The importance of effective communication in law firms

News: LSN communication

May 07, 2013

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In a recent Legal Support Network ‘Industry Voices’ interview, Joanna Swash, director at Moneypenny, was invited to talk about the importance of communication and client service relationships in law firms.

What could law firms do to work more effectively with their suppliers in your area?

Communicate. Talk to us about your business needs and what you need from the relationship. Understand the calls coming into your practice. Assess what the nuances are and reflect changes into the business. Remember the drive to enhance client and prospect experience whilst at the same time being cost effective. We can work together to build a solution that works for you. We have experience of the whole market so we know that one size doesn’t fit all. It’s about being flexible for maximum benefit.

What law firm client win are you most proud of and why?

Securing the UK contract (over 2,000 calls a week) for a leading European provider of legal and tax services for whom we provide a fully outsourced 24/7 reception service. Their project team, including a business continuity specialist, spent a good deal of time over many months investigating all aspects of our operation and overall resilience. It was a fine tooth comb approach and we were delighted when we were shown to deliver on every level.

The timing was right. We were already in the process of opening our office in Auckland , New Zealand with experienced staff from our head office sent over on secondment to take calls from 8pm to 8am UK time and this was an important factor in the ultimate decision to proceed. We now have a dedicated team working solely for this client.

What could law firms learn from businesses in other sectors, such as yours?

That client experience is everything and customers are gold dust. Look at how you are responding to inbound telephone enquiries and how that information is captured. Some firms provide an excellent response with fully briefed staff, but many do not and so risk losing business as well as adversely affecting their client experience.

A recent monthly client report showed that of the 2,100 calls taken, 400+ were new enquiries. Businesses have to have the culture and processes in place to capitalise on these opportunities. Our clients find our service really works for them. The experience and quality of first contact is crucial. We know from research that 79% of callers hang up when prompted to leave a voicemail message so always have a person at the end of the line.

Generally, like us, create a positive and happy workplace and make sure your data is always available through business continuity and DR. Back up is never good enough because by definition it takes time to recover. How quickly would you be up and running after an IT blip?

4. What are the top things firms could do to be more efficient / profitable?

Build a plan to work to strategic objectives with necessary milestones. Implement an accountable management structure that owns the Key Performance Indicators. Recognise that the world has changed – clients are more demanding and expect the right experience. Prices are under pressure and are sometimes fixed so business processes and organisation structures have to change. You need to get the best out of your IT so make a friend of your supplier – don’t delegate the relationship. Everyone in the firm has to have an approach that helps retain business, sells more to clients and seeks new opportunities.

Moneypenny provides telephone answering and outsourced switchboard services to more than 700 law firms of all shapes and size. Whether you’re in need of support for an in-house team, a fully outsourced switchboard or just business continuity, talk to us. We have lots of industry experience and are happy to discuss you requirements in more detail. 08000 199 944 or email.