In early October, Actionstep ran its quarterly client and community event for Australia. The event focused on client experience and pricing innovation.

We looked at how protecting client relationships is more important than ever. Reputation, future business and potential referrals feed your firm. What can firms do to ensure clients have stellar experiences with your firm - even in stressful times?

We discussed what can firms do to create pricing models that create value for clients and firm profitability - without simply discounting. We looked at value based and other alternative pricing models.

We also had a special customer of Actionstep join to describe an alternative approach to legal services delivery - enabled by technology and innovative pricing. Chris Collinge of Bytherules discussed how innovation needs a clear vision and the right technology to enable it. Great communication, transparent pricing, and a personal client service approach remain at the centre of alternative models for legal service delivery.

Read our key takeaways from the event's speakers below.

David Hepburn, Global President, Actionstep

David mentioned some of the trends we are seeing across Actionstep’s userbase of law firms.

  • Find the oppotunity - Many law firms have figured out not just how to survive 2020 but how to find opportunity in this new normal and really thrive
  • Embrace the cloud - Firms are leveraging the cloud to facilitate collaboration with their teams. Previously the cloud was something that firms weren’t sure about. COVID has removed that barrier by necessity
  • Self-sufficiency - Lawyers (and everyone on their teams) have become more self-sufficient without the reliance on the “human glue” we may have been used to previously. Data quality and consistency is a major area of focus as a result. In many cases, with better data quality and the efficiency gains from self-sufficiency, law firm’s are delivering better client experiences today than ever before.

Jon Manning, Chief Pricing Experts, Pricing Prophets

Jon talked about service pricing and how to make this transparent for clients in order to increase perceived and actual value.

  • Take control of pricing - Firms are finding pressure from clients to do more for less. Take control of the pricing conversation. Work out the most typical sets of services that you provide and bundle them into service sets (packages) so clients can see what they can get for different prices. This reduces tyre-kicking and make enquiries more likely because people have context
  • Set expectations of value - Packages can be negotiable or change based on the project, but it gives clients a starting point and sets expectations of value. It also removes any questions about what you are doing for the fee!
  • Price what you can - If your services are very bespoke or complex, price what you can - even if it’s just for the very initial stages of the engagement. Alternatively, give a pricing range
  • For clients, certainty around pricing is really important – now more than ever
  • The devil is in the detail - Implementing value-based pricing is hard because it’s new for most firms. Start small and build on it.

Chris Collinge, Managing Director, Bytherules Conveyancing

Chris talked about Bytherules and their journey of growth & evolution. He provided some encouraging words to other firms who may be reassessing their business model.

  • Be clear about your goals - Plan for growth or it won’t happen – be ambitious. It’s not a straight line – expect to try a lot of different things, a lot of pivots, some mistakes before you get you where you want to be
  • Break the mould - Think about your operating model from the start and what you need to enable that. For BTR, there was no desire to have lots of big offices because cost effectiveness was a major goal. The work from home model was new in the market at the time. One of BTR’s key enablers was software. Client service was the thing that was going to make the difference between BTR and competitors.
  • Why Actionstep? -In 2014 BTR made the switch to Actionstep’s practice management software. This means BTR are able to run very prescriptive workflows for matters and client service (and everything else) across the firm so all the conveyancers, paralegals, project managers are all working in a consistent manner.
  • Keep Innovating & iterating – In 2017 BTR moved to a franchising model. This was tough to get the Queensland Law Society to agree to! But BTR persevered!
  • Only able to run the franchise system because of cloud-based techstack. Worked with WorkCloud to design the system to suit our model. BTR tweak and improve things all the time and consistently focus on client experience.
  • Tipping point in referrals - It used to be that 60-70% of new business came from search – now referrals making up 90% of new business. This reflects the quality of client experience and perceived value we deliver. Don’t compete on price, compete on service. This is the path to success and longevity.

Carl White, Chief Experience Officer, CXinLaw

Carl talked about the importance of client experience and who is responsible for it in a world where everyone knows what good service experiences feel like.

  • When you know, you know - Client experience is any moment where a professional service is experienced by its clients. We all understand what good service looks like and feels like
  • Apples and oranges - The comparison for your clients is not just how your firm compares to other law firms, it’s how your firm compares to other excellent experiences they have had with ANY service provider. This is because there has been a broadening of service expectations as people are more used to receiving data and updates about what they are buying.
  • Differentiate on service, not lawyering - There are plenty of lawyers and law firms to choose from. What’s your service promise? Every staff member should be responsible for bringing your service promise to life at every touchpoint. Lawyering alone is not good enough, aiming for client satisfaction is not good enough. Aim for delight. Turn clients into promoters. This is a motivational goal for your team!
  • Hospitality / law - You are in hospitality as much as you are in law. There are so many possible marginal gains to be made along the client journey from initial consideration of your firm through matter execution, billing and even debriefing after the matter is concluded. Do not “set and forget” client service– keep iterating and adding value to every client interaction.
  • Value team & client perspectives - Include your teams in the conversation about service at all levels, roles and functions. They see things partners or management don’t. Adopt the client perspective to inform improvements. The client’s opinion matters more than yours!
  • Complaints - Complaints typically don’t come from doing the law wrong, they come from doing service wrong!

View a recording of the event here:

Creating Client Value - Recording of Event

Written by Triona Saunders