Legal Trends Report Emphasizes Client Satisfaction

client satisfaction“We start with the customer, and work backwards.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

With a decade of candles shining brightly on its birthday cake, legal practice management software company Clio continues to show it is a leader in legal innovation. But ask anyone at Clio if that defines them, and you’ll likely get an answer beyond being just a “legal technology company.” Clio defines its mission as “changing the practice of law, for good,” with “for good” intentionally carrying a double meaning of “improvement” and “permanency.”

At its 6th annual Clio Cloud Conference, which met last week (October 3-6, 2018) in New Orleans, Clio’s co-founder and CEO Jack Newton released and reviewed its Legal Trends Report, a benchmark for the state of the legal profession in the United States using various key performance indicators (KPIs). The Report has become an anticipated guidepost as to how data-driven lawyers and law firms can better run their practice to improve performance.

Data-Driven Lawyers

The Legal Trends Report comes from anonymized and aggregated statistics across Clio’s US-based customers of some 60,000 law firms in the United States. Newton explains, “We’re able to take advantage of the fact that there’s $4 billion a year of billing volume that flows through Clio that we have an unbelievable opportunity to generate insights, including basic insights like what are the average billing rates per practice area, what are average billing rates per geography, what are billing rates for lawyers and non-lawyers alike across the entire United States and how are those KPIs trending over time.”

This year’s Report further details the responses of legal consumers (i.e. clients) in their expectations and satisfaction of service (or value) delivered. It turns out there is a significant divide between lawyers’ perceptions of client expectations and clients’ actual expectations of legal services. And it all starts with how attorneys and clients communicate – in person, over the phone, via email, etc.

For example:

  • Only 3% of legal professionals expect clients to want to tell them details of their matter in person, yet this is the preference for 70% of clients.
  • Only 2% of legal professionals expect clients to want to make appointments over the phone, yet this is the preference for 59% of clients.

Findings from the report also show that those who have dealt with a legal issue in the past two years are more open to working with virtual lawyers, never meeting their lawyer in person, and working through more advanced technologies that include AI and chatbots. Those who prefer not to work with lawyers are even more likely to be open to new alternatives for legal services.

“Since getting new clients is at the center of how lawyers will ultimately grow their firms, we dedicated this year’s research to better understanding what clients really want from their lawyers,” Newton added in his keynote presentation in New Orleans.

Measuring Client Satisfaction

Part of the client satisfaction evaluation is how likely are past clients to refer a lawyer to future clients. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular tool to measure just that. Client referrals and attorney reviews are KPIs for how law firms gain new and repeat business. It’s a basis of their brand reputation and goodwill.

The NPS asks clients, on a scale from zero to ten based on your overall experience with law firm XYZ, how likely would you be to recommend it to a friend or colleague. The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of people that say 8, 9 or 10, from the percentage of people that say, 0 to 6, and those are your promoters minus your detractors and that gives you a percentage – your NPS – which can range from -100 to 100.

Additionally, an open-ended question should be asked as to why you rated the firm or legal services in the manner you did. This can provide the valuable feedback as to where you might be lacking, in need of a correction, or a complete overhaul in how you serve your consumers.

A critical component to this NPS assessment shows that 23% of consumers fall into the “Detractor” category representing unhappy clients who are likely to dissuade others from hiring their lawyer. When looking at what factors influence overall NPS, cost is a major factor as well as bedside manner and the overall ease of working with a law firm.

Client Follow-Up

Do you know your NPS? Or, be honest, did you even know what NPS stands for? Do you have any form of follow-up, survey or otherwise, with your clients at the end of their case(s)? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.

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Mark C. Palmer

Mark C. Palmer

As Professionalism Counsel, Mark leads professionalism programming through the statewide mentoring program, collaborating with stakeholders from Galena to Cairo. Mark also supports the development and delivery of educational programming to lawyers and in law schools. When not in the office, you will likely find Mark and his wife busy raising their twin daughters, enjoying his passion of traveling and eating around the world, and training for his next half marathon.
Mark C. Palmer

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