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The Who’s Where When Conundrum – but don’t forget the clients

10 months. Countless changes. Enforced home working, new technology tools and home-schooling.

The Covid experience has torn up the rule book and forced legal firms to rethink much of what they thought they knew.

But with all this internal focus on finding ways to operate remotely – the needs of one very important group have been knocked down the priority list;  what about the client?

Keeping client care front and centre is timely – particularly as data suggests that legal firms do not plan to return to the office fully. In fact most would prefer just 2-3 days in the office each week[1].

With staff in different locations on different days – how will firms ensure that the client experience isn’t diminished in this new world of hybrid working? And how will they adapt to the new requirement for 24/7 accessibility?

Here, Bernadette Bennett, Head of Legal at Moneypenny, which provides telephone answering and live chat support to more than 1,000 legal firms across the UK, shares the four key questions firms must answer to ensure hybrid working doesn’t compromise the client experience:

Do you know what clients really expect?

Lockdown has changed client behaviour. The volume of out of hours calls and the appetite for live chat have grown significantly in the legal sector as clients juggle their home and professional lives.

Combined with the already high level of competition among firms, declining client loyalty and increased price sensitivity, it’s business critical to understand what clients really want .

Prior to the pandemic, 92%[2] of firms were too busy to handle leads properly – a challenge that will have heightened over the last year.

With that in mind, firms must consider the current experience of new clients and how this might be affected by hybrid working.

Will prospects have to make multiple calls to get through to the right people? Are they going to find themselves giving the same information on several different occasions?

Are they likely to be greeted by voicemails (at which point 69%[3] of callers will hang up)? Could your website be more interactive and helpful? If the answer is yes, there’s work to do.


Identify where you’re falling short and use it to outline your immediate priorities. Call on the support of an outsourced partner to help you understand wider legal client trends and expectations.

Have you filled the cracks?

At the start of lockdown, clients were forgiving of under par service as firms scrambled to adapt. Almost a year down the line, this is no longer the case and temporary fixes have to give way to robust, fit-for-purpose solutions.

For hybrid working to be effective, systems must be seamless and that means identifying points of weakness and ensuring that clients don’t fall between the cracks.

One area of weakness is voicemail; very few legal professionals check them. Instead firms should ensure that call handling policies ensure a consistent and positive experience – all calls should be answered by a person not a voicemail, all messages should be taken by a person not a recording and clients should be able to reach people with the same ease, wherever your team is based.


Consider using a mystery shopper exercise to identify cracks and shortcomings. Knowledge is power.

Who owns client care?

With a disparate workforce and less occasion for teams to be together – it can become more difficult to identify client issues and concerns.

Consider who owns the subject of client care both within teams and across the firm as a whole, as well as internal reporting structures and client care checks that you can deploy to ensure it is championed and  improved, rather than compromised because teams aren’t physically sat together.


Consider appointing departmental client care champions and choose those that are already passionate about the client experience to help drive firm-wide improvements.

Is your approach future-proofed?

Clients expect legal partners to be resilient and reliable which means ensuring business continuity, service delivery and accessibility at all costs.

The ability to stay in touch and be contactable is of paramount importance as, during times of uncertainty and change, clients typically need more reassurance. Failure to be available costs business and reputation.

As the pandemic has proven that change can sometimes be required almost overnight, legal firms can improve their resilience by investing in agile tools and outsourced partners that support growth and innovation and that flex and adapt as needs change; this must include client communication.

This will become even more important as offices begin to reopen and foster hybrid working.


Look at how outsourcing can let you flex and adapt solutions without the need for hefty upfront investment – call handling and live chat partners like Moneypenny can scale as your needs change and offer fully outsourced, overflow and out of hours support.

The client is king.

While the legal sector has had to embrace widespread change at record speed, it’s important to keep sight of why this change and innovation is necessary – it’s to protect client relationships and fees and to ensure they get the best legal services and outcomes.

In recognising this, firms must also acknowledge that it is not acceptable for clients to have trouble contacting you, or for their attempts to go unanswered or followed up.

Last year was about being nimble in order to remain operational. This year is about consolidating those experiences, turning quick fixes into long term strategies and above all else, improving and protecting the client experience.

Communication is front and centre of that picture….and it starts with answering the phone.

[1] The Lawyer’s Work From Home Survey (November 2020)

[2] Taken from Moneypenny’s ‘Coming of Age’ Legal Inbound Marketing Report

[3] Taken from Moneypenny’s own in house research

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