Understanding clients

You probably realise that client satisfaction affects the amount of write offs on bills, but did you know that it also has an effect on how *quickly* your bills get paid too?

Yesterday I was at our KN-UK Bristol talk on new ways to engage with clients, understand their needs and adapt law firm processes to meet those needs, with Mark West of Integreon. For me personally, it was interesting on two levels: I got some great ideas for my own business and also learned more about what law firms can do to understand their clients and keep them happy, so that I can help their PSLs, Knowledge Lawyers and Business Development Lawyers with new ways to interact and help out.

There were too many useful ideas to repeat them all here, but I think my personal top takeaways were:

  • the importance of understanding why you are investigating client voices and experiences, which can help you with defining your SMART goals, budget etc;
  • segment your clients into groups (not just demographics, groups which make sense for your business) – you will probably want to investigate different aspects with different segments or try to achieve different goals;
  • watch out for unintended consequences – just as with measurement of KM projects, you can end up with unwanted unintended results if you focus too much on simple quantitative metrics – keep a balance with qualitative (whilst avoiding creating survey-fatigue);
  • you want to create actionable feedback, so start with understanding the key attributes to a great service, keep drilling down and act on the result – for example, don’t ask about “knowledge”, ask about knowledge of a client’s particular sector and then act on the result by sending relevant marketing only and developing solutions to that sector’s biggest problems; and
  • try to use a variety of sources to build a more detailed picture of a client’s journey – create a log and keep adding evidence and reviewing – this helps you avoid knee-jerk reactions to problems, blaming individuals or getting complacent, and helps avoid those unintended consequences.

There were also lots of great, detailed top tips to help with practice and a lot of discussion about individuals’ own challenges.

Mark has kindly agreed to run this talk for our Birmingham group as well. It’ll be on Tuesday 13th September 12.30-2.30 at Gowling wlg’s offices. I heartily recommend it. Don’t simply leave this stuff to the marketing department: all lawyers, information professionals, KMers and PSLs have an important role to play as well. Book here.

We have one more session at Bristol’s KN-UK in September on understanding lawyers so you can work alongside them more effectively. If you are interested in coming along, let me know.

By the end of the year Bristol annual pass holders have received 10 hours of quality tailored training for £250, covering international management, leadership and influencing, understanding the media, understanding clients and understanding lawyers. In addition, they have the opportunity to buy discounted tickets to events in Birmingham and Manchester and access to exclusive discounts. If you think you or your firm may be interested in joining KN-UK, drop me a line and join the KN-UK mailing list to be kept up to date.

About knowledge4lawyers

I am a lawyer and a Knowledge Management expert. Through The Knowledge Business I help law firms improve their efficiency and profitability through knowledge services - consultancy, training and implementation help.
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