In the professional services game, you’re only as good as your last review. Harsh as that may seem, it’s a growing reality that legal firms are grappling with. Prospective customers are increasingly reaching out to their peers, browsing review sites and engaging Facebook communities to find a recommended law firm. In a recent Forbes article, it states that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as their friends’ and families’ recommendations. Almost 70% of consumers are more likely to use a local business with positive reviews, while 40% of consumers said they would avoid local businesses that have negative reviews.

The digital era has amplified word-of-mouth to epic proportions. Which of course is great news if your customer experience is top notch! But what if its not? Consider the last 10 customers you’ve billed – would they all give your firm a glowing recommendation?

Below we’ve compiled a checklist of customer expectations in 2018. And while there are many more personal touches that can add that special sauce to the customer journey, doing these things well will win you those valuable 5-star reviews.

Web Form Inquiries
Making that first engagement easy and stress-free for prospective customers is super important. Many clients prefer to complete web inquiry forms, rather than pick up the phone, and it gives your firm a chance to collect important information about the matter at hand. For a litigation firm, is it a DUI or personal injury claim? Who was at fault? For an estate planning practice, is it an amendment to an existing will or a new will? Not only can you gather valuable information from a web form, it frees you up from long drawn out phone conversations and gives your clients an opportunity to tell their story in a non-confrontational setting.

Know Your Clients’ Case Details
You may think you’re able to keep all the details of each matter in your head, but here’s the acid test - what if your paralegal picks up the call? Or another lawyer within your firm? Are they able to efficiently deal with the client’s inquiry on the spot, or are you on the treadmill of returning calls? Having smart legal software that guides your legal matters through a journey to conclusion means a single source of truth, no matter who deals with the client inquiry. Ensuring everyone in your team is clear about what’s been done, and what the next step in the process is, can save you hours of time and means your client has a smooth and frictionless experience with your firm.

Client Self-Service
Encourage your clients to continue to interact with your firm via digital methods. Perhaps they’re gathering evidence via emails and text messages. Providing an online portal allows them to upload, edit and read documents that relate to their case whenever it suits them. It’s a secure and encrypted way to confidentially share documents without the need to email documentation back and forth, and it saves you time sorting through and filing attachments from your bulging email inbox.

Keep Clients Informed
The journey through a legal process can be a traumatic and stressful time for your client. Proactively keeping them informed every step of the way helps reduce the volume of email and phone correspondence, freeing up your time to progress the matter through to its conclusion. With the help of smart practice management software, you can automate this process with a triggered email when a client’s matter progresses to the next stage in their journey.

In summary, smart legal automation is enabling a new generation of law firms to deliver 5-star experiences by removing the friction from the lawyer/client communication loop, resulting in a more productive firm with happier clients.

If you're considering a new software purchase for your firm, be sure to first read the 7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Selecting Legal Practice Management Software.

At Actionstep, we’ve been in the business of making lawyers’ lives easier with world-class, legal practice management software for 14 years. We’re a market leader in delivering innovative, cloud-based legal automation and we’re not stopping anytime soon. If you’d like to learn more about how Actionstep can help your firm adopt smarter legal automation, please request a demo and we’ll be in touch.

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