When it comes to your clients, the difference between delivering great service and delivering a great experience is more than just a word.
It could hold the key to being their lawyer for life.
Customer Experience (CX) is about adding value to what you deliver to your clients. For instance, you don’t just prepare a document for them. You listen to them, understand their needs, educate them, lay out options, charge them a fair fee, and maintain transparency at all stages of the process.
Oh, and you also prepare the document.
“Customer Experience is differentiating between service (which is what we give) and experience (which is what clients get),” says Brandi Hobbs, Director of Client Service & Strategy for Poyner Spruill LLP.
One sign of stellar CX: when the case is over the client doesn’t just say thanks, they say Wow!
“Everything a company does contributes to how customers perceive it, and therefore to the overall customer experience,” writes Blake Morgan for Forbes. “The messaging you use, the products you sell, the sales process, and what happens after the sale, plus other internal factors like the interworking of the company, its leadership, and the engineering of the product or service.”
10 Tips for Improving CX
At this year’s NC Managing Partner Summit in March, a panel of experts shared their top CX tips. Here are nine takeaways from their session:
1. The proof is in the numbers. In the professional services sector, investment in CX is growing 300 percent each year. A firm engaged in CX is seven times less likely to lose a key client. Law firms that have at least one person invested in CX are 8 percent more profitable than peers. (Brandi Hobbs)
2. CX is about feelings. CX is everything you do in your firm that affects how the client feels. You’re dealing with emotions here. It covers anything from having consistent font sizes all the way up. It’s also how easy you make the process for the client. Is it easy to read the invoice? Is invoicing convenient? The details matter. (Chandra Storrusten, Chief Value Creation Officer - Visible Value, Cary)
3. CX is not aspirational. You can’t just say, Oh we’re going to be a client-centric firm. You’ve got to put a stake in the ground. Your clients come to you to provide sound, stable legal solutions. This is expected. It’s not an extra. It’s the basic expectation. Like in a hotel – having a clean comfortable bed is the “table stakes.” Everything else – how easy it is check-in and check out, the condition of the elevators – that’s the customer
experience. (Tim Asimos, Vice President and Director of Digital Innovation – Circle S Studios, Richmond)
4. Everybody in the firm contributes. Everyone is carrying the firm on their back wherever they go in the community. I didn’t wave a flag around the office saying, hey all you one hundred attorneys need to get in line and start changing everything you do. We started small. We looked at things that obviously needed to be done, or things the lawyers were already interested in. Then over time, we built them out. (Brandi Hobbs)
5. Build a firm culture. Your culture is a promise you’ve made to your employees. What are your core values? Sometimes we ask employees that question and they have no idea. If you get them excited about your mission and vision, if you get them to buy in, they will be your most enthusiastic advocates. (Chandra Storrusten)
6. Listen to your clients. If a client usually gives you a 9 or 10, and now it’s a 4, pay attention. This creates opportunity for a discussion. What can we do better? (Tim Asimos)
7. Treat clients as sales multipliers. As Warren Buffett says, “A business with satisfied customers has a powerful sales force. You might not see them but they’re out there working for you every day.” (Brandi Hobbs)
8. A marathon, not a sprint. Generally, it takes about a year after committing to CX before you see any significant impact on the bottom line. Two to three years before it’s really visible. But you can see quick wins right away. Celebrate those wins. (Chandra Storrusten)
9. Leaders must buy-in. If they’re not on board, nothing will happen. Once everyone has bought in, then you need a roadmap – starting small – for getting to where you want to go. (Tim Asimos)
Want to learn more about CX – and other ways leading NC firms are staying ahead of the curve? Order a copy of the 2019 NC Managing Partner Summit Report. Contact Camille Stell at Lawyers Mutual Consulting & Services to order or learn more.