The future of business is customer-centric. Especially after the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for companies to create meaningful customer interactions across all communication touchpoints and focus on engagement rather than aggressive self-promotion.
Customer expectations and needs have changed: people still want to save money and get the best quality, but they no longer wish to be “sold” products the traditional way. They expect more from brands. They want relevant interactions, personalized messages, and excellent customer service, no matter the industry. For some sectors, like retail, which has been customer-centric for years, this wasn’t a dramatic change. But, for the legal field, which has a not-so-great track record for customer service, the change was quite disruptive.
Why is customer service a problematic aspect of the legal industry?
When people think of law firms, good customer service doesn’t always come to mind. Rather, they think of being put on hold on the phone and about lawyers that only seem to care more about the cold hard facts of the case and less about how the client is feeling throughout what may be a distressing time of their life. In the past, law culture was just about legal skills. The strength of a law firm’s brand came only from the expertise of the lawyers themselves and their track record of success, and no one really cared about customer service. And that happened mostly because the staff consisted exclusively of lawyers – people who had the legal skills and expertise to win cases, but not the skills to offer client-centric experiences.
Now, this is beginning to change. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry is in the midst of a paradigm shift. If, in the past, the legal industry was one of the last to accept innovation, now, we see more and more law firms leveraging technology to offer better and more meaningful client experiences. It has become obvious that to stand out, law firms don’t just need to be effective and professional, but also human. Most of the time, when a person finds themselves in need of legal advice, they are in a difficult time of their life – such as when being sued or being involved in a car accident – and law firms need to be more mindful of that.
One much-awaited change is that law firms are starting to hire more specialized customer service personnel, but we should also point out that technology brought great improvements. By leveraging technology, law firms can save time and money while at the same time providing superior customer service. Here’s how:
Use social media to drive engagement
We use social media to stay in touch with friends but also to look for businesses and interact with them – including law firms. Although the legal field has traditionally been quite conservative and rejected the idea of social media, now, law firms are starting to be more flexible, set up profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and use them to stay in touch with clients.
Social media is a great way to provide quick customer service but also to “humanize” law firms. It creates a friendly environment where potential clients can schedule consultations, ask questions about the services offered or get a quick quote. In the past, these things were asked mostly in person or by phone. Now, millennials make up a considerable chunk of the market, and their hare for phone calls and unnecessary queues has long been documented. The sensitive details of the case are always discussed privately and in person but, for general questions, social media is the future of lawyer-client interaction.
Your blog can become a source of customer interaction
Customer service encompasses much more than scheduling appointments and replying to feedback. Customer service refers to all the assistance offered to clients, and this assistance can also come in the form of educational resources and case studies. Legal services can be complicated, and even today, there are many misconceptions on this topic: many people still don’t know what their rights are, how much a lawsuit costs on average, or what they should do after being involved in an accident.
Modern law firms are starting to change that by offering clients and potential clients informative and educational resources via their company blog. For example, they can teach them how to sue, what steps to take if they have suffered an injury as a result of someone else’s negligence or present them case studies to help them gain a better understanding of some legal processes.
In the past, such information was only passed down during specialized industry events that the average person didn’t have access to, or when the client had already decided to work with a law firm. Now, law firms understand that educating their audience is an excellent form of inbound marketing and that it can help attract more clients.
Incorporate AI chatbots into your website
Are you open on Saturdays?
What personal injury cases do you cover?
Can I schedule a meeting?
These are some of the questions people ask the most via the website’s contact form. It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to answer them, but the customer service department can receive hundreds of these messages every day, in addition to other tasks, so by the time they get to a message, the client may have already grown impatient or contacted another firm.
AI-powered chatbots can help with these minor requests. Artificial intelligence has evolved a lot in the past years, and they’re becoming increasingly good at understanding natural speech patterns. Thus, chatbots can be trained to schedule appointments and answer simple questions, while the more complicated requests are forwarded to a human representative. Chatbots are available 24/7, and they’re highly effective, which leads to higher satisfaction rates.
At present, it’s impossible for a chatbot to replace a lawyer and offer legal advice. However, chatbots can handle those small, tedious tasks that take up a lot of your staff’s time, such as referring clients to the right lawyer or telling them if they offer services in a certain area.