Acritas Interview

Jo Aitken, Client Relationship Director Acritas

Jo Aitken, Client Relationship Director at Acritas, the specialist research consultancy that helps us run our client survey programme, explains how this works in practice.

∙ What sort of behaviours should lawyers, and law firms collectively, exhibit to be perceived as being truly ‘client-centric’? ∙

Effective client listening programmes place the voice of the client at the heart of the firm, aligning all areas of service and internal practices with client needs, from administrative and support structures right through to partner appraisals and remuneration. Delivering consistency to clients is hard to do, yet is important to them. As firms grow, they need to work as global relationship teams to meet the needs of their international clients.

∙ How has listening to client experiences of working with CMS helped the firm engage better with those clients in the future? ∙

Through individual follow-ups, we find out where the firm should prioritise to improve service and satisfaction. Action plans are derived directly from the hub tool CMS works with and activities can be allocated and dated as a checklist. Over time, we have seen scores increase (overall satisfaction of all reviews conducted as well as at individual client level) through responding to specific client requests and making improvements happen.

∙ What kind of competitive edge over rivals can meaningful client feedback initiatives deliver to law firms? ∙

Our global research of law firm clients clearly shows that those who are invited to participate in formal client feedback are more satisfied, more likely to recommend their firm and, crucially, less at risk of switching to an alternative supplier.

In addition, understanding where consistency can be improved and how coordination between offices can better meet client expectations increases the likelihood of cross-selling.

Due to the increasingly competitive legal landscape and growing number of firms who can meet needs, it’s critical to understand where your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities lie. In the work we have done with CMS, there are gaps that have been closed due to taking direct actions from the feedback.

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