As our world fast becomes digitized, the legal industry faces the danger of losing touch with the most important aspect of its very existence – its clients.
Simply automating systems, implementing technological solutions and producing extensive reports takes away the human face of a business and sends clients packing.
I have never heard one positive comment about automated phone systems where customers have to press several ‘options’ on their keypads before being thrown in the queue to speak with a human voice; a voice that then verbally asks them to repeat all the information they have already punched into the phone keypad … sound familiar?
No matter how efficiency-creating a firm’s systems, it is the personal connection (trust) between lawyer and client that will always be critical and necessary for a firm’s success. The adoption of new technology needs to be handled with creativity and care, the human way.
While technology helps close the gap between ambition, innovation and execution, the most successful firms are tipped to compete on the basis of client-centricity by building sustainable ‘trust’.
Technological innovation is compatible with enhancing trust
Customer trust builds customer loyalty which is like a trampoline propelling a company to success even when the macroeconomic climate is unforgiving.
Research by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows that leading companies on the Global Innovation Survey are striving to find ways to meet customer expectations because meeting expectations builds trust.
For legal practices there are lessons to be learned from the BCG studies
1. Listening to clients and choosing the right technological solutions helps meet client expectations. Technology that makes client engagement easier and delivers value-added services can give a firm an unparalleled competitive advantage.
2. Adopting new and innovative technologies establishes a solid reputation of being a progressive firm, which helps build client confidence and loyalty.
3. Speaking your client’s language will keep them engaged and interested. Every industry has its own jargon which is often inpenetrable to an outsider. In order to build trust, practitioners can use technology to help them present their advice in a simple and easy to understand format.
4. Delivering transparency through technology is invaluable. For example, clients never like to pay more than they are quoted. This is one of the biggest trust killers and deal breakers for customers. Technology that helps practitioners standardise their work and more accurately evaluate their time and outcomes will allow them to provide more accurate quotes to customers and not only build strong trusting relationships, but also enjoy the benefits free ‘word of mouth’ advertising.
5. Clients are looking for a point of differentiation and to connect with real people. Marketing has been revolutionised over the past decade with digitization. However, with digitization comes repetitiveness where most websites and email messages use mundane stock images of people sitting around in board rooms shaking hands. This is where firms need to show their clients that they are real people by displaying their profiles, team photos and personal stories on their websites.
Innovation may be the key to differentiation and keeping up with changing client expectations, but innovation is not just about technological solutions. For professional services firms, innovation through technological solutions must deliver outcomes that result in mutual benefits for both the firm and its clients – a win-win all round.
*Tania Mushtaq MBA (twitter @tanmushi) is an executive at Encompass Corporation responsible for Public Relations. Encompass is a cloud based visualisation solution that converts commercial information obtained from Information Providers and Credit Bureaus into an easy to understand picture. This solution is available for legal professionals. For more information visit:
www.encompasscorporation.com and twitter @encompasscorp.