Two thirds of people find their solicitor by recommendation


March 11, 2013

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Helen Hamilton-Shaw, Director of Services at LawNet, believes if you’re not answering your phones with a smile, you can be sure your callers will be able to tell the difference.

It pays to pay close attention to the little things that make up the overall impression your firm leaves with clients. Because how they feel about you and the service you provide can have a big impact on your business.

Research published by the Legal Services Board last year shows that nearly two-thirds of people find their solicitor by recommendation or because they’ve used them before.  And a massive 29% say the most important factor influencing their decision is reputation.  Some 86% of people were fairly or very satisfied with services from their solicitor and only 3% were dissatisfied.

This is potentially good news for established high street law firms. But is a snapshot of what was happening in the yesterday of legal services.  What about tomorrow, when the new players in the market will be more established and actively targeting your clients? It’s likely that securing that all important recommendation and repeat business is going to become harder and so the type of service you provide to clients will be even more important than today.

It’s the service and experience your clients receive that will be the differentiator between securing that repeat business and recommendation or not. So it makes sense that money and resource is put into ensuring that your service is of the highest quality. Starting with that primary initial contact point – the telephone!

I have contact with a lot of law firms through my job and unfortunately they don’t always get it right.  If I gave up and hung up when a phone rings out over 20 times with no answer, as happened the other day (not a LawNet firm thankfully), you can be sure a client or potential client would have done too. What is the cost to your business of that lost call? Both now and in the future – through lost potential recommendations and revenue.

So now is a good time to start with the basics, how quickly do you answer your phone?  If there’s a call back needed, do you take a message and return it within 24 hours?  Look at the systems you have in place; is voicemail used appropriately? Do you need to look at a support answering service to help during busy periods? Most importantly, do your callers feel welcomed and valued when they contact you?

And are you using every interaction with a potential client as an opportunity to demonstrate and explain the benefits of choosing your firm?  Otherwise, they’re likely to check out other firms, and it could just come down to price.  This is about using excellent client service as business development tool.

If you haven’t tried calling your firm recently, why not give it a go?   Count those rings, and listen for the smile.

LawNet has been supporting independent law firms for over 20 years. We are innovative and passionate about seeing firms succeed and have developed a wide range of services and initiatives to our help members stay ahead of their competition, reduce costs, improve efficiencies and profitability.