As my colleague Susanna wrote in last week’s post, client engagement has been a buzzword for a couple years now. In my opinion, the fundamentals of excellent client engagement haven’t changed and they hold up across every industry. What I believe is redefining client engagement now, is the complexity of the tools needed to deliver an experience that really deserves client loyalty.
This post will explore three key ways to build the loyalty that is critical to long-term client relationships. In order to develop effective client engagement you need to:
1. Win efficiently
2. Offer value your clients won’t get elsewhere
3. Show clients you are thinking one step ahead
In order to explore these best practices in client engagement, let’s compare practicing law to oh… being James Bond.
Just like a lawyer, 007 is given an assignment, some background and instructions to find the bad guy, apprehend him or her, and save the world. And just like a good lawyer, Bond uses his expertise to efficiently and effectively find the super villain whom he delivers trussed up to MI6 and at the end of almost every film, Bond gets a call that he needs to come back into service to help avert another epic international disaster. He’s the best in the business and his handlers forgive his antics because he delivers results with flare. He wins the day, he offers value, and is given more exciting work to do.
This is what clients want from you: The best results, delivered efficiently and a compelling reason to remain loyal and advocate to give your firm more work.
Now let’s examine the tools needed to deliver these amazing feats. In the first James Bond film, released in 1962, Bond is sent to capture the evil Dr. No armed with three “gadgets” – a Geiger counter, a tricked out watch and a handgun. If we fast forward to 2012, Bond (now played by Daniel Craig) is equipped with the same gun, a new tricked out watch and a mobile phone with face recognition software. In fifty years, his only fundamental tool change was to replace a Geiger counter with a mobile phone and swap a Rolex for an Omega.
But let’s be fair in the comparison. 007 does not have to figure out how to get contracts signed and witnessed by six counterparties in three continents simultaneously. He does not have to interpret hundreds of pages of new regulation to help advise his clients if they are subject to the new financial industry rules. And James Bond does not, in any of his films, have to set-up a responsive website, approve an email campaign or take out a listing in the latest Chambers 500 Spy directory to get a new assignment.
But in your own efforts to engage clients and develop loyal advocates, you might have done all of these things.
The tools you need to deliver excellent service and build client loyalty in the legal industry have changed a lot in fifty years.
Competition, Globalization, Regulation, and the Mobile Office
Your clients may be working with more than five different legal counsel on a variety of matters at any given time. To provide them with that effective win, you need to make sure that working with you means not only will they get the results they want but also that you make it easy for them to access their files and know what’s happening next for each matter they are working on with you.
The complexity of your clients’ business means they need clear, personalized, targeted information about where they have risks and advice on how to handle those risks in a timely fashion. You will not build loyalty by spamming your clients with irrelevant information but you also can’t assume clients wake up in the morning and come to your corporate website looking for something new. In order to build loyalty, you need to deliver your clients compelling, helpful content that empowers them make better business decisions immediately.
Finally, your clients are no longer sitting in an office all day. And you might be in a meeting on your tablet device or in the airport with only your mobile phone when you hit a crucial point in a case and need to exchange documents and information. If you are going to deliver with style, you need to get files to your clients in a manner that is mobile-friendly, fast and efficient.
You still have to be the super lawyer but unlike fifty years ago when you needed a good pen and briefcase, these days you need a suite of easy to use tools ready to deploy when you need them.Our clients use our Collaborate platform to deliver fast, mobile-accessible file transfers, matter management solutions and data rich information sites to all the corners of the world making sure the right people have access to the right materials when they need them. Our Publisher product has been rebuilt to give your clients personalized access to only the latest relevant alerts, video training libraries, intuitive regulation trackers, and event information sites. We’ve built these so you don’t have to be super spy (or Agent Q) to set them up – you just have to be a great lawyer, know your stuff and leave the tricked out watches to us.