For decades, law firms went to market with stale messages that did little to create compelling impressions in the minds of their audiences, let alone lasting ones. To a large extent, they got away with it — relying on the strength of their bench, their personal relationships, and the knowledge that big companies had big budgets…
For a business to be successful, it’s no longer enough to just have the best offering or most talented employees. These have become table stakes thanks to players like Amazon and Airbnb that have reinvented what it means to be customer-centric. Now, customers can order almost anything with the click of a button, and they’re expecting this level of ease and speed in all of their experiences —regardless of the company or industry. This expectation forces all brands to deliver a customer experience that feels effortless, seamless, and continually surprises and delights.
With the bar raised so high, and expectations only climbing higher, we understood how imperative it was to help our client, law firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, develop a client engagement strategy that deepens their client relationships and builds lasting loyalty. In the legal field, deep expertise and skilled attorneys are practically commoditized. To differentiate your firm, you have to deliver something of even greater value. Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie believed that an exceptional client experience was largely missing from their industry, clearly desired by clients, and true to who they are as a firm.
Throughout our conversations with the executive team and select partners, it became clear that the firm’s leadership had always understood that human connections are key to delivering a strong client experience. Two of the firm’s namesakes, Rothgerber and Lewis, had spoken on the topic often, emphasizing the importance of “understanding and compassion” and how “the measure of your work is client satisfaction.” The firm doesn’t train its staff to count wins or play the hero – it engrains in each staff member a code of conduct centered on partnership.
“The measure of your work is client satisfaction. Know their goals. Look at issues from their perspective.” – Orme Lewis
With a clear understanding of who Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie is – the firm’s shared beliefs and values – we sought to understand the experience they were delivering to clients. How do clients perceive the firm before and after working with it? Where does the firm excel? Are there opportunities to improve the experience? Gathering staff from across the firm’s practices and offices, we used a process called engagement mapping (often referred to as journey mapping) to put ourselves in clients’ shoes at key points across the relationship.
Understand your client
The first step of the engagement mapping workshop was to understand the firm’s clients, so that we knew who we were building engagement journeys for. We developed personas that dimensionalize and humanize the clients, grounding us in what matters to them, how they work, and the challenges they face. We then explored key moments and interactions those clients would experience throughout their engagement with the firm, from consideration to signing a contract to receiving their first bill and ultimately, completion of the matter. Who did they communicate with? What were they thinking and feeling at each touchpoint? Did these moments build confidence or drive confusion?
To transform our hypothesis into a solid case upon which the engagement strategy would be built (we were working with lawyers, after all) we needed to confirm the assumptions we’d made during the engagement mapping process. For this — the validation stage of the process — we turned to the clients themselves. These conversations consistently confirmed that Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie had brilliant lawyers who delivered top-notch results, but it also revealed that there were more opportunities to consistently align the client experience at both the office and team level.
Set it in stone
We harmonized the firm’s heritage of client-centricity with the journey mapping insights to develop “Experience Amplified.” This rallying cry both challenges and invites everyone — from long-standing clients to potential recruits — to experience Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie’s exceptional difference. But just saying the motto wasn’t enough. We needed to make sure that it manifested throughout each client’s journey with the firm — that people felt the difference in every interaction because this new ethos had become ingrained across the firm.
To help bring this to life for all firm employees, we codified “Experience Amplified” with six principles, much like rules of engagement for the firm. Then each principle was paired with specific behaviors that gave employees actionable ways to deliver on “Experience Amplified” in their work with clients and with each other. Finally, a comprehensive activation plan ensured that partners were on board, staff were excited and felt properly trained, and the firm was ready to truly deliver on this client experience promise.
Brand is the promise of a repeatable experience — and a brand’s experience strategy is its opportunity to build lasting customer loyalty. For a professional services firm, ingraining this throughout the firm’s staff is the most important strategy of all.
About the author
Leyah Farber is a Director of Brand and Content Strategy at DeSantis Breindel. With an insatiable curiosity, she loves exploring everything from new countries and cookbooks to digital ecosystems and brand storytelling.