It’s review and prediction season in the law firm world, as various commentators and consultants issue their annual thunderclaps. I’ve long admired this work, both for the labor involved and the ability to help set the discussion agenda. Our community does not need another meditation on the future, but I thought it might be helpful to define a set of benchmarks against which law firms can gauge themselves. Amid the various warnings and prophecies, I offer ten statistics (marked in bold) to which you need to pay close attention. Those who master their relevance to the operations of their firms will have a pretty fair picture of what just happened and, perhaps, what’s likely to be ahead.
Why Law Firms Need Client Journey Mapping
I was recently reading a book on the history of physics when the author made a statement that I thought applied perfectly to law firms today: It seems that the greatest scientific advancements come not when our experiments prove our theories even more accurate, but when we find ourselves facing a situation where the experiment no longer coincides with the theory.
Recommending that law firms seek client feedback has become so commonplace and widespread in the industry that the advice is almost clichéd. That being said, it continues to surprise me that many law firms do not take advantage of the opportunity to seek routine, reliable input from the consumers of their services. In my experience as a law firm leader and consultant, asking clients to provide candid comments about the services that a law firm provides can be essential to developing successful strategies as well as deepening relationships. In almost every other service industry where expensive, expert services are provided, there is a premium placed on the consumer’s views about the state of the relationship and the value received for the money spent.
At the annual Legal Marketing Association conference in Austin, a vendor conducted a survey that asked attendees what their “highest-priority growth initiatives” were for this year. The leading answer was “improve cross-selling.” I don’t doubt the accuracy of the survey results; they are the conventional wisdom in the flesh. But there is a serious problem with that strategy: For too many firms, cross-selling puts the focus on what the client can do for the firm (Buy more services!) rather than on what the firm can do for the client (Solve more problems!). Simply put, clients don’t want to be cross-sold.