In a recent post (Change is happening in the legal sector, law firms need to pay heed and deliver a better client experience if they are to prosper) I referenced a report from CXINLAW. This a follow up guest post from Carl White one of their partners..
Wednesday is my girlfriend’s favourite day of the working week. The reason? The free Stylist Magazine. Now of course, I don’t read this magazine (or watch Sex and the City), but I happened to glance at the front page which read ‘You are feeling thirsty? The caffeine addicts guide to the Britain’s best coffee shops’.
I am a self-confessed coffee addict, partial to boutique Aussie coffee shops and only one high street store, Pret. The coffee at Pret is good; what is outstanding is the customer experience. My best example of this is an early morning queue and a chap in front of me who asked for a tea. The upbeat guy from Pret smiled, threw out his arms to form a letter ‘t’ and said, “here you go sir, here’s your tea”. I know, it doesn’t sound funny, it’s ‘dad humour, but it cheered everyone up.
They guy from Pret knew his job was about more than serving the product, he knew it was about delivering an experience. Pret do this again and again and while the coffee is good, the service has turned me into an advocate. A consistently positive customer experience ensures I spend, return and recommend Pret and, in the process, ignore the three other popular coffee shops at the intersection near my office.
Whilst my background is retail, the focus of our business, CXINLAW, is perfecting the customer experience law firms and providers deliver to clients. Our innovative 2012 secret shopping report in the legal sector explores the impact customer experience can have on client retention, satisfaction and revenue. You could ask, ‘does the Pret effect work for law firms?’
Taking the Law Society’s most asked legal enquiries, a systematic sample of 100 law firms and legal service providers, and our CXINLAW secret shoppers, we applied our research methodology to evaluating the front-end ‘customer experience’ of law clients. We spoke to receptionists, legal assistants, fee earners, voicemails, IVR’s and on one occasion a lady who lives down the street from the law firm called as the number given on their website was hers not theirs.
The critical question posed to legal providers in our comprehensive report is:
‘If I were a prospective client of my own firm would I engage and recommend the service I received?’
Based on our research using a secret shopping approach formatted for the sector, only 8% of callers would confidently instruct and recommend the firms they spoke with. Whilst, 30% would most definitely not instruct and would actively tell others not to. This left a startling 65% of shoppers undecided and waiting to be persuaded after their enquiries were made to firms.
Now, let’s go back to my coffee shop example. There are four coffee shops to choose from near my office – Pret, Nero, Starbucks and Costa. Comparatively, there are probably 20 or 30 law firms within a few hundred yards of my office and approximately 10,000 law firms and providers in the UK. Is the product the same? Arguably, yes. Are the fee earners capable? On the whole, yes. Can the customer or client really measure the quality of legal advice? Not really. How do they compare on price? Not much in it.
So what matters most? Our research shows it is the degree to which a firm delivers a customer experience above the norm.
What’s clear is that the findings are a caffeine shot in the arm for a significant proportion of the legal sector. As one person from one law firm said:
“Really? 6 out of 10 calls to my firm result in the person being as likely to spend their money elsewhere?”.
Is it time that you gave your law firm a caffeine shot in the arm?
Carl White is a Partner at CXINLAW, an innovative partnership between Potentio and Netlaw Media – responding to changes in the legal sector by providing expert advice, secret shopping insight, consultancy and tools to perfect customer experience in law firms, chambers and corporates. You can connect with them on Twitter here.
Thanks to Greencolander for the image.