In Order To Survive, Law Firms Must Prioritize Customer Satisfaction
When faced with a threat, businesses do one of two things. They deny the threat exists (until it’s too late) or they face it head on and innovate to survive. Typically, the bigger and older the business, the greater the denial and unwillingness to change. Turning a big, heavy ship after all, is far more challenging than turning around a small sailboat. But to survive a reckoning, all boats must turn eventually.
I believe this reckoning is happening now in the legal world. Delighting the customer has become a standard thanks to the new ways in which we buy goods and services. I’m not talking about service with a smile and branded water bottles. This is bigger.
Our clients expect more from us than hours billed on work done. They expect intelligent use of resources to help them solve their legal and business challenges.
In today’s law firm model, the attorney is encouraged to bill as many hours as possible. That means their focus is on how much work they can do per client and keeping track of every last minute. It doesn’t matter if the work isn’t results-producing or even necessary. If it can be justified, and therefore billed, it’ll be done. The more hours each attorney bills, the more profitable the law firm, and the larger the bonus for the attorney.
The critical piece left out of this equation is the outcome. If we take away the minimum hours billed requirement (most law firms have them), and instead asked attorneys to focus on getting a positive outcome for the client, what would that mean?
You might think that means a revenue drain on your law firm. Truthfully, you might be right at the onset. But while hours billed decreases, and focus on client outcomes increases, you’ll be surprised to find that both revenue and profit rebound, and grow. The new revenue is coming from now loyal, repeat clients and their referrals.
And, in the case of Nimbus Legal, the firm that piloted the Auxana Outsourced GC model, the creation of a long-term business relationship, recurring revenue, and value-add for (here’s the kicker) both the attorney and the company. This is about aligning economic and business interests from the outset of the relationship.
This is what we’re describing when we talk about intelligent use of resources at Auxana. It’s simply the act of using your clients’ time and budget as intelligently and efficiently as possible. Attorneys who are less concerned about hours, and more concerned about client outcomes not only produce better, more creative work with less waste, but they show their clients that they truly do take the clients’ needs seriously.