How to foster a client-centred culture in your firm
The reflections that I have made during this lockdown about how to update a client-centred culture within our firms, refer to five fundamental topics:
- Current situation of our clients
- Empathy and flexibility
- Progress in our digital transformation.
The situation we are experiencing currently is putting us in an even more difficult situation when it comes to achieving customer loyalty.
Our clients are under additional stress levels: more nervous, more demanding, more sensitive to prices and more prone to scrutinise our invoices; even if they do not intend to neglect the protection of their IP rights.
This is a time of empathy and flexibility, time for a customer service attitude!
We must be very attentive to complaints because only 4% of customers who would like to complain, currently complain. We should be very conscious about making life easier for our clients, they are always right as long as they are our ideal clients, the ones we want to retain.
Otherwise it is time to get rid of our less than ideal clients, those who wear us down unnecessarily and for whom we are not properly compensenated against the time we spend working for them.
Regarding our cash flow, just as we must consider a flexible and concerted strategy to collect the outstanding invoices from our clients, we must also take into account the cash needs of our associates in other countries and make the effort to pay their invoices as soon as we can.
We are also living in an era that we could call an “Infodemic”, where the amount of information we are all receiving on issues related to the Covid-19 is overwhelming and this requires us to pay strict attention to who, how often and in what quantity we are addressing our clients on this subject. They are getting too many emails and messages saying the same thing from different providers.
It then becomes very important to ask them what kind of information they would like to receive and specifically to whom we should send it. This will allow us to be prudent with their time so as not to burden them!
Communication more than ever demands our presence on social networks, on conducting surveys which clarify what clients want from us at this time. We can also contact them using a one-to-one format, with WhatsApp calls, personal emails, or videoconferences, depending on the relationship we have with them and their availability.
The language should be direct, not legal, with summarised content, and in a friendly and creative format, where they can see the efforts we are making not to overwhelm them. Adding photos or videos to all communications helps generate closeness and sympathy.
This is a time where our communications should seek to build customer loyalty, not to increase sales.
We are facing a great opportunity to advance the digital transformation of our firms, the digital world is the real world today.
The money that we invested in travelling and conferences, in beautiful offices, we can invest today in systems that improve the experience of our clients and staff members, in restructuring our processes and improving our logistics, in implementing the best IT equipment that we can.
The implementation of a CRM is an imperative at this time to achieve greater visibility, since we will not be able to meet personally with anyone.
Let's seek to innovate in the way we provide our services today, create online services, digital services, implement bots that answer the most frequently asked questions. Let's take advantage of this opportunity to change our mindset!
- Listen to the recording from the FICPI webinar, “Delighting the client in difficult times” or read the session notes.
- Get more involved with FICPI committees, find out more here: https://ficpi.org/organisation/ficpi-commissions
- Find out more about the work of FICPI’s Professional Excellence Committee.
How FICPI makes IP attorneys more effective
FICPI members are characterised by their dual focus on legal and professional excellence through forums such as webinars and committees which drive areas such as continuing professional development forwards. Independent IP attorneys help organisations build and protect their brands and FICPI’s worldwide network ensures that members can find a local partner around the world.