The most valuable asset of any law firm is its client base. It needs to be protected. But it also needs developing, building and refining. We can do this by selling additional services to our current clients and also by managing our marketing efforts, to make sure we get a return from them.
For many law firms, it can feel as though more and more time and money is being spent on both direct and indirect marketing. But ensuring these activities generate enquiries that are handled in the right way is a challenge.
Ever since the Legal Services Bill (2007) and Act (2010), lawyers are on a much more even footing with their increasingly confident and discerning clients and prospects. Both the communication and service experience that a client or prospect receives is the difference between success and failure of a legal business – whether we like it or not.
If you invest in your marketing, you will see the return.
Believe it or not, a 100 person law firm spending reasonable money on their website, online and offline collateral, as well as networking and events, can generate over 500 enquiries a month. If they convert just 25% these enquiries (at a modest £500 per file), it’s worth £750k per annum to the firm. Make this a 50% conversion and we are talking about £1.5million. Scale it for your own firm and the numbers are stunning.
Or, to look at it another way, if you’re losing or not winning 500 matters from existing clients, you get the same numbers but in reverse – hardly an ideal situation.
Firms that are very good at the communications and service experience piece are the one’s who’ll win new business – and be taking away your existing clients if you’re not providing the experience they expect.
Most legal purchases and enquiries are stressful for the client. How you communicate with them is critical. Typically, clients want reassurance and to be put at ease. If a customer has a bad experience he tells as many as 26 people, who then pass it on further. Potentially, 500+ people get to hear how bad you are! On the other hand, good experiences aren’t spread as far and wide. Maybe one person gets to hear. But we all need to develop references and build our referral network.
The MCM Mystery Shopper Report, ‘Customer Experience – Law Firms’, and Ian Cooper’s ‘Survey Report For Lawyers on Converting Telephone Enquiries Into Profitable Business’ confirm how poor law firms are at handling inbound enquiries:
97% failing to put their clients at ease
It takes too long for calls to be initially taken
There are poor call transfers
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that people just give up.
To test out this situation, Concert previously carried out a mystery shopper exercise, conducting 150 new business calls. Focusing on professional services firms in the North West, it uncovered a startling statistic:
Only 17% reached a person that could help – beginning and end of day were worse
The question you have to ask is ‘Where are the other 83% going with their business?”
Other equalling concerning home truths uncovered were:
20% of the calls resulted in disconnects
36% resulted in non availability
29% were answered with an office closed message.
Average hold time 42 seconds – people start to become frustrated after 20.
How does your firm stack up against these results? What can you do about it? If you want to find out more information please contact us.