Alan Weiss

Culture Change Force Law Firms to Adapt New Style

 
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Sydney, NSW -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/26/2013 -- Law firms must adapt to evolving demand trends, such as a shift from a singular legal service provider to a business that is driven by providing an exceptional client experience, and understanding consumer behaviours,’ according to Alan Weiss, founder of the website aussiedivorce.com.au and criminallawyer-directory.com.au. Aussie Divorce is Australia’s most informative family law website. And it is driven by providing consumer access to legal information and legal services from highly trained and experienced family lawyers. Aussie Divorce is an exclusive directory and database of law firms and lawyers specializing in family law matters.

A lot of change is now happening in how law firms market their services to both existing and new clients. “The need to change is there, and lawyers need to look beyond the “gold nugget’ fiction – the attitude that one simple idea can help transform an online marketing campaign and win new clients. Lawyers struggle with rapid changes brought about by competition generated on the worldwide web. Unless lawyers adapt to the changing legal culture spawned by the free exchange of information and ideas on the internet, their law firms will be left behind.

The first impression today’s consumer has of a law firm is through its website. It must be informative and engaging. A good first impression will be reinforced if the customer service at the reception is efficient, friendly and customer-centred. The good impression will translate into new clients for the firm if the lawyers who meet with them are empathetic, knowledgeable and professional. Consistency in the delivery of legal service ensures client satisfaction. Client satisfaction will lead to long-term retainer relationships and referrals.

Below are some tips on how to adapt to these new consumer-driven trends in legal services.

The personal touch builds trust. Recently, I received an email from a gentleman regarding his family law matter. It was already 8pm and after business hours. Where normally, I would forward the email to a member law firm, I decided to phone the gentleman and introduce myself and see how I can personally assist him. Speaking with a client is important to understand him and his needs. After our conversation, I emailed two law firms, providing the prospective client’s details. Aside from this personal touch and a courteous email to the gentleman notifying him of the referral, I also mentioned that there is no referral fee payable to Aussie Divorce. Having an interactive and visually appealing website is one thing that attracts new clients. But the critical element to gain the prospective client’s trust is by personally calling and conversing with him about his concerns. This assures him that his concerns matter to us and that as lawyers we are available to our clients.

The direct approach presumes that the client is informed. The old practice was for the office receptionist to screen the call by asking the caller his name, his business, the specific person he needs to speak with. If the person he asks to speak with is busy at the moment, the receptionist will usually refer the caller to the office manager. These days, the law firm’s website has already given the prospective client the background information he needs and he has more or less decided that the law firm’s marketing strategy on the website is appealing. Thus, when that prospective client calls the law office and asks for a specific person by name, it would be best not to interrogate them, but rather put the call through to the available lawyer for his/her assistance. We must presume that prospective clients have already surfed the web and ‘shopped’ around for a law firm whose image appeals to him. Interrogating him and giving him the run-around will be saying ‘NO’ to a potential client.

Accommodate the limited attention span of the prospective client. An average of 3 billion Google searches are made each day and the average person stays on a website for approximately 8 seconds. A prospective client who surfs the internet has a goal: he wants to find a family lawyer who can speak to him at the soonest possible time. If the prospective client chose a lawyer whose photo on the law firm’s website tells the story of a relaxed yet elegantly dressed lawyer with a welcoming smile, he will email this lawyer with a case brief and phone his office. If his call is answered by a recorded voice informing him to leave his name and number because he has called after business hours, the prospective client would simply hang up and go to the next law firm on his list. If the client does call within business hours and he is told to wait for a few minutes on the line or wait for a return call and the lawyer returns the call promptly, he would impress the client with his prompt response.

Make the client feel welcome on the website and at the front door. We need to look at the manner by which a prospective client is brought to the front door. The law firm’s website must reflect the same harmony and welcoming feeling that will greet the prospective client when he walks through the door of the law firm. The office décor must be as welcoming as the receptionist who can acknowledge the prospective client by his first name. Beginning a meeting on time in a round table atmosphere can help a law firm connect with its prospective as well as its regular clients.

There are law firms that take special pride in their long history and they make their continuous existence as a law firm the selling point of their firm. A firm may be 100 years old and they may corner the market in experience, but if they do not adapt to the new trends introduced by computer and internet technology, they may find themselves unable to compete with newer firms with much less years of experience. A law firm will succeed first because of the quality of the legal service it can provide, but it can only offer the quality legal services to clients who will be interested enough to explore their website and actually meet with the lawyers face-to-face. A law firm will succeed when it rises to meet the changing demands of today’s internet-savvy consumers.

About Alan Weiss
Alan Weiss established aussiedivorce.com.au and criminallawyers-directory.com.au in 2005. In our vision, lengthy litigation will be a thing of the past, and well-prepared parties will engineer the way to a speedy resolution. Our criminal lawyers Sydney and Criminal lawyer Melbourne can advise you on your legal rights, whether your charged by the Police or have a legal question that you need our assistance.