It is all about the Client experience

Predictions for 2011 have been doing the rounds.

They all have a strong, or in some case overwhelming, IT feel: the cloud; social media; IT outsourcing; LPM/LPO; and the use of Apps.

There have also been quite a few discussions about efficiency and the death of the hourly rate.

But where I wonder is the Client ‘experience’ in all of this? In other words are these developments the sine qua non of the Client experience or is it greater efficiency or I suspect greater Partner profit?

Surely there is an argument for saying that the lens is at least partly wrong or skewed too much in favour of the firm?

Should more of us, including me, try to get under the skin of the clients’ problems, how to best resolve them and focus all our efforts on making sure we provide a value led service? After all the provision of legal services is a service, whereas it is beginning to feel more and more like a factory. I know the profession label has become very flaky but not to that extent – surely?

Please don’t misunderstand me.

The cost thing – I GET.

The engagement via websites – I GET.

Social media – I GET.

Leverage – I GET.

Profit – I GET.

Performance of partners – I GET.

Development of your talent – I GET.

But what I am struggling with is that in all of this discussion we are not involving the client nearly as much as we should do.

{NB. For those bloggers out there in the legal sector, how many of your clients have left comments on your blog?}

Think about the idea of curation – perhaps curation of a client care policy – using Google docs where you allowed a select group of your clients to have their say. What about a quality assurance programme? Or some sort of Service Level Agreement? Authors have been known to allow this to happen, so why not law firms?

As we move into a new decade a collaborative form of service delivery is going to become much more important. Lawyers will need to focus on how they can leverage their intellectual capital and it is important for clients to understand why all these changes are happening.

Take social media, how on earth can a firm think that by sending out the same news on its website, which presumably has been sent by email, that that is remotely client-centric, when their clients are unlikely to be on Twitter? Surely they would be better spending more face time with their clients and if there was then a need to promulgate information via Twitter it could be curated and syndicated in such a way that it was valuable and made a difference.

What do you think law firms should be doing to enhance the Client experience?

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