Failure to focus on customer service could spell trouble for law firms

In her latest article, Sue Bramall outlines the key findings from the report and explains how mystery shopping and client newsletters can improve law firms' customer service.

A recent study by Peppermint Technology has found that the gap between successful and failing law firms is growing, and has the potential to widen due to the current pressure on firms to reduce price and increase value. In the report, 'How law firms measure up against other sectors', Peppermint found that client service was a key factor that contributed to the success of a law firm. With increasing competition from successful law firms and other sectors, a failure to focus on service levels could spell the end for struggling firms.

The report looks at findings from their own surveys, as well as from the UK Satisfaction Institute, which rates customer satisfaction across 13 sectors of the economy. The Institute reported that satisfaction and customer support scores were lower in legal services than any other sector. Many law firms fail to collect feedback, follow-up enquiries or keep in contact with former clients, so are falling behind other sectors.

Peppermint Technology found that there are many firms that still do not have an effective mechanism in place for maintaining relationships with clients, meaning that further opportunities to sell are being missed. Peppermint found that a third of law firms have no process in place for maintaining contact with clients once their initial legal matter has been completed.

Peppermint also found evidence that many law firms do not have an effective process in place for responding to potential clients. From mystery shopping exercises that were carried out, Peppermint found that 34 per cent of telephone enquirers who left a message with law firms did not receive a call back within 24 hours, and almost a quarter of enquirers calling a law firm would not contact the firm again. This was a similar case for walk-in enquirers. The exercises found that only 65 per cent of solicitors take the contact details of potential clients, and on only 15.6 per cent of those occasions did the law firm follow up the enquiry.

For leading law firms, a focus on customer service appears to be a key factor to their success. Firms that have set up systems to track the customer journey and identify when they interact with the firm, which increases the potential for relationship building, have seen levels of client loyalty increase. Other successful firms recommend using newsletters or email updates to keep their clients in the loop with, not only the firm’s activities but the progress of their own case.

Click here to read the full report.

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