Does your 2011 budget include a cost-effective and measurable marketing and management tool? One that will help you grow your firm's market share?
As 2010 winds up, let's take a look at what we learned about that from the marketplace in Verbatim this year.
"To gain market share with your clients, your firm must ensure that clients are completely satisfied," wrote Thomas Jones and W. Earl Sasser in The Harvard Business Review classic "Why Satisfied Customers Defect" (see the October issue of Verbatim). "To figure out how to satisfy customers, a company has to excel at listening to customers and interpreting what they are saying."
We also heard from various senior-level in-house counsel of prominent companies, who urged us to tailor services to each client. Among them were:
Claudia J. Gilman, vice president and general counsel, international of Boston Scientific Corp., who told the audience at the 17th Annual Marketing Partner Forum that she wants "a relationship that's built on trust. That's the key word."
Gilman said the attorneys and law firms that meet her (and her legal staff's) particular expectations become "untouchable. We'll go to the mat for them."
Paul J. Cushing, legal counsel of litigation and compliance of Partners Health Care Systems, Inc., who said: "How do you find out what your clients' needs are? Ask them."
Elliott Miller, director of legal affairs of Denver-based Pendum LLC, who told the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association: "When they want our work, we have their complete attention. Once they have our work, they tend to rest on their laurels. Don't take advantage."
Margaret Seif, vice president and general counsel of Analog Devices, Inc., who said: "Some firms think that their results speak for themselves, whether it's how they handled a big corporate deal or how they won a major piece of litigation."
On law firm marketing, Seif said: "Marketing is throwing material into the wind." She thinks that too many firms "don't have any idea what it means to work with the client or develop a bond in the relationship."
A successful client satisfaction interview program, such as Strategic Client Interviews, will reveal what you need to know:
what clients want from your firm
what problems you must address to strengthen and expand your client relationships
how to enhance your relationships to keep clients loyal to your firm
the opportunities that could increase your firm's business with its clients
clients' perceptions of your firm in the legal marketplace
Take a look at your 2011 budget. Will you be throwing material into the wind? Or will you give your firm the advantage it needs to grasp onto more market share?