Client loyalty should be a long-term goal for every law firm. Loyal clients become repeat customers, leave positive reviews, and refer their family and friends. Therefore, every interaction ought to help develop healthy service relationships with your current and potential clients.
But what’s the best way to do so? Two words: effortless experience. Research carried out by industry giants such as Gartner points to a conclusion that is clear, yet unexpected by some: it’s the number and effort of interactions, and not the quality of interactions themselves, that turns leads into customers and customers into advocates.
Although Gartner’s research focuses on digital solutions, their findings are undoubtedly useful across many industries, up to and including law.
That’s why your numbers may not grow as fast as you want them to. Clients who have to deal with too many high-effort experiences:
- Won’t choose your firm
- Won’t return for post-decree matters
- Won’t refer friends, family, or acquaintances
Want to know how it happens and what you can do about it? Keep reading this article.
Client disloyalty is costing you leads: why initial consultations don’t select your firm
The core of the effortless experience methodology is that, while delightful interactions make clients feel good and associate a brand with positive ideas, they’d rather have no interactions at all.
Say you’re having issues with your phone bill and reach out to have it fixed. The support rep on the other end is polite and helpful, going above and beyond to solve your problem. The phone company has clearly invested in quality customer support in order to keep clients like you happy.
And yet, the experience isn’t what you’d describe as happy. It’s bittersweet at best. Sure, they fixed the issue, but you had to go out of your way to make a service you pay for work as it should, and that’s not very effortless. The hassle of reaching out far outweighs the satisfaction of exceptional customer service.
That’s why your number one priority shouldn’t be to exceed customer expectations of service interactions but to reduce those interactions altogether.
It goes against traditional service logic, but it makes sense, doesn’t it?
The six drivers of client disloyalty
Based on the effortless experience approach to customer service, we can identify the six biggest originators of client disloyalty in law firms. The one thing they have in common, of course, is how much effort they require from customers: a lot!
- Repeated contacts
- Channel switching
- Repeated information
- Hassle factor
- Generic service
- Complex processes
No one likes spam. If you have a new feature that you want to share with your customer base or a new service that you want to push on your contacts, your first instinct may be to reach out as far and wide as possible to make sure everyone’s heard the news. But that might not be the best idea.
Every time you contact a customer or lead, you’re asking them to put in the effort to listen to what you have to say. That effort piles up and creates customer dissatisfaction.
Instead, we suggest a more targeted strategy. Personalized, thoughtful messages can go a long way in kickstarting communication, and if they don’t, follow up only once or twice to minimize the negative impact on contacts who’d rather not be bothered.
What about when customers or leads themselves reach out to contact you? In that case, they’ve already put in some effort, and thus you ought to make sure that’s as far as that goes. Take it from there, own the communication, and above all else ensure they don’t need to repeatedly contact you.
Let’s talk about the communication process. When people talk to each other, a lot of energy goes into making contact. Whether it is an email or a phone call, establishing a medium for information exchange requires effort from both parties, setting up expectations, tone, and so on. And once the conversation starts, it builds on that to flow organically.
However, when that communication switches to a new channel, that flow is abruptly cut short and a new medium needs to be “negotiated”, requiring effort from both speakers.
This happens every time your coworker takes a casual watercooler chat to a formal email chain, or when a sales rep responds to your email inquiry with a phone call.
To ensure an effortless experience, keep channel switching to a minimum.
That’s not to say you should avoid channel switching altogether: watercooler conversations sometimes become work-relevant enough to need a digital paper trail, and, depending on the sales strategy, phone calls can nurture leads better than emails. However, every channel switch should have a strong justification behind it, and every communication effort should be thoughtful enough to choose the proper channel in the first place.
Litigation is a complicated process that often leads to redundancy, requiring repeated information from clients via multiple sources and channels. Not only does that double up the effort customers put into the legal process, but the resulting headaches and time invested reduce trust in their attorneys.
A legal process like divorce is one of the most stressful situations a person can go through in their life, if not the most stressful. Filling out the same information over and over oftentimes feels like a wasted effort in a situation where clients barely have any to go around.
Streamlining your data intake operations with industry-leading tools like DivorceHelp123 will reduce the workload put upon clients, mitigating disloyalty and providing an effortless experience.
As laid out in the previous reason, legal processes are a hassle for clients. They’re complicated, time-consuming, and stressful.
No matter how much energy and investment you put into not only meeting but exceeding the expectations of your clients, at the end of the day, frustrating experiences will far outweigh delightful ones. Negative and stressful interactions play a bigger role in client loyalty, even if they’re proportionally matched by positive ones.
Gartner’s research finds that there is little to no difference between meeting expectations and surpassing them when it comes to client satisfaction.
Thus, your energy is better kept to reducing the hassle your clients have to go through, instead of investing in going above and beyond what they expect.
Exceeding the results a client expects might be an inefficient investment of resources. However, there is quite a difference between meeting expectations and offering a “just good enough” service.
You want to be anything but unmemorable: generic services often demand mountains of effort from clients. Your firm should strive to stand out, not because it exceeds expectations, but because it offers an effortless experience that fosters client loyalty and referrals.
You’re probably the last person who needs to hear this, but are you aware of how complex going through a family law process can be for clients? It’s true!
Between meetings, video calls, data collection, consultations, form-filling, and decision-making, separation and child support procedures are far from effortless experiences.
According to Gartner’s research, untangling that mess of a process to reduce the hassle for your clients is the number one way to boost satisfaction, avoid disloyalty and earn referrals.
Altogether, your clients want every interaction they have with you to be as valuable and efficient and possible. Be it contact attempts, channel negotiation, or information gathering, always ensure that they feel that the effort truly counts.