How to Effectively Implement a Client Service Program

The global economy is fragile, clients are changing their purchasing behavior and there are more service provider options, including lower cost alternatives and increased legal competition.

To differentiate your firm and solidify and expand your most important client relationships, your firm is well advised to create a client service program for its most valued clients.

For your client service program to be productive and effective, it needs to fit into your firm’s overall vision and business plan.

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Once your program has been established, it can be implemented with a pilot phase and then full implementation.

-  Pilot program – First focus your client service program on one or two clients. Regularly review the process and evolve and refine it based on what you learn.

- For each client service team:

  • Purpose – Determine the purpose.
    • Why are you creating a client service program for your client?
    • How will your client service team better service your client?
    • What’s in it for your firm and each team member?
       
  • Team members – Determine your team members and their roles and responsibilities. In additional to your relationship lawyers, key billers and marketing team members, consider including researchers, paralegals and secretaries.
  • Resources – Determine your team resources. These may include a dashboard, access to real-time financial data, and real-time news updates.
  • Communications – Develop a plan for regular communications, including team meetings, at which you can share what you have learned from the clients. Also decided how the client feedback will be integrated into future client communications.
  •  Action plan – Create your action plan.
  • Client meetings – Think about client meetings and who will be responsible for them, including planning, implementing, sharing any feedback and ensuring that the feedback is integrated into the client plan. In addition to regular client matter meetings, meetings to deepen client relationships should include:
    • Client feedback interview
    • Needs assessment meetings
    • Thank-you meetings
  • Determine what success looks like, such as:
    • Strengthened communications between your client team lawyers and the client. This will permit your lawyers to become better informed and to anticipate the client’s needs, resulting in better client service and, hopefully, in greater client revenue.
    • Increased client satisfaction and loyalty, resulting in client institutionalization.

Purposeful marketing activities leading to increased client business.
 
-  Expand – After your pilot program has been tested and the kinks have been worked out, expand the program to two to five clients. Review and refine the process as needed.

-  Internal marketing – Promote the success for your client service teams. This will increase buy-in and participation from across your firm.

Successful client teams not only lead to enhanced client relationships, institutional clients and client matter growth but also to a deeper understanding of your clients’ industry needs and trends. This may lead to developing and deepening relationships other clients (and more client service teams).

By Helena Lawrence, Senior Marketing & Business Development Manager, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP for the November/December 2015 Issue of the Capital Ideas Newsletter

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