What law firm clients want (really, really want)

A new survey entitled “what clients really want from a legal service provider” by Peppermint Technology was published this week.

The survey was conducted of 1017 consumers aged between 16- 64 (although what legal services a 16 year old would want or need must be a moot point) looking at “customer” attitudes towards the UK legal services market place. A telephone and email survey was also carried out with 150 UK businesses and a telephone and email survey with 167 law firms.

The survey sample was segmented into three areas: consumers (what we lawyers would refer to as private client); businesses and finally law firms themselves.

The report is very useful in giving the latest insight into what clients expect and want from their Solicitors and law firms. Needless to say the report will be read avidly by not just law firms but by other organisations eyeing up entrance into the legal services market.

I will be looking at the report in further detail in coming posts, but will examine here the main findings of the report.

Know your Client:

This is still a failing of many law firms: an inability to drill down and discover what clients want from their solicitors and law firms.

In my opinion the one thing for certain that new entrants into the legal services market will bring is a deep knowledge and understanding of what their customers, as they will call them, will need and want.

Clicks and Data not Bricks and Mortar:

Interestingly, one of the main findings of the survey was that clients of all types care very little about the physical location of law firm offices. Also highlighted was the importance of technology from marketing to online delivery.

This may be the reflections of how some transactions which were face to face such as Banking have now changed to more on line simplicity.

Again new entrants will almost certainly concentrate on an online delivery of legal services where possible to avoid costly premises. Some new entrants such as the Co- op will use a mixture of online and face to face through their branch networks via the Britannia.

Law firms of course have always used a degree of flexibility. The third finding of the report has identified the need for further thought.

One Legal Service Delivery Does Not Fit All.

Clients will expect the provision of legal services delivery through multiple channels.

It has always been incomprehensible to me that some law firms still close for lunch.

The survey was clear that although some clients want an out of hours service others don’t; some want online facilities others want more telephone communication or are just as thrilled to receive a letter by post. Some would expect all those at various stages of their legal matter.

In the next post I will give the answers the questions posed in the survey such as how consumers go about finding a legal service provider; what factors are most important in purchasing legal advice; how communication can be improved and how important will the internet be in attracting and communicating with clients.

You can view a video of the main findings of the Peppermint Technology report here or go direct to Peppermint Technology website to purchase the report for £49.99