The importance of client retention
Jess Saumarez provides tips to boost your law firm’s strategy through client retention
According to the Harvard Business Review, it can be 25 times more expensive to onboard a new client than it is to retain one. The Review also stated just a five per cent increase in retention can grow profits by up to 95 per cent.
Sounds good, right?
It gets better. Clients who stick around are generally happy with the service they are receiving, meaning they’re more likely to promote your business and generate referrals. Happy clients, happy business.
Despite all the data pointing towards the importance of client loyalty and relationships, some continue to focus on quarterly earnings rather than long-term customer value. This can lead to a host of problems for a business: producing quick profits by compromising on the quality of their service, increasing rates unexpectedly, or taking on work from the wrong kind of client. Ultimately, this destroys any client loyalty and reduces the value a client could create for a firm.
With the emergence of new accounting and marketing tools, many companies are realising that the source of their corporate value is, in fact, their clients. By keeping an eye on their churn (or retention) rate, they can evaluate the long-term health of their business.
I’ve worked across a range of industries, focussing on optimising customer brand experience. From improving an advertising agency’s relationship with multinational clients such as McDonald’s and Nespresso to co-founding an app with thousands of restaurant partners, I’ve seen first-hand how a lack of retention can seriously damage a business’ growth and how a strong retention strategy can bolster a brand.
But how can law firms improve their client retention? Here are my top tips:
Listen to your clients
Lawyers will generally say that they know exactly how their clients think, what they need, and how they feel. But is that really the case? Closing the loop on client feedback is crucial to improving retention strategies within law firms and gives insight on what a business is doing well and not so well. It also gives a firm the opportunity to address any issues a client might have to strengthen the relationship.
An obvious way of gathering feedback is using the net promoter score (NPS) survey, composed of one simple question “How likely are you to recommend our law firm?” on a scale of 0 -10. After providing a score, the client is invited to explain their rating which is fed back to marketing teams. Businesses will generally send the NPS survey in a thank you message after a piece of work is finished or invite people to give feedback in their email signatures.
It's recommended that teams respond to NPS client feedback to show that they have been listened to, and that their feedback will be used to improve. There are a host of different feedback tools and structures firms can use: from in-person feedback sessions (hosted by someone who didn’t produce the work so that a client is inclined to speak more honestly) to digital tools.
At Stephenson Law, we use Survicate. Survicate is a powerful survey, NPS and feedback management software that helps you capture more customer feedback and deliver a better customer experience. Survicate offers website, web app and in-product (in-app) surveys. email and link surveys. Due to these advanced technologies, such services can also benefit a firm in gaining client feedback and ultimately further its ability to develop lasting connections with clients.
Market to current clients
Marketing teams often make the mistake of only directing their efforts to the outside world, but generally, you can’t stop marketing to someone just because they have become a client. When the competition is high and loyalty low, making sure that your services stay top of mind is essential.
This can be done through newsletters, targeted ads on social media or offering clients exclusive content such as downloadable reports.
At this point in your client journey, you will want your clients to feel valued, listened to, and not forgotten about.
Consider the onboarding process
Have you ever bought into new internet provider and spent hours on the phone with customer support, struggled to put it together, switched it on and off again about 100 times and then vowed to never use them ever again? No? Maybe just me.
First impressions are everything. By giving a client a smooth and personalised transition into your business, they’ll be much more inclined to stick around. Take the time to look at the steps a client needs to take from start to finish when working with your firm, and think about how a step can be shortened, improved, or personalised (and while you’re at it, why not think about the points in the journey that you can ask for feedback?)
Client communication calendar
A communication calendar will let you know the last time a client interacted with you, and flag which clients need a little love. If a client hasn’t interacted with your brand for a while, businesses should reach out to re-establish the relationship. This is generally a fantastic opportunity for firms to upsell and cross-sell to alternative services, and make clients feel like they are valued and being thought of.
That’s why building and maintaining a strong customer relationship management system (CRM) is essential for lawyers, sales and marketing teams to keep track of clients and those who can be recontacted. To save endless spreadsheets, there are lots of digital tools out there for CRMs such as Hubspot, Salesforce, or Pipedrive.
Every firm is different
These are just some tips to improving client retention. While you'll often find a bespoke approach works best, the above will give you reliable foundations to propel your retention strategy forward.
Making small steps to improving client experience can have a major impact on a firm so start making it a part of your strategy!
Jess Saumarez is an entrepreneurial digital marketing expert and chief commercial officer for Stephenson Law stephenson.law