How can KPIs help you improve client communication?
By Charlie Britten
16 Aug 2019
Your clients will have numerous expectations when they come to you with a case. They expect you to offer legal knowledge and expertise, be able to provide advice on the right decisions to take and ensure their interests are fully represented.
All that will be central to the role of any solicitor or barrister as they handle a case and look to progress it in a way that is favourable to their client.
However, while your work may meet all the regulatory standards and provide your clients with a technical service, sometimes firms can overlook just how important good communication is.
Poor communication is a real problem
While you know that you are getting on with the job, your client may be unsure what stage things have reached. Alternatively, you might know exactly what a situation is, but your client will not understand the finer points of it. They would appreciate things being explained in simple terms that those without legal expertise can easily understand.
Without knowing clearly what is going on, your clients may suffer unnecessary worry and anxiety about their case. By keeping in touch, law firms can offer reassurance that everything is under control and being handled correctly.
The LexusNexus Bellwether Report 2015 showed that while 80 per cent of lawyers felt they did a good job of keeping clients informed, Only 40 per cent of clients agreed. This indicates that the perception and reality are very different - and that creates an obvious danger for clients to be dissatisfied. This may, in turn, prompt them to look elsewhere for legal services in the future.
Understanding the importance of communication as part of the service is important, but how best can you achieve this?
Be SMART and make a difference with KPIs
Among the best ways to do so is the establishment of key performance indicators (KPIs) for your communication. These establish very clear standards and guides to when and how often you should communicate with your clients. In turn, they can prompt you to make sure that viable communication channels are created to help stay in touch.
Before you decide what your KPIs are, it is important to establish some important principles. The way to do this is to use SMART goals.
SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
This means you must be specific by setting a precise target, rather than something vague like "more of this” or "less of that”. To make it measurable, there must be some agreed description of what meeting the goal looks like. To be attainable and realistic, the goal must not be something you are unlikely to achieve that asks too much of you and your staff. Finally, it should be time-bound by having a deadline for when the goal should be met.
All this helps you to define what your KPIs should be, how to meet them and on what timescale. Once you have done that you decide what they should be.
A good example of a KPI could concern the progress of a case. It would stipulate that customers are given a weekly update or get told of any significant new development within 24 hours.
Another KPI could concern how swiftly queries sent by email are answered, while another should state that when an answer is given, the opportunity should be provided for the client to confirm they have understood everything or ask further questions if they have not.
The particular KPIs you apply may depend both on the nature of your work and who your clients are. There will be different KPIs for solicitors and barristers reflecting their respective roles, for instance.
If your area of law is likely to mean many of our clients have limited English language skills, the KPIs should concern the provision of translated documents so they can follow their cases more easily.
By measuring how well you are doing against your KPIs, you can establish examples of best practice to follow, as well as identifying areas where you can improve. At the same time, you can also assess whether your list of KPIs needs to be expanded, or if some of the KPIs are unnecessary.
Just as importantly, by including KPIs in your service, you can gain an edge on your competitors who may fall short in this area.
The marketing benefits of KPIs
All this can play an important role in your marketing strategy as well. You can use your content and social media to highlight how well you communicate with clients, as well as using your social media as an additional means of engaging with your customers and enabling them to find out more information.
The further benefit of this is that by keeping your customers happy, you can ensure they will be singing your praises to their friends, family and work colleagues. This is a very effective way of marketing your firm, as word-of-mouth recommendations from those without a vested interest are the most likely to be trusted.
How we can help
At BeUniqueness, we can help you develop a marketing strategy that can highlight what makes your firm stand out. If you are instituting KPIs for communicating with clients in order to give them a better service, this is something that can be used to show that your firm really is different from the norm.
Not only will that help you attract clients whose previous experience of dealing with law firms has been a frustrating one, but it will also reinforce the message that your clients are getting the very best service.