The client or customer experience has always been at the heart of good business and marketing. But in the last few years, as we accelerated into an all-digital world, it has become absolutely essential to make a client’s experience of your service exceptional, both online and in-person, in order to attract and retain work.
A recent Salesforce study reported that 79% of clients agree that the experience a company provides is as important as its services.
Now is the time to review how your own organisation is doing.
But first, what do I mean by client experience? The client experience is how a business engages with its clients along every single stage of the interaction, also called the client journey. That client journey is not one single step, the instruction for example, but every single touch point.
These touch points, including a firm’s articles and inhouse or online events, gives you the opportunity to build trust – and trust brings work and maintains customer loyalty.
What you can do now?
- Clients are there, online, all the time. They are continually interacting with your organisation and your competitors. You need to ensure that you know what the client needs and provide it. Do you? Or are you making assumptions as to what they need?
A client feedback programme can help. Client listening is not something that only large organisations should have in place. Every organisation should be doing this. If your resources are small, spend some time putting together the questions and then start small and gradually grow the pool of clients you are getting in touch with. Outside help is worth considering as clients are more likely to be honest with people they are not dealing with day-to-day, plus it releases your staff to carry on with their day jobs.
2. Establish accountability in the organisation for the client experience. Set up a group made up of personnel from different parts of the organisation which meets regularly to review and discuss client experience so as to maintain good practice and develop new ideas.
3. Use excellent client experience as a differentiator to your competitors. Cost is always a factor in obtaining instructions, but the businesses that get ahead are investing in client experience. Do you know what your clients value? Or are you making assumptions as to this?
It comes back to that client listening or feedback programme. All legal businesses will say they regularly meet and talk to clients and this is indeed very important. However, it really is worth considering supplementing this with a formal client listening programme which will give you more objective information more regularly which you can then implement procedures so you act upon what you are hearing (just as important, if not more so, than the listening).
4. Make the client experience a fundamental part of your business strategy. It is not enough to do a quick review, implement a few changes and sit back. How you deal with the customer experience should be at the heart of everything you do, all the time. Just because things have been done a particular way for years or centuries does not mean this is how you should continue to do them. You could pull ahead of the crowd or stay ahead by doing things differently.
Sally Woolaston is the founder of Dynamic Legal Consulting. She was previously Business Development and Marketing Director at Gatehouse Chambers.