Be the Legal Brand You Want to See.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
While Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t talking about law firm branding, his famous quote applies to firm culture. Law firms, like any business, can get caught up in busyness of day-to-day operations (and the occasional firefight). In the hubbub, it’s easy to neglect a client’s branded experience.
What is a Branded Experience?
Lawyers are in the relationship business. While visual branding is important, your law firm’s brand is more complex than a color scheme and logo. Your brand is the public expression of the law firm’s culture and mission. (For more information, see our article on law firm branding.)
Every time a client has contact with your law firm, it is an opportunity to express your mission and identity. It’s easy to describe yourself as tough, professional, compassionate, or the premier practice in your area. It’s a lot more difficult to live these values on a consistent basis.
Think about how your firm interacts with clients. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is there consistency in how your staff members interact with clients?
- Do you have a set of standard operating procedures for client intakes and meetings?
- Are you implementing the correct technology to facilitate client relationships?
A little work can go a long way in improving your clients’ experience.
The Importance of Consistency
Consistency is vital in branding. You have sold your clients on your mission. They chose your law firm over the competition because your outlook matched theirs. You need to meet these expectations.
Every client interaction should be consistent with your brand identity. If your practice focuses on children (family law or SSI claims, for example), make sure your office space is welcoming to your smallest clients. If your law firm is results-driven, provide clients with frequent status updates.
Set Expectations for Staff and Lawyers
Your staff is talented, but do they understand their impact on the law firm’s brand? It is important that everyone—from your receptionist to senior counsel—model your brand and mission. Standard operating procedures can help set expectations and train new employees.
You may want to implement:
- Standardized intake questionnaires
- Detailed “new client” materials
- Guidelines for call-back and wait times for service
- Policies on client communications—when, how, and why.
Many lawyers operate their offices as islands. While their procedures may be good, they may not be consistent with those of their partners. When you establish standards, you insure that all lawyers in your firm are treating their clients similarly (and meeting brand expectations).
Set Your Clients’ Expectations
When you meet with a new client, educate them on your firm’s culture, and procedures. You may be the first lawyer that your client has ever dealt with. They may not know what to expect.
Set out your client’s responsibilities (as well as your own). Make sure they understand how your law firm operates. A little education can go a long way in improving client relationships!
Use Technology to Help Build Client Relationships
Does your law firm use client management software? CRM (customer relationship management) software can be a valuable tool. CRM software helps;
- Track potential and existing clients
- Compile client data
- Identify opportunities to cross-sell services and
- Recognize and take advantage of client touch points.
Implementation of CRM systems can be tricky. But, when properly used, CRM software can provide all of your clients with a seamless experience.
You also may want to consider using a client portal (rather than email) for client communications. A portal allows you to securely communicate with your clients, which is not a guarantee via email.
Happy clients are a law firm’s best advertising. When you create a consistent and branded experience for your clients, you are creating deeper and more valuable relationships. They will understand your value—and will become repeat customers and referral sources.
If you need help branding your law firm’s services, contact Perbacco Digital for more information.