The recent release of the 2015 Year-End edition of the Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report has revealed several insights regarding the current state of corporate legal dynamics.
As we reported in a recent Business of Law Blog post, among the many revelations found in the latest report is this sobering fact: When it comes to engaging outside counsel for significant legal work, the majority of companies are not hiring new law firms.
This represents a double-edged sword for law firms – it’s good news for those with an existing relationship with a corporation, but decidedly disappointing for firms that are on the outside looking in.
With the CounselLink database showing that just 44 percent of corporations worked with a new law firm in 2015, the odds are clearly stacked against relationship-challenged providers of legal services.
All of which points to something we’ve been preaching about for some time now: law firms and the lawyers who work for them ignore effective relationship management at their peril. While we can’t take credit for discovering this truism, we nevertheless pride ourselves in the success of our efforts to help firms avoid problems associated with customer relationship neglect.
One of the ways we accomplish this is by developing tools specifically designed to make managing law firm customer relationships easy and effective. But, this post isn’t a product pitch, so we won’t go into details here. If you’re interested, you know where to go to learn more. What we want to offer instead, is the following checklist of key touch points that every customer relationship-savvy law firm and its employees should not only monitor, but also leverage, whenever possible.
Customer Relationship Touch Point Checklist
The points of contact between a law firm and its clients and potential clients are myriad and they often differ from one client to the next. Many of the touch points included on the following list are associated with traditional marketing efforts and these generally fall within the responsibilities of law firm marketing and/or business development professionals. The second grouping includes more personal and/or targeted interactions, which may originate with and/or involve lawyers and law firm staff.
Marketing Touch Points
- Ads (print, TV, radio, digital)
- Promotional email campaigns
- White papers
- By-lined articles
- Event sponsorships
Interpersonal Touch Points
- Incoming phone calls
- Outgoing phone calls
- Office reception
- Correspondence (letters, emails, invitations, etc.)
- Personal blogs
- Recruitment Interviews
- Guest lectures/presentations
- Social media profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
- Social media posts
- Club/association memberships
- Served banner ads
- Hosted events (firm-sponsored and personal)
- Awards/professional recognition
The new reality is that everyone employed by the law firm plays a role in its business development chain of custody these days. Like it or not, law firms and their employees are – or should be – “always on” when it comes to customer relationships. Managing those relationships successfully requires diligence in identifying and responding to opportunities associated with touch points, the determination to expend the time and effort required to nurture relationships and having a strategically sound, data-driven relationship management plan in place. It’s not a particularly painless exercise, but when it comes to enhancing a law firm’s prospects for continued success, it’s both necessary and rewarding.