What Law Firms Can Learn From Retail

In today’s fast-moving online retail marketplace, the age-old adage that the “customer is king” is seemingly truer than ever before in our history.  Have a problem with your order? There’s a number to call.  Don’t feel like calling? There’s an online representative who can message you.  Don’t have the time to message?  Submit an online inquiry. Prefer the old-fashioned method? Here’s the mailing address for the customer service team.  Clearly, addressing customer concerns is a top concern for many companies.   


In order for brick and mortar stores to compete in the online world, service also has to be the star. Have you noticed that every retail establishment greets you with “welcome in” these days?  Before you even leave the store, you likely have an email copy of your receipt and a survey asking you to evaluate your in-store experience waiting for you in your in-box.  Competition has created a “customer first” craze in retail that lawyers can look to emulate in creating a more client-centric experience.


A recent survey from retail consulting firm BPC Consulting shows that 79% of consumers said personalized service from a sales associate is an important factor in determining at which store they choose to shop.  Counsel from BPC to retailers includes ensuring that they are blending a customer’s physical and digital worlds to maintain customer loyalty.  Clearly, the digital customer or client experience is paramount to success, as we have previously shared that 41 percent of clients expect a response to an email to their attorney within 6 hours.


According to Small Biz Trends, there are 5 things customers are looking for in a retail experience, with personalized service at the top of the lineup, and “making the most of mobile technology” also among a customer’s top criteria in choosing a retailer. 

While law, and the provision of legal services is obviously unlike retail in innumerable ways, the customer or client experience remains critical to retaining clients and expanding business in both arenas.  “Your website, your policies, and your employees should make it easy for your clients to get the information they want and need. Clients should never feel like getting an answer to a question is a hassle. When you make it easy for clients to do business with you, there is no incentive for them to go to another lawyer,” according to a Lawyerist article.


Notably, the top bar complaint clients register regarding their attorneys is that they feel like they are not being kept informed.  We’ve previously discussed how critical client communication can be – particularly when it comes to case updates. Surely, if Amazon can keep customers informed of when their household goods will be delivered every step along the way, we can challenge ourselves to do the same for our clients and provide them with critical (and often not critical) updates on their matters.

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