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Invest in understanding the client journey

Invest in understanding the client journey


To improve service delivery, you need to track the complete journey your clients make, explains Helen Hamilton-Shaw

When you’re heading to a new destination you may look on Google’s street view to make sure you’ll recognise it when you get there, but you’d probably also turn on your sat nav or plan the route on a printed map before you left.

In a similar fashion (and although it’s important to measure customer experience at the point of delivery), for a deeper understanding you need to track the complete journey your client makes.

This mapping should draw on client experience at each touchpoint, from the first contact onwards. Shifting to a wider, more strategic focus will highlight the gaps in your processes or uncover where things break down, opening the way to holistic customer-centric service delivery in pursuit of long-term gain. So, how to draw this map?

What it looks like

Anything, from sophisticated infographic to a written document. What’s important is the quality of information.

Identify the moments of truth

Identify all the points at which new and returning clients interact with you, including when they decide to engage with you or go elsewhere.

Understand your client base

Different clients have different journeys, so break them down by demographics, such as age or geography, or by firmographics like industry sector. Look also at what services they’re using and how they engage (online, telephone, face to face). Our member firms report that creating identifiable personas for different client types can be useful here.

Encourage empathy

Identify the emotional experience of each client at each point in their journey for a deeper understanding of their needs. What are they thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing, doing?

Review experiences at every stage

You want each client to be a repeat client and an advocate, so how you interact before, during, and after the engagement is vital to the mapping. Critical appraisal like this saw LawNet member FBC Manby Bowdler introduce a range of technology solutions to improve communication. A variety of apps now keep clients up to speed with case progress, along with an online Live Chat function. Built around the needs of clients, this multi-channel approach is seeing great results.

Use multiple sources

Information can come through existing client research combined with internal staff interviews and workshops. Involving all stakeholders in the process helps to establish buy-in and encourage thinking from the client’s point of view.

Validate and refine

Once you have the map in draft, validate findings with direct client interviews and focus groups and identify gaps between internal and external perspectives. Look also for customer experience that flags up specific pinch or pain points.

Rounding the circle

LawNet member Hart Brown has won awards for its client care programme. As well as a real commitment to understanding what makes their clients choose them, and where they can improve at each stage in the process, they say that communicating learning back out to staff is vital in ensuring the business is always moving forward and exceeding their clients’ expectations. Your clients are your greatest advocates – understanding their motivations and feelings at each stage gives you the power to underpin long-term strategic growth with true customer-focused delivery.

Helen Hamilton-Shaw is member engagement and strategy director at LawNet