The first Legal Futures From Click 2 Client Conference (sponsored by NatWest and mmadigital) took place last year and I was privileged to be invited to speak at it on the topic of making the best of social media. I thoroughly enjoyed that conference and returned to this year’s event as an eager delegate.
Last year I said:-
I have been a bit critical of late of legal technology and legal futurist conferences that are looking far into the future and not concentrating on what can actually be achieved by law firms here and now. It is refreshing therefore to see the programme for Legal Futures’ next event: The NatWest mmadigital From Click to Client Conference … when you look at the line up it is on the whole real coal face practitioners who have actually been using online technology to improve their businesses. Other lawyers can learn a lot from these pioneers. It is not pie in the sky stuff about what we might or might not be doing in 2034 (I hope to have retired by then!).
Again this was thankfully true of this year’s conference on 7th July which had the tagline “how to win business online”. Other legal conference organisers could learn a thing or two from Neil Rose on how to programme an enjoyable, practical and thought provoking conference. One that undoubtedly gives those attending real life examples of what they can actually implement to improve their law firms.
The conference began with a plenary debate providing an overview of the key issues facing legal service providers in developing a digital strategy. Speakers included Russell Atkinson of National Accident Helpline, Mark Montgomery of myhomemove, Sucheet Amin of Aequitas Legal and Hakim Mendjeli of RBS/NatWest. Key points were:-
- 2020 might see us back in recession. Window of opportunity for law firms before that. Confidence now strong.
- Only thing in life that is constant is change.
- 37% of global search is on games console.
- Leveraging memorability important in legal marketing.
- Trust and recognition drives performance metrics.
- Social media increasingly important for new leads. Overtaken digital display marketing.
- Customers won’t excuse you for being a law firm!
- As Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon said: “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
- 75% of all support contacts on Kindle Fire are through ‘Mayday’.
- Resistance to video chat is dropping all the time. Video chat good for some things but not all. Maybe initial meetings and co-browsing to better explain things? (I will be looking at video chat in more detail in a future post on this blog).
- Video ‘how to’ guides becoming very popular on the web for all sorts of things.
- Myhomemove = 21 days faster than competition in progressing conveyancing transactions.
- Shift from online ‘processing’ to online ‘engagement’.
- Development of mobile applications must include many things that you wouldn’t conventionally expect mobile to be used for.
- Websites must grab attention quickly. DIY not a good idea. Constant review and update necessary.
- Importance now placed by Google on responsive sites.
- No point competing in main arena with big boys in personal injury for Adwords. Would need millions of pounds. Instead go niche.
- If you compete using your local area, you can have the opportunity of showing on search results.
- If a small practice then concentrate on your locality for search terms.
- Significant parts of the market prefer local services over national ones.
- Cost of advertising on Facebook is low and can be very targeted.
- Customers expectations have changed: want it to be simple, whenever they want, wherever they want and they won’t waste their time.
- Why aren’t you more proactive?
- The way successful companies do business has changed too: easy to deal with, great customer experience, innovation, consumer centric.
- Develop your services for the platforms your customers use.
- RBS first UK bank to offer TouchID. Add little things to improve customer service and experience.
- To create the right services in a digital world, you need to adapt the way you work: Test and learn, design thinking, functions, talent, culture, operating model, digital transformation, breaking silos.
- It’s not only about digital channels but brand.
- Focus on what matters: helping customers with their needs.
- Trust is earned by informed service.
- Reviews important for feedback and information. Helps enhance your service.
So a lot of useful stuff packed into that first session. We then had a commercial break when we heard from the conference sponsors.
Converge, who provide cloud hosting for law firms, hit three tennis balls into the audience with those catching one winning a bottle of Champagne:-
Converge also provided Champagne and Strawberries to all delegates that wanted some during the lunch time break, which was a very nice touch.
Next up was a digital marketing masterclass by Dez Derry and other members of his team from mmadigital. Their key points were:-
- One third of all online activity is spent watching video.
- 50% of users are watching business videos online.
- UK consumers are used to watching good quality content.
- Facebook are introducing video this year.
- Publishers want more sales but the user wants engaging, persuasive content.
- You need to strike a balance: Avoid direct ‘sales pitch’, identify/satisfy user need state and produce great content, built from the user’s objectives.
- Top 5 tips: (1) Budget (agree the cost and be honest with the resource you can commit), (2) Good Quality (lighting, angles and sound are key to good production), (3) Create for Need State (content that will engage your audience), (4) Why (If audience get why you do what you do, they will buy into you more), (4) Length is not important (concentrate on creating engaging, quality content that your audience will love!).
- Purpose of video varies: to educate, to provide self help, to provide reassurance during the ‘buying process’.
- You can spend £1 a day on Facebook advertising and still get results.
- Twitter targeting has come on leaps and bounds… you can now even target users who are watching specific TV shows.
- Retargeting pulls back lost customers, raises brand awareness, hits the perfect audience.
- Tone of voice needs to be different on different social media platforms.
- What is the key to going viral: emotion, social proof, practical value, stories. Also rich media, trending topics, humour, shock, influencers and a little bit of luck!
- what you should post on social media: 30% owned, 60% curated, 10% professional.
- Simplifying contact forms can increase completion of them.
- Top tips: Page loading time, don’t force unnecessary steps, content length, add video and optimise for mobile.
As an example of good video advertising they showed this one from The Lincoln Motor Company:-
I reckon the budget for something similar would be outwith the reach of most law firms! They also showed a video by Stephensons Solicitors:-
But I thought that length does really matter and that video could have been a tad shorter and still conveyed the same message.
