Surely, in any competitive, client facing, professional services environment, one of the truest measures of success and ensured longevity must be happy customers. Naturally, happy customers will return and become repeat customers – or in other words, CLIENTS.
This is not so easy however, in a market which is traditionally and also mostly by design, is a transactional one, which is the case with legal services. The nature of ‘the law’ is dealing with specific matters and therefore it has always proved more difficult for firms to transition the customer with a legal issue into a lifetime client who will always look to the same solicitor firm, as future legal requirements or advice needs arise.
It is my belief that the law firms that acknowledge this fundamental issue as a barrier to success and seek to evolve and adapt their business model to address it, who will be winners. Embracing the changes introduced by the SRA in recent years should have helped and the 2019 introduction of the ‘Firm Code of Conduct’ was a hugely positive prompt to this end. The requirement to introduce firm-wide processes and systems for all client facing activity was, in part, designed to assist law firms develop a recognisable identity – to help communicate to potential clients, this is how we work. Alongside this ‘Transparency’ encourages law firms to portray this identity and how this translates into how they would work with new and existing clients.
There are, I believe, two obvious ways for law firms to adapt to facilitate this client retention success:
- Certainly, making better use of the customer data you hold is key going forwards. A mortgage will often be the first legal transaction for a young potential client/s, but do you use the personal information you have to subtly cross-market the other legal services you offer? Making better use of your CRM systems is fundamental to this and this is why the SRA is so focused on technology and innovation. The financial services community is further down the road with the best use of CRM for client communication and will happily share best practice.
- Secondly, and I hope this is where the professional end of the financial advisory sector and we at Matrix Capital come in by helping you make better use of your relationships with your carefully selected financial advisory partners. The SRA expects you to have an established process for third-party referrals but, are you embracing this merely as an occasional requirement for customers, or as an opportunity to enhance client retention? Recommending a quality financial planning firm is a huge step to success because they will implement a financial plan for the life of your referred client, incorporating their goals and objectives. They, in turn, will certainly need to send the client back to you periodically as the plan evolves, for LPAs, Wills and more. Such legal instruments are vital to underpin the financial planning.
On their journey through life, an individual will have ongoing legal and financial needs and these will be revealed and prompted by the regular review of the financial plan. Therefore, the law firm that develops genuine partnerships with the financial planning firms to which they have selected to refer will almost certainly enhance its future success by client retention.
At Matrix Capital, we are proud to work closely with law firms local to us and across the country and are constantly able to refer the clients they initially refer to us, back to them, on their financial journey!