Want to grow your law firm? Start with your customer experience

When the lawyer becomes the customer

Insights from my customer experiences with 3 law firms in 2021

Do you struggle with how you are  going to grow your law firm? With so many lawyers in town it feels like you’re competing for the same customers, right? How do you set yourself apart?

Last year I became a legal customer, purchasing services from 3 different law firms and my experiences were very different.  Below you’ll find my key takeaways and some food for thought about your legal services and how they impact your customers.

Coffee with Hannele Korhonen: Happy customers and happy lawyers

Each week I run live sessions for lawyers on Instagram sharing practical and actionable information about improving the customer experience in your own legal business and getting more happy clients.  You can join me live and ask questions or see a replay here on my blog.  I’m here to help you take your legal business to the next level with confidence and ease.

Last year I had 3 different issues to resolve: a trademark registration, the  merger of my two companies and a co-operation agreement.  It gave me valuable insight into how your customers are experiencing your services.

Here’s how it went (story continues after the video):

Trademark registration

First a surprise. As a legal designer I was sure I could find an automated service to register my trademark. Nope. Not one service to take care of the whole process. Why isn’t it automated by now?

So I Googled to see how easy it is to find a lawyer if you don’t know anyone. 

And it is difficult – still.  What keywords to use, how to compare different firms and their offerings. 

It’s all based on emotions. I looked at the websites, the messaging, look and feel and selected what felt right for me as an entrepreneur. 

I sent out three enquiries by email or contact forms. 

As an impatient entrepreneur I like to get the admin stuff done fast. One of the law firms replied several days after the first inquiry – I’d already given the job to someone else!

The others were great because I got fixed price offers from both of them, making it easier to compare the offers. There was no guesswork. 

But the clincher was how the service provider approached me after my enquiry – it was fast and the transaction process was easy.

Company Merger

In this case too, I got a fixed priced offer which was great, at first. 

But the price was presented in a lawyerly way: an estimate. 

This made me quite hesitant throughout the process because I didn’t know which actions were included and which ones were extra.

I felt like the risk was entirely on me if something unexpected happened during the project and I had no way of knowing what is expected and what is unexpected. I was always asking what was included and what wasn’t. 

What I did like about the process was that they assembled a visual presentation of the merger process and the project plan to explain the steps and responsibilities at each phase.

Co-operation Agreement

This time I did not get a fixed quote, but a proposal to go on an hourly basis as the assignment was  clearly defined ( in their opinion). 

For me it would have made total sense to have one session to go through the questions and get a price for that. I’m a lawyer myself and able to estimate whether I will need additional help after the session or not. 

The sparring session itself was very good. I got the feeling that the lawyer listened to my concerns and made a real effort to focus her advice on those concerns (and not wander or expand to some other areas, just in case). I got the practical advice I needed to move forward.

What are the takeaways from my experiences:

Price is always an issue for your customer

  • There is a lot of worry and fear around the pricing. So it is important for you to take that into account in your messaging and approach. Talk about money and be very transparent.
  • The billable hour model is stressful so please make an effort to go for other pricing models if you have not done that already. There are plenty of other options besides the fixed pricing.

Make it easier for your customers to contact you

  • Don’t assume you’re easy to find and contact because you have a website. There’s so much you can do to make it easier for the client to make the first contact. How you speak to the customer (it’s about them not about you) and how clear the instructions you give on how to contact you.

Respond quickly

  • If you want to grow your legal business, reply to the contacts fast. In this fast paced world people are used to getting quick answers and moving on and they don’t bother to wait around for several days. 
  • There are other solutions that you can add to your toolbox, like chatbots or automated contact forms.

Help the customer make sense of the legal question they have

  • Don’t just take care of the issue yourself, explain what’s happening so they understand the what and the why. Increase their agency over their own legal issues. 
  • You can do this by process charts, project plans, or just by simplifying your own advice. Make sense to your clients. 

I will be sharing more tips on how to get happy customers and grow your legal business in upcoming episodes and I look forward to helping you step forward with confidence you can grow your legal business and offer something different to the standard. 

Want to join me live? Every Wednesday at 8am ET you can find me at @lawyersdesignschool on Instagram where I can answer any questions you have.

If you have any questions, please drop me an email at [email protected]. While you’re here, take a peek at the Lawyers Design School and discover other ways you can enhance your customer experience, stand out from the noisy legal crowd and get more customers.

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