I have looked at videos by lawyers before on this blog with specific reference to QualitySolicitors TV advertising.
Before we broke for lunch Neil Rose pointed out that the more successful law firms use external advisers. Then it was time for a very nice lunch washed down with some of that Champagne courtesy of Converge!
After lunch we were onto ‘Before the last click’ with Duncan Watts of Google. Although Duncan did stress it was about before and after the last click that digital was important for marketers. Duncan’s presentation was packed full of statistics and useful information. It was difficult to keep up with his pace as he packed as much as he could into his allotted 30 minute slot. This could easily have been a half day master class. Google had carried out a Google consumer survey on finding a lawyer. In the survey they asked “In a couple of words, what’s the most important consideration for you when selecting a lawyer?” An interesting word cloud was produced of the answers:-
We found out that 35.6% of business customers would search online for a lawyer and 31.1% of personal customers would do likewise. 78.2% of businesses customers using the internet to find a lawyer would research the internet extensively and contact more than one lawyer. Of the personal customers searching online to find a lawyer 47.8% would research extensively online before contacting more than one lawyer with 39.7% contacting just one lawyer following such extensive research. I have blogged in the past on ‘Do clients search for a lawyer?‘
Duncan introduced us to a simple framework for thinking about client journeys, your content, marketing and measurement of success. You need to see, think, do and care.
Next up was ‘The ringing phone’ with Professor Ian Cooper. As Neil Rose put it:-
There is a risk, however, of putting so much effort into getting the phone to ring in the first place [what all the previous sessions were all about] that not enough focus is placed on what to do when a member of staff picks up the receiver.
Ian Cooper was here to point us in the right direction and started by telling us how much we were potentially losing and could be adding to our bottom line by converting calls into actual business. Like Google he too had carried out a survey but his survey involved simply phoning 254 law firms. Key findings from his survey were:-
- In 39% of all calls nobody was immediately available.
- 48% of call handlers failed to introduce themselves.
- In over a third of all calls neither party knew who they were talking to!
- 12% of calls never got past switchboard – with the switchboard often providing a quote.
- In 87% of all calls there was no attempt at any rapport or conversation.
- Only 19% offered a written follow up and 38% broke their promise or sent a poor response.
- In 97% of all calls the call handler did not ask the caller if they would like to go ahead!
In discussions with law firms over these issues 90% of call handlers admit that they either don’t actively like handling enquiries or are not very good at it. 85% of law firms have not given call handlers any relevant training.
Ian Cooper has developed a five step system to counter these issues which really involves doing all the things many of the call handlers did not do in the above examples.
Neil Rose again:-
Even once a client is signed up, it will be of no surprise to anyone here to learn that some firms could improve the way they handle this fragile relationship, and we will finish the day with a panel who will provide insight into current best practice.
Jon Whittle of LexisNexis pointed out that the Bellweather Report 2015 disclosed that 80% of lawyers believe their service is “above average” but only 40% of clients agree. Clients rank regular updates on progress at 2 but lawyers rank it at 10. There are five ingredients of successful client service:
- smart servicing.
- smart support.
- smart thinking.
- smart working.
- smart processes.
Smart working is about being where your client wants you to be. Smart firms are focused on giving the client what they genuinely want and not what the firm thinks they should get.
Chris Marston, Chief Executive of LawNet, which recently examined 25,000 client satisfaction questionnaires, showed us a video (which is well worth a watch):-
Chris referred to many law firm partners being more like sole practitioners doing their own thing. Why do law firms close at lunchtime when most clients probably would prefer to contact them? Does your office look like this?:-
And what are your toilets like? For a discussion on law firm toilets do read ‘Law firm toilets: a critical reflection‘. At my law firm, Inksters, we take toilet appearance very seriously even down to the detail of bespoke signage! David Gilroy has inspected them and they passed his test with flying colours 😉
Ed Fletcher of Fletchers compared client satisfaction to satisfying your wife! You think she is satisfied with you but she probably isn’t. Think about that analogy the next time you are providing a legal service to your clients.
Lauren Riley, Founder of TheLinkApp and former Apprentice contestant, was also on the final panel discussion of the day. I will be interested in giving her App a whirl and reviewing it on The Time Blawg when the Windows version is released 😉
Joanna Swash of Moneypenny told us about the little things that matter to employees: At Moneypenny they increase employee satisfaction with an ice cream van in their car park on a hot day. At Inksters we have Pinkster Gin at 5pm on the last Friday of every month! On the topic of gin the conference came to a close with a networking drinks reception. As always a good time to catch up with contacts old and new.
Was anything missing from the conference? Julian Summerhayes watching proceedings via Twitter had tweeted:-
— Julian Summerhayes (@Ju_Summerhayes) July 7, 2015
Now in my review of the recent Legal Practice Management Conference I had mentioned Periscope being touted as the next big thing. Indeed called there a “game changer” and “the biggest thing since YouTube”. Clearly no one at the Click 2 Client conference thought so. Perhaps next year we will see a dedicated Periscope (and what about competitor Meerkat?) session if it has not gone the way of Google Glass by then! In the meantime, like TheLinkApp, both Periscope and Meerkat are crying out for a Windows App. Having paid a reported $100 million for Periscope in March 2015 Twitter may not have enough cash in the kitty to develop such an App meantime 😉
Last year Legal Futures had a digital magician at the Click 2 Client conference. That was fun. I hope they bring him back next year. Do look out for next year’s Click 2 Client conference which I hope will happen. It really is a conference packed with insights and ideas for today. It is not to be mistaken for the futurist legal conferences that are more about life on Mars than how to actually win business online now.
For all future events organised by Legal Futures click 2 Legal Futures Events