For some industries change is easier than others. But when change is forced upon a traditional institution, those that don’t embrace it risk losing ground rapidly.
As Napoleon said, “One must change one’s tactics every 10 years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority”.
This is probably truer today than it ever has been, except the timeframe is now measured in months rather than years. It’s certainly the case for the British legal sector, which has undergone huge transformation over the last decade. First was the demise of Legal Aid, then the introduction of Alternative Business Structures (ABS) brought about a number of mergers, the disappearance of significant legal entities, and the introduction of new types of legal service delivery.
Likewise, the introduction of new technologies, big data, and the rise of social media have combined to blur the lines when it comes to customer expectations and purchasing decisions – a firm’s knowledge and prowess are no longer enough in an age where clients have access to an almost unlimited supply of legal know-how online.
Tackling complex legal challenges means being customer-curious. Successful firms are now combining old and new ways of thinking. Technology is used to repackage the service offering and deliver it in a way that taps directly into their clients’ desired outcomes.
The increasing importance of customer service
A recent report by Peppermint Technology highlighted the increasing importance of customer service as a factor when businesses select their law firm. Clients expect to deal with legal service providers in the same way as they do other industries, and their expectations are constantly on the rise.
Yet many law firms are not maintaining regular relationships with clients – ignoring sales and marketing in favour of billable activities. Similarly, law firms invest less in technology than many other sectors.
Few take a data-driven approach to cross-selling and many are still resistant when it comes to harnessing the potential of social media to develop services built on a deep understanding of client needs.
Customer service is increasingly influencing buying patterns and savvy clients are doing more and more research online, prior to engaging with a prospective firm.
The result is that clients are quicker to jump ship if their incumbent law firm fails to meet expectations.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that law firms find ways to differentiate their service as well as their legal service delivery.
Harnessing technology affords modern lawyers new opportunities
“Delivering a stellar service and the greatest quality of advice possible to our clients’ means having a comprehensive handle on what is happening within their businesses, their supply chain and the wider market in which they operate. Artesian delivers the powerful insights we need, reducing research time and impacting greatly on client engagement”
Some law firms are embracing new digital strategies. These firms are shaping the future practice of law and legal service delivery, and are stealing a march on the competition – both traditional peers and new entrants unencumbered by legacy – on many fronts:
- Identifying and attracting new business opportunities – building prospective client lists and furnishing them with up-to-date information and insight, in order to open doors, elevate conversations and tailor service offerings
- Deepening relationships and retaining clients – harnessing intelligence, news and social media to always keep abreast of what’s going on in the client’s world for a better informed approach and engagement in proactive new ways
- Managing Risk – delivery of local and national news to capture risk stories, potential liabilities, ethical issues, precedents, claim exposures, legislative and regulatory issues
- Improving collaboration – no longer working in silo’s, but using data and insight to encourage greater cross-discipline collaboration to identify gaps and fulfil opportunities in client legal service requirements
- The most efficient use of research time – allowing technology to do the heavy lifting in the background, proactively delivering insight that is both relevant and timely.
- Building eminence – collecting and curating news, legal reviews and precedent-setting case information in order to share insight and thought-provoking content across social media, to raise profile and build eminence.
Interested in seeing how Artesian uses artificial intelligence and machine based learning to the above? Click to read our overview for law firms looking to become customer-curious.