How to Improve Law Firm Client Relationships with Digital Technologies and Data

calendar iconApril 5, 2023

A Five-Part Series

The last 24-months of dramatic change driven by the global COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on key business outcomes and accelerated digital transformation in law firms. Each of these outcomes, coupled with how people and processes can be empowered digitally through the application of technologies, will be explored in this five-part series for firms. The series aims to provide insights into the five critical business outcomes:

  • Understanding Your Customer
  • Optimizing Your Business
  • Innovating for Growth
  • Enabling Your Workforce
  • Protecting Your Digital Assets

Part 1: Understanding Your Customer

Understanding your customer is fundamental to driving positive customer experiences and outcomes. Through digital transformation initiatives, law firms have an opportunity to enhance a customer’s “moment of truth” each time a client interacts with the firm, whether via an employee or business process.

While there are many approaches to customer satisfaction, ensuring you have the right people and processes in place and the appropriate digital tools established is fundamental to a firm’s success. Research suggests that customers who are delighted with a company’s product and/or services are much more likely to buy more and refer others. Applying this to the legal industry, it is important for law firms to look holistically at every customer touchpoint.

Data as a Critical Capability

A critical capability for law firms to ensure customer understanding is collecting data that describes the customer experience with the firm. A model particularly useful to this practice is the Kano Customer Satisfaction Model. The model, developed by Professor Noriaki Kano, is rooted in the connectivity between product strategy and customer satisfaction. Rather than only focusing on customer needs, the model focuses on the concepts of satisfaction (i.e.: dissatisfiers, satisfiers and delights) and functionality of differentiating product features, prioritizing what is important to a customer and eliminating what is irrelevant. A customer of a law firm may identify components such as errors within a contractual document as a key “dissatisfier” of services, whereas delivering an accurate contractual agreement on time or early, may be identified as a “satisfier.” Those components that are not expected, such as delivering additional documentation to help a customer more easily decipher legal jargon, could be perceived as a “delighter.” Applying measures like the Kano model will help firms collect and analyze data on critical customer touchpoints.

Other metrics may include:

  • Did we deliver on task?
  • Were we easy to do business with?
  • Was your billing accurate?
  • What was the matter of services you were seeking and the outcome?
  • Did we meet your outcome objectives?

Another area of data exploration to drive customer satisfaction is gathering relevant information about a customer to anticipate their needs and interests. For example, the Ritz Carlton, a hotel company operating five-star resorts worldwide, has long since demonstrated an organizational culture based on outstanding customer service. Staff members are responsible for collecting hotel guest feedback and preference data points which are then fed into the hotel’s reservation system, thus building individual client profiles to better serve its guests and promote brand loyalty.

Earning Customer Loyalty

We’ve established that understanding your customer is good business, but understanding the customer is only the tipping point. Establishing loyalty with a customer is the end goal as a loyal customer is a more profitable customer and more likely to promote referrals. So how does a firm establish loyalty? Loyal customers are those who have consistently had their needs met. To deliver on needs, a firm must understand the customer. To better understand the customer, a firm needs to gather customer info to improve processes and outcomes. By effectively using firm data and building upon customer profiles, firms can anticipate customer needs and deliver an exceptional experience to further the relationship.

Digital Transformation and Client Loyalty

Establishing loyal clients can be achieved through a firm’s digital transformation initiatives. A digital transformation assessment will help your organization create a roadmap, further identifying capabilities needed to improve loyalty. In an assessment, tools, technologies and processes are identified to enhance customer understanding and experience. Sample technologies to help law firms may include a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform, such as Microsoft Dynamics, to help firms manage their customer database, generate new leads, engage with their customers and resolve customer service issues. Other resources such as workflow technologies like Nintex, Microsoft Power Automate or Alteryx can be used to gather experiences and manage critical customer-facing processes and outcomes. Other important resources may include a firm’s website as a key point of customer entry and a gathering place for customer survey tools. Data visualization software, such as Microsoft Power BI and Tableau, can create critical customer dashboards to interpret data in real time, driving proactive decision making at the time of site rather than reactive.

Putting appropriate measures in place as a proxy for the customer experience is essential. Digital technologies and data strategies are crucial tools for law firms in helping them visualize the customer experience and know where they need to drive improvements.

About Cherry Bekaert Digital Advisory

Cherry Bekaert’s Digital Advisory team is comprised of strategists who have broad industry experience and keen business acumen. Utilizing an agile and flexible approach, we help examine what you want to achieve with a focus on people, process, technology and culture. We are here to help organizations manage risks, enable growth and support sustainable operations. Leveraging our strategic process, we help digitally enabled organizations – especially middle-market companies – do more with less. Cherry Bekaert stays on top of the latest technology trends, but we know that technology is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Cherry Bekaert is here to guide you on what technology makes sense to adopt as it pertains to delivering the highest value to your organization.

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