Client Experience Management (CEM) – Research into the client journey at law firms

Whilst presenting a paper on strategic marketing at a recent professional services marketing conference in Sussex, one of my fellow presenters was Jonathan Winchester, chief executive of insight6 Limited (which some of you may know as Shoppers Anonymous). He gave a fascinating talk about Client Experience Management (CEM which some refer to as CX) and shared some results from his company’s extensive research with law firms.

To show the power of experience and to raise energy levels in the room, he started by asking us to tell our colleagues “What’s the best thing you’ve experienced this year?”. Enthusiastic conversations ensued. He then talked about all the different times he had personally used legal services – and it was for over 10 different matters – but he had used different law firms as a) they did not strive to forge a relationship with him and b) the law firms operated in silos.

He shared some interesting client experience insights:

  • 6.7% of UK adults say they used a lawyer in the past 12 months (Google survey of 1,000 adults). 17% rated the experience as terrible, 26% as OK, 36% good and 21% outstanding. The things that they felt made the experience good included: professional, clear advice, always answering the telephone, thorough and fast.
  • Researchers asked 1,000 European Business Leaders how they felt they dealt with customer experience and 80% said that they felt they provided a good service. Whereas only 8% of their clients felt it was good.
  • In the past, when people were asked to name the organisation with which they had experienced their best customer experience John Lewis Partnership or Waitrose usually came top (see The leader was now Amazon obtaining almost twice as many votes.

Amazon was rated so highly because it met the following client service criteria:

  1. Speed of response
  2. Clarity of information
  3. Level of personalisation and care
  4. Ability to develop business
  5. When it goes wrong it is easy to fix

Law firm client experience management (CEM) research

insight6 has 1,500 clients – of which nearly 200 are law and legal firms. It recently approached 65 law firms who weren’t clients to compare their client satisfaction and experience ratings with those who had embraced CEM. There was a 12% gap between those with some CEM programmes and those without. Jonathan shared the following responses from the latest research

From a mystery shopping exercise:

  • 7% of law firms took the contact details of clients who walked in to ask a legal question
  • 43% of receptionists asked for and used the client’s name
  • 31% of receptionists advised the client of the name of the solicitor that they would be speaking to
  • 20% of calls were put through to voicemail, 80% were answered personally

He also made the point that whilst some law firms may feel that the front of house first impression management process wasn’t important as they had few walk-ins, he pointed out that what clients experience whilst waiting for a meeting was just as important.

Only 24% of clients actually spoke to a lawyer after making a web enquiry. This means that 76% of enquiries were not converted into conversations so most digital marketing effort is wasted. Similarly, only 6% of web enquiries were followed up. 35% of firms did not respond to an email enquiry at all.

20% of the emails sent in response to enquiries were not well-written (i.e. they contained spelling or grammatical errors) and a third of the recipients felt that the email wasn’t personalised.

52% of telephone (voicemail) messages left out of hours were answered within 24 hours. On 45% there was no call back at all. 24% of fee-earners managed to explain the benefits of using their firm during a telephone conversation

He ended his talk with the quote “By 2020, customer experience will be a differentiator over price”. He argued that with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning there was a need for responses to be human and experiential.

insight6 also provides a technology product for obtaining client feedback – Feedback Direct Other companies providing services and systems for measuring client satisfaction were mentioned here

There are many other posts about CEM, for example: