“If there’s one reason we have done better than our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
Amazon is one of the most successful companies in the world. If you ask Jeff Bezos, their CEO why they have had so much success, he will tell you that one of the main reasons is Amazon’s obsession with their customers online experience. The customer centric culture at Amazon ensures that everyone at the company stays focused on the thing that matters most: their customers. Everything Amazon does, from their website, to their social media campaigns, to their mobile apps, are executed with the customer in mind. Amazon strives to insure that no matter the medium (web,mobile, social,email) the experience is consistent. This is known as omni channel marketing in the retail industry. Daniel Newman, the author of The New Rules of Customer Engagement wrote a column in Forbes in which he wrote. “With the rapid growth of digital consumption and what seems like daily proliferation of social media channels, marketers are faced with more choices than ever when considering how they want to reach the consumer. With each choice comes a certain amount of risk as marketers choosing to put a heavy investment in one channel may miss the untapped potential of another. This leaves a smaller margin for error as highly informed consumers have become acutely aware of how to seek out information, poll their networks and complete transactions across a plethora of interactive channels.”
What does this have to do with law firms you ask? Everything! Law firms for the most part, are not client centric organizations. Many claim to be focused on the needs of their clients, but when you look at their websites or what they are posting on social media, you can quickly tell that is not really the case. Most law firms websites are focused internally. (Our services, Our practice areas, Our lawyers, Our events). The majority of content published on social media is also all about the firm (i.e. a new hire, an award, a quote in the law journal). This is the biggest mistake law firms are making online. Instead of focusing on the needs and issues facing their clients, they choose to talk about themselves. Even the way they describe their services and practice areas are not client centric. For example, instead of listing a practice area as commercial litigation, they should be instead listing a service as “what to do when your company gets sued” or something to that effect. But the concept of client centricity goes beyond search engine rankings, website architecture and blog posts.
Lawyers need to start thinking of ways that they can add value to clients. Clients are looking for more than a good result. They are looking for a remarkable experience. As I have said and wrote before, people hire lawyers, not law firms. Lawyers need to develop the skills to provide an exceptional client experience both in the in-person and digital world. One of the best ways to do this is to have lawyers put themselves in the shoes of their clients. What are the issues they are facing? What keeps them up at night. How can you make their lives easier and provide assistance beyond your legal services. You need to anticipate the needs of your clients and to use this information as you develop your digital, content, and social media strategy.
Law firms and lawyers need to stop focusing on themselves and need to gain a better understanding of what it takes to provide value to their clients. Do as Jeff Bezos wrote, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”