Client Retention hinges on strategic client management.
Client Retention is the result of strategic management that enables better planning and execution, teaming and tactical hiring, and forecasting financials with sharp accuracy — all of which culminate in client trust and loyalty.
The nut of Client Retention is strategic management and sensitively structured service to nurture, grow and protect long-term, institutional relationships with key clients who — in addition to being profitable — help burnish your reputation for sterling service and legal work output. The benefit for institutional key clients is deeper and more nuanced service and cross-serving
The bedrock of Client Retention is a ‘Clients First’ foundation.
The Win-Win of Clients First
Strategic management enables client-oriented cross serving rather than service provider-oriented cross selling. The difference between serving and selling is vital: clients are interested in the former and dismissive of the latter.
By its very nature, strategic management must be customized for each key client — and conducted in concert with them — to support and nurture their current needs, mid-term goals, and long term plans.
The benefit to law firms and legal service providers is a protected institutional client that, due to thoughtful and consistent servicing, remains loyal for the long term. As a result, profit margins are higher, infrastructures are deeper, top-calibre talent is attracted and retained, and key client relationships are cemented due to cross-functional and collaborative service teams.
Common Elements of Client Retention
Because each law firm and legal service company’s client retention management needs are unique, I welcome a discussion to determine what’s best for you and your key clients. However, in my experience there are three common elements that come into play.
- Client Strategy plans are constructed annually and produced in concert with the client. Plans may extend beyond legal needs to include other collaborative business solutions and providers. This level of collaboration enables clear communication and innovative ideas. It also provides a framework for astute pricing and cost management. The process of creating client service plans establishes a clearly differentiated market position and brand, instills confidence, builds trust, and cements bonds as well as creates trusted referrals within a client’s network of professional service providers.
- Client Interviews are foundational to the success of client retention. Law firms and legal service providers that invite clients to share their feedback and ideas, act swiftly, and confirm with a client that their input has been executed create positive impressions, new work opportunities, and are among the most profitable.
- Client teams create personal bonds and professional loyalty for both clients and their legal services providers. Client teaming can include practice and industry alignment as well as talent laddering. Laddering is cohort-matching of internal and external legal professionals. This ensures long-term Client Retention and relationship stability as well as career progression steps and paths of succession for both the client and the service team.