A poor client experience is costing law firms £thousands. Law firms are quite good at looking
after their bigger and longer standing clients, however, the handling of new opportunities
and managing their wider client base does not typically get the time and focus it warrants.
Law firms that don’t have basic processes in place to ensure a consistent client-focused
approach is losing significant fee income as a result. Let me illustrate.
A ‘typical’ £10M turnover full-service law firm will be generating in the region of 200 new
opportunities a month; that’s 2,400 opportunities per year.
Research by insight6 shows that at least 25% of these opportunities are ‘lost’ at the very
outset. What I mean by ‘lost’ is that the firm doesn’t give itself the chance to convert the
opportunity e.g. they don’t reply to the web enquiry, they don’t call back when a message is
left, they don’t reply quickly enough.
Therefore, of your 200 opportunities that you’ve worked hard to generate this month, 50
are ‘lost’ to you immediately.
Assuming you convert just 30% of opportunities to clients; that equates to 15 clients you are
losing each month. If the ‘average’ income you generate from each client is just £650, that’s
£9,750 per month or £117,000 a year ‘lost’ simply by not following up or responding to
opportunities. The assumptions I have used are on the low side, which means the ‘cost’ is
actually much higher in reality.
What can you do to address this?
The good news is that this is an issue that you can easily fix. There are many steps you can
take to put a better opportunity handling process in place to ensure you convert more of
your existing opportunities. I’ve included my top 10 below.
- Capture and record all opportunities centrally.
- Regularly check that your process works e.g. phone the switchboard out of hours or
during lunchtime, send in a website enquiry etc. This is not to catch people out, but
to enable you to know that you have the right people, processes and skills in place.
- Set up a regular (weekly) ‘new client alert’ that goes to the whole firm.
- Train your opportunity handling team (e.g. call handlers, receptionists, people
attending networking events, people handling web enquiries).
- Ask your opportunity handling team what things are making it harder for them to
follow up opportunities e.g. processes, systems, lack of know-how and/or skills etc.
- Empower your opportunity handling team to ‘do what it takes’ to help them help the
people making the enquiries.
- Map your client journeys through all channels and teams and document your ‘happy
- Don’t assume, ask. Whether it’s a formal or informal approach – make sure you are
getting client feedback. If you don’t ask, you won’t learn.
- Invest in the skills and know-how of all your people: skills + know-how = confidence.
- Measure, report and refine – measure what matters, make changes to your
processes and activities based on the results.
Ultimately this is about looking at things from your prospective clients’ perspective. You
want (and need) to create a buying experience for your client that solves the challenges
they need to address. And it starts by making yourselves easy to deal with, responsive and
About the author
Clare Fanner is a legal sector marketing specialist who works exclusively within the legal
sector. Prior to setting up her legal sector marketing consultancy, Clare was the marketing
director for two mid-sized regional law firms, including one UK Top 100 law firm.
With a strategic approach and a “roll, her sleeves up” attitude Clare has worked with
numerous law firms on a range of projects. Clare is the co-founder of LegalCX, the regional
conferences focused on helping law firms get the know-how, skills and confidence to
improve their client experience and improve their bottom line as a result.