|We asked Clare Fanner, a legal sector marketing specialist, to tell us how law firms can generate more income. Prior to setting up her legal sector marketing consultancy, Clare was the marketing director for two mid-sized regional law firms, including one UK Top 100 law firm.|
A poor client experience is costing law firms £thousands. Law firms are quite good at looking after their bigger and longer-standing clients, however, the handling of new opportunities and managing their wider client base does not typically get the time and focus it warrants.
Law firms that don’t have basic processes in place to ensure a consistent client-focused approach is losing significant fee income as a result. Let me illustrate.
A ‘typical’ £10M turnover full-service law firm will be generating in the region of 200 new opportunities a month; that’s 2,400 opportunities per year. Research by insight6 shows that at least 25% of these opportunities are lost at the very outset. What I mean by ‘lost’ is that the firm doesn’t give itself the chance to convert the opportunity e.g. they don’t reply to the web enquiry, they don’t call back when a message is left, they don’t reply quickly enough.
Therefore, of the 200 opportunities that you’ve worked hard to generate this month, 50 are ‘lost’ to you immediately. Assuming you convert just 30% of opportunities to clients; that equates to 15 clients you are losing each month. If the ‘average’ income you generate from each client is just £650, that’s £9,750 per month or £117,000 a year ‘lost’ simply by not following up or responding to
opportunities. The assumptions I have used are on the low side, which means the ‘cost’ is actually much higher in reality.
What can you do to address this?
The good news is that this is an issue that you can easily fix. There are many steps you can take to put a better opportunity handling process in place to ensure you convert more of your existing opportunities. I’ve included my top 10 below.
- Capture and record all opportunities centrally.
- Regularly check that your process works e.g. phone the switchboard out of hours or during lunchtime, send in a website enquiry, etc. This is not to catch people out, but to enable you to know that you have the right people, processes, and skills in place.
- Set up a regular (weekly) ‘new client alert’ that goes to the whole firm.
- Train your opportunity handling team (e.g. call handlers, receptionists, people attending networking events, people handling web enquiries).
- Ask your opportunity handling team what things are making it harder for them to follow up opportunities e.g. processes, systems, lack of know-how and/or skills, etc.
- Empower your opportunity handling team to do what it takes to help them help the people making the enquiries.
- Map your client journeys through all channels and teams and document your ‘happy client’ process.
- Don’t assume, ask. Whether it’s a formal or informal approach – make sure you are getting client feedback. If you don’t ask, you won’t learn.
- Invest in the skills and know-how of all your people: skills + know-how = confidence.
- Measure, report and refine – measure what matters, make changes to your processes and activities based on the results.
Ultimately this is about looking at things from your prospective clients’ perspective. You want (and need) to create a buying experience for your client that solves the challenges they need to address. And it starts by making yourselves easy to deal with, responsive and helpful.