Customer experience will largely define the success of legal providers in the post Legal Services Act world, according to a survey of delegates at last week’s Legal Futures Conference.
Some 92% of those surveyed by Peppermint Technology said a deep understanding of the client profile was the single most important influencing factor to ensuring a good customer experience.
“While this may not come as a surprise, the research indicated that putting this into practice will set a significant challenge for some law firms,” Peppermint said. “Respondents felt potential new entrants to the market would have a big advantage over firms because they already have sophisticated databases that would allow them to achieve this requirement with ease. This would enable new entrants to ‘add value at a price that customers are prepared to pay’, according to one respondent.”
Delegates also felt that access to justice was not just about legal aid but also about making legal service providers more approachable and available at a time, place and cost acceptable to the client’s terms.
The survey said: “While the survey was not large enough to be conclusive it did suggest clients will take more control. The business model looks set to transform from one where a firm will pushing services to clients pulling services on their terms. One delegate summarised the point well in stating ‘understanding what the client wants rather than the lawyer telling the client what he or she wants, I think that’s quite key’.”
Some 83% of those surveyed indicated the need for services to be available beyond traditional office hours, and having an online presence was a theme that would become a business priority. “I don’t think enough law firms are approachable enough and this is where the likes of the Co-op and others will win because they are great at customer service,” said one delegate.
Nearly three in five interviewees agreed that clients “want to get on and do things for themselves”, while law firms need to get a much better grasp on providing a consistent service.
The survey said: “Not surprisingly good communication between the solicitor and client also came across as an important factor in achieving a level of service that sets one firm apart from rivals. Going a step further 16% of respondents indicated loyalty schemes would be an important tool to thank clients for their business, reward them for recommendations and to keep a firm’s name in front of them.”