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Team Morale Is Directly Linked To The Ability To Deliver Differentiated Client Services

Published in Managing Partner magazine
November 2015

In previous articles, I have written about how the lack of any meaningful differentiation between law firms on criteria that are of value to clients leads inexorably to price-driven competition. When we can see no difference between the services on offer, we buy the cheapest available. The same psychology plays out in the employer brand arena. Firms with only the blunt instrument of the salary cheque in their differentiation armoury are ill equipped to attract, secure and retain the best talent.

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Easy to do business with?

There is a management adage that “businesses that do well tend to be businesses that are easy to do business with”.  Looked at from a client experience management perspective, it could be easy to believe that many firms adopt attitudes, approaches, policies and procedures which have quite the opposite intent.

My strong view is that client strategy must sit at the heart of all strategy – without clients we simply don’t have a business.  What that means in practice is that any initiative must be stress-tested by looking at it through the eyes of the client.  By asking a small number of core questions, based around new client benefits and the building of sustainable competitive advantage, it is quickly possible to identify the overall cost-benefits of projects competing for limited resources and make the best possible prioritisation decisions.

Understanding the client experience can be achieved by looking in detail at the touch points with the firm.  Some of these will be physical, for example the accessibility of premises, the quality of the built environment or the efficiency of front-of-house services.  Others will centre on service delivery such as the ease with which lawyers can be contacted, responsiveness and clarity of communication.  Taken together this touch point analysis provides the management team with an accurate perspective on “how it feels to be a client”.

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