great people, we aim to help you deliver exceptional experiences during every call and communication you receive. Our 24-hour switchboard service offers industry-leading service-level agreements – 95% of our inbound call traffic is answered within 3 rings. We act as an extension of your team to provide knowledegable, empathetic and professional service from a real human. Ideal for making a perfect first impression.