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Jean-Yves Gilg

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Law firms fail to focus on customer service

Law firms fail to focus on customer service


Lawyers fall behind accountants and consultants on client satisfaction

Law firms are exhibiting a 'disturbing level of tunnel vision' when it comes to adopting modern customer service standards, according to a new report.

The research from Peppermint Technology indicates that firms 'thrive' upon the status quo and have less appetite for risk than other sectors. As a result, legal businesses are falling behind other sectors when it comes to client satisfaction and customer support.

Worryingly, the gap between legal and comparative sectors is getting wider, with many firms failing to cover the basics such as following up on enquiries and keeping in contact with former clients.

The report also suggests that firms remain sceptical about the benefits of automation and are reluctant to invest sufficiently in their business.

While accountancy and financial services invest 5 per cent and 7 per cent of their respective turnovers in IT, the research found that law firms invest just 4 per cent.

Also among the findings was the revelation that one-third of firms have not been involved in any business innovations over the last two years, a much higher figure than their accountant or consultant counterparts.

In addition, one-third of firms do not maintain a regular relationship with their clients once a particular matter has been completed, compared to 26 per cent of accountants and 13 per cent of consultants.

Legal businesses also lag behind in offering clients online access to enable case tracking, or to check and download documents. Just 8 per cent of law firms have this, half that of accountants.

Meanwhile, only 39 per cent of firms carry out regular client feedback surveys, well behind consultants on 52 per cent.

Almost half of firms expect to invest in IT over the next 18 months, while one-third anticipate investing in sales and marketing, and two in ten will look again at their pricing and customer delivery.

Commenting on the findings, Arlene Adams, the CEO of Peppermint, said: 'Other sectors consistently perform better than lawyers in client satisfaction surveys.

'It is time for law firms to look outside the legal market for inspiration and to benchmark their performance against other sectors. Technology will increasingly blur the lines between legal and other professional service sectors and law firms need to have the tools to compete. If they are not looking after their clients, others will.'