In a recent Forbes article, What Recent Axiom, Deloitte, And UnitedLex Announcements Reveal About Law’s Future, Axiom’s new CEO, David McVeigh, says he intends to focus on Axiom’s clients in a way that’s new to law, utilizing net promoter scores (NPS) and other measures of client satisfaction.
“We are going to bake that customer-centricity into the marketplace model, making performance feedback from client engagements a big portion of legal talent profiles to better enable the lawyer selection and mapping process for clients. It’s a win not only for clients but also for our lawyers who will benefit from well-matched, productive, and challenging engagements,” said Mr McVeigh.
McVeigh’s vision is for a legal market where clients have the ability to pick and choose who they want on their legal team.
“My vision is to make Axiom into an enterprise legal marketplace where customers can seamlessly engage high caliber lawyers, finding the most appropriate and diverse legal talent to match their needs in terms of skillset, experience, and commercial acumen. Our significant investment in technology, including our Axiom for Talent lawyer platform, will enable that vision to become a reality soon. But it’s not just the technology that will enable that new reality – it’s the evolving industry perspective. The Covid economy has removed the on-site bias from legal, meaning clients can focus on finding the right talent, not just the ‘right here’ talent,” said Mr McVeigh.
McVeigh’s vision implies a radical shift in how law firms have traditionally done business – from a partner-led command and control model to one where power is shared between the partners, clients and employees. Under the open marketplace model, clients self-select the legal team they want, based on what they know about the firm.
What does this mean for your firm? Well, it’s a bit like an open for inspection, except it’s your firm on display, not your house. Here’s what you need to do to get your house in order.
Vision & Commitment from Leaders
Partners are the firm’s shareholders and custodians of the brand. So, without putting too fine a point on it, the buck still (and always) stops with you. The new approach put forward by McVeigh requires a shift in mindset, from command and control to stewardship.
Firm leaders must have an intimate understanding of the client experience so you know how to steer the firm towards your true “CX north”. But to successfully navigate, you need a map of where you’re going and insights, which act as a compass, helping you to stay on track.
For these reasons, you need a clearly defined CX program (good intentions are nice but you won’t travel far).
To kick start the CX initiative with firm leaders, we run a Leading CX Workshop, designed to help law firm leaders build:
- A clearly defined vision, objectives and metrics for the CX program, endorsed by the leadership team
- A shared understanding and commitment to the CX program from the firm’s leaders
- A list of CX priorities/opportunities for quick wins
Once the leadership team is aligned, you’re ready to start the CX conversation with the team and clients.
Engage the Team
For employees, technical legal skills are only half the picture. If McVeigh’s vision is accurate, clients will be empowered to pick and choose their own legal team. This means employees will play a bigger role in how the firm wins and retains business.
The first step is to engage your team in the conversation about CX. They must understand their role and influence in delivering winning new business and delivering an exceptional client experience. To help firms achieve this we run an Activate CX team workshop to explore the client journey and discuss how every member of the team has a vital role to play in delivering an exceptional client experience.
Once the team understand the critical role they play, we work with you to embed CX as part of your firm’s culture, using data-led insights to inform, educate and influence your team to deliver exceptional CX.
Understand Your Clients
Without clients, there is no client experience. To master your client experience, you need a clear picture of your clients’ pathway to doing business with your firm – from newcomer to advocate. But client relationships aren’t just driven by process. To truly understand your clients, you must perceive and empathise with their mindset and emotional drivers too.
Elements of your firm’s client and legal service can become normalized, which embeds them into your culture. It’s a bit like walking past the chipped paint on your front door – after a while, you just don’t notice it. And, since COVID, most clients make a virtual entry to your firm through digital channels, which are a whole new frontier you probably haven’t walked through yourself to see how it feels.
That’s why it’s critical to map your client’s experience. To use the open house analogy, it means you take a walk through the firm from all entry and exit points, looking for hotspots and areas where the business is ‘leaking’ opportunities to be more profitable and deliver a better experience. This is a valuable exercise that ultimately helps you build a better, more profitable firm.
Mapping the Client Journey
Innovate with Intent
Finally, McVeigh talks about clients having more choice in an open and transparent legal market, which means you need to work out how to attract clients to bid for your firm. This is where client insights play a vital role in helping you pinpoint how to deliver the most compelling offer.
We use design workshops to help law firms innovate through the lens of winning new business, building a stronger reputation and delivering an exceptional client experience. We use insights from the firm’s leaders, team, clients and systems to underpin these decisions. Innovation for the sake of innovation isn’t the end game – it must be aligned to the firm’s business goals.
By taking a ‘whole of firm’ approach to CX, your firm will be ready to make the shift from the traditional ‘command and control’ approach to a more transparent and customer-driven approach to winning and nurturing clients.
Client Focus is the Critical Link between Innovation & Success