We all know the process of a firm submitting their work highlights to the legal directories, and all our clients do it for the same reason: to get on the “lists”. Generally, this means the participating partner is drafting descriptions of the firms work, knowledge and expertise, and putting it all together with a list of references. But did you ever wonder about how much all the firm’s self-advertising and self-written descriptions actually count for the final ranking in the legal directories?
The answer is no more than 30%. It turns out that the final ranking depends, far and away more than anything else, on what the market says about the firm, the partner and the team’s services – in other words, what matters is positive references.
Here there is a tremendous opportunity, one that most firms are missing out. A chance to increase responsiveness and participation in the surveys. But above all, a chance to be the first to hear the feedback from the market, the client and peers. An opportunity for a valuable client-contact moment.
Participating in the legal directories’ annual review is, first and foremost about getting a good ranking. But you can also see it as a commercial opportunity. A perfect time to build on your valuable client contacts – to touch base, to check in, to get back in touch, to have that informal chat, without discussing any specific matters or pending legal issues. The chance to hear for yourself about your client’s experience of your services – straight from the horse’s mouth. These are contacts that are incredibly valuable to your firm, and this is the perfect time for them.
This year, we at W once again assisted a number of our clients with the submission process. In addition to working with them to produce a good, succinct and to-the-point submission document, we also put a lot of time into the contacts with the references. Where in the past, these clients had simply asked the references for permission to be given as a reference, we handled the conversation with them on behalf of our client, and we went into the discussion with our cards on the table. We took the time to check up on the references’ satisfaction with the firm, and sent the feedback we received straight back to our client, no filter, no holds barred.
An additional benefit from this approach was that we got a sense of each reference’s responsiveness to the survey: we found out that more than half (65%) of the references who had received the survey email, were certainly willing to participate but had not yet gotten around to respond. We offered the references’ the opportunity to go through the survey questions with us and complete them during the conversation. Service-oriented, time-saving, and best of all, giving us the assurance that the reference completed the survey correctly and submitted it on time.
By doing this, we not only increased the responsiveness and our clients’ chances of a good ranking, but also collected valuable feedback.
But remember, you don’t have to wait until the links to the surveys are released. You can always offer a helping hand and show initiative and interest towards your clients. We can’t forget the value of those informal contact moments, which have a clear and significant positive impact on the relationship between client and firm. And isn’t it so nice to get that positive feedback?