About 2 years ago I was asked to contribute to an article in Legal Marketing about the impact of social media. My remarks were to the effect that marketers should consider social media as another channel and means of distribution, but it didn’t replace the importance of marketing planning and other “traditional” marketing activity.
While that’s partly right it’s (at last) “half-wrong”! That’s been brought home to me in part by the sheer impact that social media has had recently in the middle east, and the power of communication and feedback between people.
Back in the world of marketing, across many sectors the impact of “customer” reviews is now critical on-line. I have no idea what the stats are, but I bet that the number of us booking a holiday or hotel without looking at feedback from others, whether via tripadvisor or other sites, is getting smaller and smaller.
Could this become more “normal” in professional services too? Given the role of word of mouth to date, yes I think so! While there is no equivalent of tripadvisor the future could well see a site blending some of LinkedIn, the “good lawyer guide”, and directories like Chambers (which at the moment are still very “old school” in the way they gather and report on the performance of firms).
The financial and reputational penalty for firms who do not provide consistently good client service at that point will get sharply higher. So the time to get coherent and well executed client service strategies in place is now!