For law firms, client care and communications are critical for long-lasting success. Unfortunately, we have continued to see law firms all around the world underdeliver in this area.
“Did you know that 3 out of 5 clients have dropped at least one of their law firms in the past year?”
This article will walk you through what are the common pitfalls to client communication and how to fix it.
Why is it so difficult for law firms to deliver great client communication?
Before we dive into how to improve your client communications, let’s understand the different types of client communications and how they do and don’t’ generate new revenue.
Remember, clients engage lawyers they know, like and trust – communication is key.
Marketing communications (one-to-many)
Marketing communications are the most common forms of client communications for law firms and include monthly newsletter, regulatory updates, webinars and more. They are used most frequently because they are centrally managed; they are automated; they relatively effortless to produce, reaching thousands of clients and prospective clients with a click of a button.
But while this seems to be the most effective way to communicate with clients, it’s actually a trap. With busy inboxes, our mind has been trained to automatically dismiss any HTML formatted emails as useless spam.
In fact, recent email marketing statistics show that the average open rate of marketing email campaigns for certain industries are as low as 10% and less than 1% engage with the email content.
By sending your newsletter to 1000 client contacts you only truly engage 10 of them.
In fact, a GC at a Fortune 100 company recently told me that with any regulatory change he gets about 40+ emails from law firms. All of them mostly the same.
He didn’t read a single one of them.
Thus, newsletters, while good for your firm’s and lawyer’s brand, are actually hurting your ability to build relationships and help clients to like and trust you.
Business Development [BD] Communications (one-to-one)
With that frame, let’s talk about the holy grail of client communications.
Think of BD Communications as one-to–few or one-to-one communication with clients. Highly personalised emails, sent by people (not marketing) focused on building relationships with your clients and prospective clients.
In a sea of content and newsletters, it’s BD Communication that cuts through the noise.
What does this look like?
Instead of blasting your next regulatory update to 1000s of contacts but reaching only 10, draft a personalised email with a thoughtful note and attach your update. Mention why it is important for the client to have a look at this and why this is relevant to them.
Receiving a personal email will make your client feel special. The personal note shows your clients you care about them which ultimately builds the trust.
Expert Tip: Follow up with a phone call as you will be the only one calling them about this update which will make you stick out!
This is how effective client communications work. This is how you build relationships and increase your client retention.
Business is just like life — relationship building can’t be automated.
How do you improve client communications?
Law firms all around the world are investing heavily in improving BD communications. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Remove information barriers and silos. Transparency and information sharing is key.
You need to understand who engages with whom, when and how often across your entire firm. This will enable you to build effective client communication plans and gives you the focus you need to focus on your high-value clients.
Set recurring reminders to stay in touch.
Every partner should have recurring reminders to stay in touch with their key clients. Once you set reminders, check that your partners follow through.
Assign clear responsibility and hold partners accountable.
Effective management starts with clear responsibilities. Be sure to over-communicate with your partners and help them understand who their key clients are they are responsible for client communications. They need to have full visibility of all engagements with their key clients.
Assist your lawyers with follow-ups, content and templates.
Partners are very busy and it is difficult for them to balance their legal work and client care work. Assist your partners by creating plans, follow up with them when they are falling behind and provide templates and content they can use to share with their clients.
Focus as much of your resources on one-to-one communications.
This is critical. Wherever possible, use one-to-one communications channels with highly personalised messages. The extra time spent by your lawyers sending those emails and making those phone calls will generate a much higher return on your investment than any other marketing activity.
How can help?
Client Revenue Platform can help your firm improve your client communications: visibility into all your client interactions. Stay on top of your key clients. Set recurring stay in touch reminders and assign clear responsibility across the entire firm. All without data entry. Nexl makes client communications more successful and delivers time savings on client care activities by over 65%.