Evolving client experience in the legal sector

Despite being steeped in history, the UK’s legal sector has not escaped the infiltration of digital, technical, and cultural transformation. But while innovation could lead to success, effecting change can be challenging.

Traditional sectors sometimes struggle to navigate the choppy waters of modernisation. The firms that are thriving in today’s climate are those who embrace digital and innovation. But it’s not just the technological landscape that’s changing: the client experience is now in sharp focus.

A time of transition

In a climate of great uncertainty, clients of today expect legal teams to provide a service that’s flexible, agile and efficient. They demand value, speed, innovation and security – but with equal emphasis, they want better relationships.

The legal sector has seen a lot of disrupters in recent years: from evolving client needs and the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI), to greater competition from new businesses and questions around cyber security, the industry is in a state of flux.

Legal firms cannot hope to survive without an agile mindset. In a transient marketplace, the ability to adapt to changing client needs is essential. New business models are as important now as reputation was in the good old days of legal tradition.

The advantage of legal procurement

Procurement teams are on the rise, as firms recognise that efficiency, process and value are essential to attract (and retain) clients in a time of heightened competition. In addition, investing in procurement enables firms to better support international clients in the face of increasing globalisation.

Crucially, taking away the procurement burden frees lawyers to focus on a ‘new’ differentiator. As reported by Lexis Nexis, the “client experience is emerging as the new frontier on which law firms are competing”.

With differentiation traditionally centred on practice areas or industry sectors, clients now view these as entry criteria. As selection processes become more sophisticated, firms must tackle new concerns.

The future of client experience

Client experience is becoming a key area for competition amongst law firms. This focus on client journeys is fairly new to many firms, with a certain level of disconnect pervading the sector – but there are a number of essential steps you can take to ensure the experience you provide to your clients doesn’t miss the mark (and cost you valuable business).

Study client journeys and pain points:

Success lies in truly understanding what it means to be a client – how they measure success and what stands in the way. Common concerns centre on value for money and strength of relationships, and the most effective way to counter these concerns is to get firmly under the skin of their organisation. Your clients want you to understand their values, pressures and constraints – and by getting to know their institutional personas at a granular level, you’ll be better placed to find solutions to any pain points you identify.

Make problem resolution pain-free:

This is an essential area for investment if you’re serious about competing with firms who boast the best client experience. You need clear processes with clearly defined accountability if something goes wrong. Appointing a relationship partner can provide reassurance for your clients.

Invest in client-facing technologies:

From portals that provide greater visibility for your client, to technologies set up for internal use (such as workflows and alerts), client-facing technology increases transparency. This in turn, improves trust – essential for better relationships and the heightened client experience you want to achieve.

Create a workforce that’s client-orientated:

Some firms have already introduced engagement metrics into staff KPIs – incentivising to provide a better client experience. You should also make client experience a focal point when it comes to recruiting fresh talent – seeking those who already display a client-centric mindset.

How we can help

New business models are required to compete against the pressures of client demands, market uncertainty and overall efficiency. We provide services to 60% of the UK’s law firms, including 75% of the Top 200 – offering a single trusted source for our clients’ business supplier requirements.

Along with cost benefits, consolidation also brings increased efficiency. Against a backdrop of technological and workplace changes, smarter working and improved productivity is in demand.

To discuss your unique legal business needs, contact us today.

References

OfficeTeam Whitepaper: The Legal Sector in the Digital Age
https://www.lexisnexis.co.uk/research-and-reports/large-law/client-experience-report.html

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