What do clients want?
It’s easy to assume that clients hire law firms for their expertise, but a research study by Salesforce in 2018 shows that reputation is not enough. According to this study, when clients pay for a service they aren’t just buying the end result. What they are really looking for is a good client experience. It doesn’t matter how large or small the client’s company is, or how much business they generate for you. They want to feel that their unique needs are recognised and addressed by a firm that understands implicitly what is at stake and can act upon that to create the best outcome.
These needs are often at odds with another requirement that seems to contradict the desire for personalised service: value for money. The question remains: what do clients consider “value for money,” and how can law firms sell their specialised expertise in a way that serves clients best while delivering the value they expect?
How do clients measure value for money?
It goes without saying that legal clients want a positive outcome. They also want fast service from a firm that makes them feel that their business is important. When a firm meets these objectives, is this enough to satisfy the client lust for “value for money?”
If the bottom line is not improved, then the answer is no.
The legal marketplace is more competitive now than ever before. Professional services such as accounting firms, alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) and even clients’ in-house legal teams are now competing with law firms and driving down the cost of legal services. At the same time, the cost of hiring a law firm continues to rise. According to law.com the price of hiring a law firm increased by 130% between 1996 and 2018, well above inflation.
It’s clear that it is time to innovate or be left behind. Take, for example, the repetitive, low-value tasks that clients don’t expect to pay for. They are often vital to client work and business administration but do valuable (and expensive) staff members need to do these tasks? Automation can do this work quickly and efficiently, allowing staff the time to give clients that individualised attention they expect, while lowering the cost of providing these services.
Clients want outstanding service
Quick service delivered at a lower cost is not worth much if it does not provide what clients need. This is where law firms have an advantage over other services providing legal services. The right technology, combined with the subject matter expertise of a skilled lawyer can provide the best possible scenario for clients because the more your technology does for you, the more time you have to add value to your services. In short, automation can give you more time to think about and approach issues that are important to your clients..
Lawyers can also gain from automation and the extra time it provides.. New recruits do not undertake years of study to spend their working days doing menial administrative tasks. Therefore, the increased opportunity to engage in meaningful, client-facing work results in better employee satisfaction. This opportunity to focus on high-value work increases employee retention, giving your firm a greater overall level of skill, experience, and institutional knowledge, which benefits both the firm and its clients. It’s genuinely a win-win situation.
The point, of course, isn’t to use technology for everything, nor is it to replace lawyers with technology. It’s to find the best ways that people and technology can share the workload to provide the best outcome for lawyers, staff and clients, alike.