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The loyalty of high-value clients to their law firm is largely dependent on the expertise of their lawyer or legal team. As a result, law firms need to be aware of the risks of losing their talented and experienced lawyers, and thus the firm’s high-value clients, particularly in the midst of today’s highly competitive market for experienced lawyers. To do so, there are three primary client engagement areas on which you should focus.
1. Establish a team approach to high-value client relationships for deeper law firm loyalty
First, you need to introduce your firm’s clients to the “rest” of the team that supports them, instead of only having one lawyer manage the client relationship. A natural consequence of clients having a single point of contact at your firm is that they come to trust that particular lawyer and may not even know who else in your firm is working on their matters. Many firms, however, have allied professionals (operations, finance, project management, etc.) with a wealth of knowledge, training, and industry experience, in addition to law, who can and do offer valuable insight and advice.
For example, law firms should have team members with MBA, CPA, or other relevant training and experience actively participate in meetings and communications with the client regarding their broader business needs. By introducing other team members to clients and building those additional relationships, your clients will be able to see that the value of your firm far exceeds the knowledge and experience of a single lawyer.
Law firms should explain and highlight to clients the systems and technologies they have in place, such as document automation and client portals, to ensure the client received timely, high-quality services, and legal outcomes regardless of personnel changes.
2. Personalised engagement drives law firm loyalty among high-value clients
In addition to showing clients your firm’s broad knowledge and experience base, ask your clients exactly how they would like to engage with your firm. In today’s fast-paced, digital environment, some clients may want the ability to access data or documents on-demand or updates on cases in real-time. Other clients may want to access a secure client portal where they can communicate and share confidential information with their legal team.
This is where legal technology platforms are essential for increasing client loyalty to your firm. For example, HighQ by Thomson Reuters, lets you deliver customised portals and online services to your clients, so they can communicate and collaborate on matters with peace of mind that their information is confidential and secure.
3. High-value clients are loyal to law firms that deliver exceptional service
To maintain client loyalty, you should also focus on the overall cost and efficiency in your delivery of legal services. Today, clients can easily compare legal services. With a particular focus on cost and efficiency, clients are more likely to shop around.
For example, if law firm A can provide the same legal service or work product as law firm B, but faster and at a lower cost, clients will generally choose law firm A. While some clients may not mind paying a premium for a big name law firm to handle their legal matters (just like some people don’t mind paying a premium for certain cars or other products), clients nevertheless want the most value for their money, regardless of the name of the law firm or particular lawyer.
How can you differentiate your firm and set it apart from competitors, regardless of any firm attrition? The answer lies in leveraging technology, such as document automation and contract review and analysis, to help move lawyers up the value chain and focus on client matters where their individual knowledge and expertise can benefit the client. Spending less time on simple or repetitive tasks that can be automated increases your efficiency and accuracy while lowering costs.
For cases with higher impact or complexity, lawyers and staff can focus on providing thorough and timely services to their clients, all with a necessary human touch — further strengthening your clients’ loyalty.
Explore more about improving law firm loyalty among your most valuable clients
Client engagement should always be timely, professional, and transparent. By focusing on, and excelling in, the areas discussed above, your law firm will distinguish itself from competitors, while your high-value clients will view you as a strategic business partner and be loyal to your law firm.
Learn more about improving client loyalty through client service delivery and knowledge management in episode 7 of The Knowledge Series Podcast, by Thomson Reuters and guests.