The Business Buyers BarometerAccording to the research findings, businesses are changing rapidly, resulting in a major realignment in what they expect of their external advisers, including law firms. In many instances, the report concludes, there is a widening gap between what buyers want and what their advisors are delivering. In particular, proactivity and commerciality are areas where advisers consistently score below buyer expectations, while innovation is something that professional service firms talk about, but most don’t deliver real change in their service experience. Most worrying of all, perhaps, the findings also show that trust is falling in professional advisors.
Points for discussionThese findings shaped the day’s agenda:
- With Meridian West’s research suggesting that client experience is not improving, how can L&D teams help to improve the situation in terms of having an external impact on a firm’s client service?
- How could L&D assist in rebuilding levels of trust with clients?
- How is L&D connected internally to gain maximum insight into the client’s world – e.g, to BD, innovation, and senior fee earners/partners?
- In the 70-20-10 model of learning and development (70% on-the-job learning, 20% developmental relationships, 10% coursework and training), what kind of focus would best impact the client’s experience?
- Align a firm’s L&D as closely as possible to the outside world (i.e, to client experiences).
- Focus on legal technology, but also develop softer skills like working effectively with other people/teams and approaching innovation more from the perspective of the customer and how they would like to see the legal services delivered differently.
- Prioritise getting client feedback (even where partners think they already know their clients) and then sharing those findings with L&D. Also getting feedback from lawyers that go on secondment.
- Communicate more effectively with clients, particularly in respect to fees and changes to fees.
- Become more diverse (for example, recruiting from more varied talent pools).
- Make sure individuals are getting regular feedback on performance, not just relying on an annual appraisal.
- Sit L&D professionals in practice areas, rather than centrally.
- Focus on ways to retain L&D professionals through good training, benefits, career development, etc.