Posted by Helen Hamilton-Shaw, director of services at Legal Futures Associate LawNet
I’d hazard a guess that most of you look in the mirror every morning – whether you’re having a shave or putting on your make-up. The majority of people wouldn’t dream of walking out of the house without checking they present the right image, but do you pay the same level of attention to the first impression your firm gives?
Take an objective look at how others see you. Are your windows clean, is the reception area clear and the magazines fresh? Does your waiting area present the right image? Or does it look like it hasn’t been touched since the 1950s? And what happens next? Are visitors taken through messy offices piled high with papers to end up in a cold unlit, windowless room?
That might sound extreme, but when was the last time you really looked at the client’s journey through your offices as they begin their relationship with your firm?
For walk-in mystery shopping, these are the kind of things they’ll be looking for and this is the sort of detail that retailers have been doing for years, and hence will be transferring across to the legal sector as they grow the new legal services brands of the future.
So put yourself in your client’s shoes, from start to end of the whole process. How easy is it to find you, to make contact with someone, or to book a meeting or park and locate your offices, and get through the door? And don’t just stop there – what is the path that clients will take from reception to meeting room like? Is it stuffy and outdated or warm and inviting?
Does the receptionist make eye contact immediately with visitors? If someone arrives early for a 9am meeting, is the place in darkness with the door locked and everyone in the kitchen?
Importantly, have your staff been trained in making people welcome and when was the last time you delivered this sort of training for staff?
Looking at things from client’s point of view may be difficult or downright uncomfortable but it is essential if you’re going to present an up-to-date image that matches their expectations.