How Mapping Can Help You Improve Your Client’s Experience
This is the first in a two-part series on client journey mapping. The next part will explore the process of mapping itself, as well as how to improve your odds for success.
The competition for legal work has intensified, clients’ legal budgets have remained flat or decreased and procurement’s prominence is on the rise. Without question, law firms can no longer rely on competitive tactics that accentuate capabilities, expertise and reputation above all else. There are hundreds of firms with competence, expertise, specialization and — most importantly — capacity.
All images are property of Yolanda Cartusciello
To complicate the situation further, most law firms are focused on providing an expanded set of services to their current clients. Firms that have developed strategies around expanding current client relationships need to improve not only individual matter-level experiences, but also experiences for clients that need more than one type of work from your firm. Can you say with confidence that a client’s experience is consistent across practices, industries and geographies?
Today, differentiating the client experience becomes a critical component of a law firm’s success, and client journey mapping is a very effective tool in helping firms differentiate that experience.
While client journey mapping may be new to some law firms, this technique has been used successfully by consumer product and B2C organizations such as Amazon, Apple and Disney, as well as B2B and consulting firms such as IBM and McKinsey. The common thread across each of these organization is a focus on the client journey as a way of improving and distinguishing the client experience.
The client journey mapping technique may be applied in so many different settings within a law firm and can provide benefits on a variety of different projects. In addition to using it to improve a client’s experience, it can be used as an associate training technique, a strategic planning device, a client team exercise and a companion to external perception research in anticipation of website or technology development.
So What Is it?
The definition of a client journey map is a visual representation of the steps and perceptions that a specific client goes through over a period of time to accomplish a specific goal that may include some interactions with your organization. The map helps identify how the client views an organization by putting interactions in the context of the client’s broader goals, objectives and activities.
Client journey mapping is a very effective tool with which to view the client experience at a granular level. This is due to the fact it allows for more precise diagnosis, invites more specific reengineering (which may include areas not normally addressed with other diagnostic tools), and helps identify the stages at which problems surface (as well as those of origination). It also helps identify the bright spots — all the places where the firm is performing well that should be replicated elsewhere.
*Editor’s note: For an example of a client journey map, reach out to Yolanda Cartusciello for sample materials.
Before You Develop the Map
Before you begin your client journey mapping exercise, you need to gather all the relevant information and research available to you. This may take the form of formal client interviews, in-person informal discussions with clients, post-matter surveys, client team self-assessments and third-party syndicated research.
You will also need to assemble a team. Think about creating a team that is broad enough to bring different skills and perspectives to the exercise, while remaining small enough to be manageable. Do not limit the team to marketing staff. Consider including one or two lawyers who work closely with the clients, your firm’s COO, a practice management professional, a knowledge management professional, a pricing or accounting representative, the relevant marketing team member and one lawyer who is not associated with the clients. While you may wish to have an outside professional facilitate the exercise, the consultant cannot and should not prescribe solutions. Therefore, a diverse team from within the firm increases the efficacy and success of the client journey mapping exercise.
Stay tuned for part two of this client journey mapping series, in which you will learn the method to map the client journey and improve your odds for success.
For more than 20 years, Yolanda Cartusciello has served in senior administrative leadership roles in major law firms, including Debevoise & Plimpton and Cleary Gottlieb. She has led marketing teams, designed business development and media strategies and implemented client development programs. She was the chief architect of profile enhancement strategies, perception studies, branding exercises, comprehensive client interview programs and practice and lateral partner rollouts. She co-developed marketing technology solutions and created media relations and digital strategies. She has also developed business development and communications training and coaching programs for lawyers at all levels.