Client service insights - listen and empathy

Three recent news reports captured my attention on client service insights for law firms and professional service firms. 

Addleshaw Goddard solicitors uses empathy

Addleshaw Goddard – a major law firm – topped the charts for client service (performance and value for money) in the Nisus Consulting research   to become the most client-focused firm law firm in 2016.

A quote from a report demonstrates their success: “Professionalism, individual attention, proactivity, accuracy of advice and drafting, accessibility, flexibility and value for money, large resource base”.

There were three particular client metrics where they outperform the market by a significant margin:

  • Understand client culture (10.1% lead over the market average)
  • Personal chemistry (9.8% lead over the market average)
  • Market understanding (8.4% led over the market average)

All of these are aspects of empathy (I have written about this extensively, see, for example: and

An article in The Lawyer magazine also pointed to the firm’s use of knowledge management in a client-facing service element. They have a legal updates extranet that has 10 panel firms collaborating in support of a shared client.

LawNet lawyers measures client satisfaction

LawNet is a network of 70 member law firms ranging in size from £2M- £20M in turnover. It recently won the 2015 Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Award in the Supporting the Industry category for its LawNet Excellence Mark.

The system provides external measurement of the client experience (regular mystery shopping and benchmarked client surveys) to drive needs-based support and training to improve client satisfaction. It recently published a White Paper on the results and the Legal Ombudsman asked for permission to circulate its findings.

Reverse Thinking at Dutch hotel group CitizenM

Dutch hotel group CitizenM started with the end in mind – a process called Reverse Thinking – where you work backwards from the client experience you want to deliver and then develop the business and operating model to achieve it. You start with the end in mind – with a blank sheet of paper.

In this hotel example, there were three defining elements of the service:

1. Ground floor space less like a hotel lobby and more like a multi-functional living room. I experienced something similar to this recently at a boutique hotel in Helsinki. Is this something that professional service firms could do with their receptions? I certainly think that the fantastic reception and meeting room experience at law firm CMS Cameron at Cannon Street achieves this.

2. Technology is simple and designed for tech-savvy mobile citizens. Most professional service firms have been slow to adopt technology apart from equipping their staff with tablets and upgrading their back office systems. Understanding the service experience from the clients’ perspective and providing communication, work management, billing, knowledge and service requests through mobile channels must be the next natural step for professional service firms.

3. “Ambassadors” handle all guest enquiries in the downstairs space – and they manage all questions from checking-in to mixing cocktails. They are recruited at “casting days” and selected for attitude rather than skills and the business invests heavily in the culture and training of new hires. Another lesson here perhaps for professional service firms who are usually excellent at providing technical and professional skills but are often not as committed to providing client service, relationship and selling skills to empower staff to be client-focused.