How to reassure clients that you can provide quality remote services

With law firm profitability falling in the wake of COVID, even amongst the top 100 companies, remote services are becoming an essential life-line. But how can law firms big and small give clients confidence in their offerings?

With law firm profitability falling in the wake of COVID, even amongst the top 100 companies, remote services are becoming an essential life-line. But how can law firms big and small give clients confidence in their offerings?

A core aspect is displaying a digital mindset. All businesses should be considering this precisely because customers don’t think about it. They expect it.

This is more than just using the digital marketplace to bring in new clients. It’s a branding exercise. A way of showing clients that you’ve embraced the shift online. That even if you’re a hundred miles away, you’re receptive to the new technology and tools that make remote services possible (and even desirable).
 

What legal can learn from banking

Look to healthcare and banking for inspiration. Both professional sectors running on sensitive data. Now, in a few taps, you can consult with a GP on your phone, or crack open an app and apply for a mortgage without speaking to a soul.

The surge in mobile and online banking use, particularly in the over-60s, should be of interest.  According to a study from MasterCard, there are three clear reasons for this.
  • Ease of use
65% said using a banking app or site was simple.
  • Speed
61% said digital banking was quicker than the traditional face-to-face and paper-based service.
  • Safety
30% said it was a safer option during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Law firms can learn from this when offering remote services that are valuable and, given recent trends, sustainable.
 

Where your law firm can focus

  • Security

Many years ago, you used to be able to order items from Amazon and send them a cheque. Perhaps you still can. The reason for this wasn’t just an additional revenue stream, but a way to counter objections from customers new to online shopping, who distrusted putting in their card details online. You can still buy throwaway credit cards topped up like pay-as-you-go phones for this reason.

Consider the rising use in remote banking services. Either users must trust that financial institutions will keep their digital data secure, or they don’t care – something we know isn’t the case, if only given the way we guard our PIN numbers with our very lives.

Law firms have the same advantage as banks here. Just as a bank completely owns (and won’t share) someone’s confidential account details, you have total ownership of a client’s case data. You can push a strong, if not explicit, message of security.

GDPR rules already mean you must safely store data. Popular video-calling software is encrypted by default. No successful business uses unsecure websites and networks. And so on and so on.

Most practices will already operating on a security-first basis, it’s lawful and it’s best practice. You just need to reassure potential clients that you take online security and confidentiality seriously.

Remember to assess and swiftly plug any security gaps you might have elsewhere in the business. If you’re working remotely, too, you and your client should both have confidence in your home set-up, too.
 
  • Convenience

Simplicity is key to digital success. Especially in a sector like law, where complexities and complications and confusing legalese can send even the hardiest client into a tailspin.

There’s a reason why we all make Zoom calls these days. Or Dropbox documents. The most popular remote service platforms are the ones that easiest to use. In fact, the most popular anything on the internet will almost always be the easiest to use. Google, Amazon, TikTok, PayPal…

Do whatever you can to make contacting you anywhere online simple. Facebook ad’s short forms are a really good example of making it quick and easy for clients to get in touch with businesses, for example.

Websites should be accessible and intuitive to navigate. Instructions and calls-to-action should be succinct and clear – take your cues from Good Microcopy, which champions brevity and clarity.

You know yourself, clients for many of your legal services will be older. But when 65% of over-60s in the UK – a demographic not known for embracing new technology – believe using online banking services is easy, then banks are doing something right. And law firms should be studying what that is and applying it to their own remote offerings.

Build on this theme of ‘simplicity’ by publishing expert blogs and videos that answer questions clients may have about you and demystifies legal processes (and helps you rank on Google, too). It’s an excellent tool to brand your firm as supportive and understanding.
 
  • Self-service

The shift online has made us a little less cautious in engaging in remote services – not least because in some cases it was necessary. In a recent report from IRN Research into legal consumer trends, it showed 59% now willing to use a lawyer anywhere in the country, and 10% now regularly use review and comparison sites like The Law Superstore.

Elsewhere, consumers’ independent streak is on display. 89% of millennials search online before calling a company for help. And 70% of customers prefer getting answers from a company’s website, rather than calling or emailing.

Little surprise, then, that the conversation has turned to self-service.

The ability to find the answers they want, and manage their own cases online as they would their car insurance or bank accounts.

An in-depth study into referrals from US legal research firm Acritas showed that expertise was the prime reason a client refers others to a firm. Service – specifically responsiveness, availability, and accessibility – came second in an analysis of 50,000 reasons given by clients on why they referred a particular law firm.

Investing in a secure self-service portal for clients shows serious commitment to remote service offerings. It establishes trust, builds those relationships, demonstrates your expertise all in one. That it refines the customer experience is the real benefit.
 
  • Your website

Let’s say you’ve found a business with a website that doesn’t correctly display on your phone.
Would you necessarily trust them to undertake a service remotely?

Or would you expect it to be a series of technical faults and apologies because ‘I just can’t seem to get it working’?

Your website is one of the first places a potential client is going to visit when they’re looking for legal services. They want to get a feel for your firm. Your experience. Your expertise. How you’ll treat them. 

75% of visitors judge a business’s credibility based on their website.

Clients aren’t just looking for reviews and testimonials. They’re trying to build a human connection – a factor The Law Superstore users tell us strongly informs their decision when selecting a legal expert. They want the offline experience online.

Your website is an excellent indicator of value and a way to cultivate trust long before you meet the client.
This is one of the reasons why partners join The Law Superstore panel. Each partner on the platform has a bio where they can present a ‘face behind the firm’. For some, this gives the business an online presence even when their website isn’t up to snuff; for others, the platform complements other digital marketing channels.

Get in touch if you’d like to learn how The Law Superstore can help you connect with new clients online. No subscription fees. No set-up costs. No minimum-term contract.

Start your free legal lead generation trial to help you build on your online success.
 
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Steve Clark

Steve creates helpful guides for The Law Superstore. He enjoys digging deep into new areas of the law, supporting partners, and translating legalese and jargon into plain English everyone can understand.

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