“The solicitor disappeared!” – the impact of turnover on client relationships and how to handle it better.

Though it shouldn’t, it still surprises me when I hear feedback from clients of law firms about a particular issue. If anything it seems to be becoming more frequent.  We hear “war stories” from clients who talk about contacting the person dealing with their issue at a law firm, only to find that person is no longer there. There has been no communication either from the solicitor or the firm as a whole. At best the client has to then provoke a response by the firm to allocate to another lawyer, and spend some time “re-educating” the new person responsible for their matter. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. It’s irritating enough to have to spend additional time; additionally it doesn’t feel as though the law firm particularly values the relationship with me.  So it’s not surprising that the client then often says that they are either less likely to give the firm work in the future, or that while they will instruct it in other areas, they have lost confidence in one particular practice or team. We’ll shortly produce an article on how to deal with the root causes of this...

Making more effective use of insight (by wasting less time)

Thriving did a small research project last year looking at some non-client firms and exploring areas of best, good, and less good practice. You can see the results in more detail in the Articles section.  What is hampering firms gain the benefits of client insight in many cases, is the time spent “manually” gathering, collating and analysing insight. The focus is on cranking the handle rather than exploiting the result. The “admin heavy” nature of this is sometimes because of an understandable desire by partners to maintain control.  An hour spent by staff manually finessing processes cannot be spent in consulting with decision makers about the actions the firm should take. There is a massive opportunity in many firms to improve this – we have a free benchmarking tool for any one who’d like to review how they compare to good practice – contact Robin if you’d like to access...

The technology was all very fine – but what about the basics?

I’ve recently been looking at getting new car. So I make appointments for test drives etc. All good fun. At one car brand/dealer, once I’d made the appointment, I got an email reminder the day before, then on the morning, and subsequently I’ve had about 3 mails, apparently from the head of customer sales (though clearly automatically generated) advising me of the risk of letting the car I really want go by. All very fine, if a bit irritating and intrusive. But the real problem is that the salesperson didn’t turn up to the appointment I’d booked and I left after 30 minutes of wasted time. It turns out the receptionist didn’t pass the message on properly, the salesperson didn’t check. The closest I got to an apology was a voicemail saying ‘sorry I missed you’. I wonder how much effort has got into the automated message system and how much has gone into staff training and behaviour. The former has no impact on my purchase decision, the latter has quite a bit. I won’t be buying a car from...

Mission Accomplished

My old school friend Russell and I reached John O’Groats 16 days after setting off on our bikes, from Lands End, at 6pm on 10th June. The journey was not without challenges but also, we met many lovely people and were the recipients of several acts of kindness along the way. The WorldWildlife Fund is over £1550 better off, and Russ also raised a great sum for his preferred charity, Make A Wish. You can see some of the...

Major clients feel law firms have only a “superficial” knowledge of their business

A recent analysis conducted by Lexis Nexis and Cambridge University’s Judge Business School made for somewhat disturbing reading. The results suggest that even across the biggest clients of firms, key contacts believe their relationship partners and firms serving them have only a superficial knowledge of their business. The report notes that “All clients were uniformly of the opinion that not only do the law firms not provide relationship services, in many cases they do not seem to see the need.” This is causing some clients to look elsewhere for advice. Given this is a substantive risk to firm revenue, the authors recommend that firms stop focusing predominantly on a transactional approach to key clients and instead instil “a sense of partnership where the client feels valued and protected.” Do you know how clients view their relationship with your...

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