Wolters Kluwer’s Future Ready Lawyer 2022 report reveals that 79% of respondents saw meeting changing client expectations as one of the top impactful trends facing legal professionals over the next three years.
Law firms we’ve spoken to are actively evaluating the value they are delivering against the results they need across a range of attributes based on changing demands.
It’s obvious that firms cannot simply rely on keeping “satisfied” clients – they must continuously look for ways to exceed expectations, increase their value, and respond to emerging client needs in an agile fashion.
A client-centric law firm is one that puts clients at the heart of everything – delivering exceptional service, client satisfaction, and commitment.
Client experience is a key success factor in winning new clients and building a loyal advocate base. Are your firm and staff easy to engage with? Where are the barriers? Do you have a process for answering new enquiries so that each is followed up and doesn’t fall into the cracks between your reception teams and your lawyers?
We spoke to our law firm customers that pride themselves on delivering client-centric legal services. The overarching opinion was that client-centric legal services encompass:
Client-centric legal services require innovative communications to keep up with client needs, which in turn requires firms to think about technology in terms of clients. Implementing the best-in-class technology solution can break down old barriers between lawyers and clients, leading to the transformation of the firm’s structure.
According to Wolters Kluwer’s Future Ready Lawyer 2022 report, client demand for tech-enabled law firms hit a record high in 2022 and is expected to continue to climb.
The same report shows that law firms have made continued progress in understanding client expectations. 88% of firms state that they know their clients expect them to fully leverage technology, up from 78% in 2021 and 73% in 2020, respectively. To this end, firms are taking action – with 57% investing in new technology to support client work and enhance firm operations.
Without the right technology in place, law firms do not have access to the information on how many new clients they bring on across different departments or types of work, or how many new client enquiries convert into new clients of the firm. This means that firms can’t effectively grow if they don’t harness the tools to digitise and automate processes.
Before committing to a technology solution, consider whether it will enhance the human interaction between lawyer and client, rather than replacing it. For instance, using an e-signature tool can make it easier/quicker/safer for clients to complete documentation, but doesn’t reduce human interaction. By contrast, an automated phone menu may save time for your receptionist, but if it acts as a major barrier to clients and prospects, the client experience isn’t enhanced.
Of course, digital solutions cannot replace lawyers.
But there are many areas across law firms that can significantly benefit from implementing a solution like Legl. One area is client onboarding. A digital onboarding solution, like the one Legl provides, creates a seamless process and actually increases client engagement. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, you can use Legl’s platform to create automated and tailored onboarding workflows for each different department and client type.
Flexible, custom forms from Legl link seamlessly with other key steps in workflows like IDV, AML screening, document sharing, payments and e-signatures. These workflows create a comprehensive digital approach across all client types and practice areas at your law firm.
Ensuring that you consistently collect key information from your client satisfies compliance requirements and other key processes across the client lifecycle. Linking forms to other steps in processes like CDD, document sharing and payments can enable you to onboard new clients in less than 24 hours and to unlock billable hours across the lifecycle of the client.
Creating a well-thought-out onboarding experience by investing in the right tools, thinking through the right processes for your firm, and evolving that process when you see opportunities to improve might require some investment, but it will lead to a faster onboarding process, happier clients, and a quicker time to value.
A lengthy and cumbersome onboarding process won’t win you any favours with clients.
How long does it take you to open a new file – a few days? A few weeks? More?
Two weeks to onboard a new client is the industry average – which is an exceptionally long time to wait until billable work can begin. Not only does this process risk frustrating the prospective client, it also creates a huge amount of manual work and wasted time for lawyers who are looking to get started on substantive work right away.
To avoid prospective clients dropping off at the new enquiry stage, seek ways to reduce friction and offer simple ways to interact, like getting documents signed easily and supplying information in an automated, digital way.
A digital onboarding solution, like the one Legl provides, creates a seamless process and actually increases client engagement. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, you can use Legl’s platform to create automated and tailored onboarding workflows for each different department and client type.
Think carefully about the journey for your clients, and where it might be cumbersome for them – for example, ask for all documents at the same time, so clients don’t have to go looking twice.
With Legl, new client onboarding is completed by the client via a simple and secure link that takes them step by step through the onboarding process (including CDD), and guides the client through the information and documents that they need to provide. Legl’s platform enables law firms to deliver a fully client-centric approach – clients can complete the process on any personal device (whether mobile, desktop, tablet), at a time of their choosing.
From speaking to law firms, we’ve discovered that 49% of clients complete their onboarding processes out of office hours.
Creating a well-thought-out onboarding experience by investing in the right tools, thinking through the right processes for your firm, and evolving that process when you see opportunities to improve might require some investment, but it will lead to a faster onboarding process, fewer questions for the duration of your engagement, and happier staff and clients alike.
Adopting a truly client-centric approach means considering your client’s complete journey with your law firm, from the initial enquiry to the delivery of the substantive work.
Legl’s solution is optimised to help firms to onboard their clients in less than 24 hours.
With Legl’s simple, intuitive workflows, you can get clients to complete all the steps in the journey digitally, from payments, to IDV and AML checks, to E-Signatures and information requests. Clients benefit from a simple, delightful experience.
It’s never been more important to adopt a client-centric approach at your law firm. By anticipating and meeting your clients’ needs at every stage of their journey, you elevate your firm’s position and value in the marketplace.