As a small law firm, gaining traction in the competitive legal landscape can be challenging. However, understanding and leveraging client-facing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can make a significant impact on the success of your firm.
By measuring and tracking specific metrics related to client satisfaction, small law firms can unlock new business opportunities and increase revenue.
Understanding Your Clients Is Key
Client-facing KPIs help your firm measure and improve performance regarding client satisfaction with the goal of using those measurements to drive revenue through increased or repeat business.
“As a small firm, you’ve got to focus on client satisfaction because that’s what really differentiates you from a larger firm with a larger marketing budget,” says Chris Nelson, an attorney-turned-tech-guru at lead generation company CallRail.
“The whole experience that you provide is important, from the very first time that a client deals with your firm,” he adds.
“It could be your intake process, your website, the customer service person you’ve got answering the telephone. All of that is going to lead to that level of client satisfaction.”
To understand what makes your clients happy, it’s essential to have a profile of your ideal client and the situations that might have caused them to pursue legal representation.
For example, John Joy, co-founding partner at New York-based whistleblower firm FTI Law, knows that many visitors to his website have concerns about speed, privacy, and security.
In response, Joy says the firm designed its intake experience with an emphasis on those factors, using KPIs to measure the success of that emphasis.
The Best Client KPIs to Track
While there are dozens of data points your firm could potentially track to gain a better understanding of your clients’ experience, Joy describes the KPIs his firm tracks as falling into one of two main categories.
Dividing the types of KPIs in this manner ensures the entirety of the client experience can be monitored and tweaked, from first contact to after a matter has been resolved.
The first category covers KPIs that measure the experiences of prospective clients. For Joy, these KPIs are frequently tied to the firm’s website and might include common digital marketing measurements like bounce rates, clickthroughs (especially to the firm’s contact page), and social media shares.
The second category focuses on the client experience during and after their interaction with the firm. For Joy, that includes measurements such as the time between when an individual commits to becoming a client and when they receive a first draft of their complaint.
“This is really important for making sure the process moves swiftly and the client is immediately engaged in it,” Joy says. “This is important not just for client satisfaction but also for internal business management.”
A quick, intuitive intake process isn’t only necessary for whistleblower firms, however, according to Elie Orgel, Director of Marketing at the consumer-facing firm Rosenblum Law, which has offices in New York and New Jersey.
“In today’s instant gratification world, if you don’t respond to clients in a timely fashion, they will get upset and leave a negative review of your business or choose to hire someone else,” he says.
KPIs don’t necessarily have to be limited to quantitative measurements, however, according to Joy. At FTI, for example, the marketing team reaches out to clients whose matters have been resolved with an anonymous qualitative survey.
Turning KPI Data Into Increased Revenue
It’s one thing to gather a mountain of data about the client experience at your firm, and another thing to use that data to drive action resulting in increased revenue.
At its core, this process is simple: make things easier for you and the client, and the increased efficiency and satisfaction will turn into more clients or more matters and, therefore, more money flowing into the firm.
One good place to look for aspects of the client experience that might be improved is your firm’s website, according to Joy.
A firm’s website is where the client intake process begins, and you can lower bounce rates by improving how fast a web page loads or tweak current calls to action to better encourage potential clients to reach out to the firm.
Using KPI data to restructure your marketing strategy doesn’t necessarily mean increasing your marketing spend, Joy adds.
He gives the example of FTI’s practice of paying attention to current events that might result in increased awareness about a particular issue, such as the GameStop stock short squeeze of 2021, and tweaking the firm’s keyword strategy to match.
This approach to keyword targeting also highlights another factor for turning KPI data into increased revenue: consistent reevaluation and adaptation.
“You have to keep refreshing that process of going back and saying ‘Let’s look at our bounce rate again,’ or ‘Let’s look at our KPIs,’ to make sure you’re still finely tuned,” Joy says.
“It’s not just something that you do at the start of the year and let the website run. It’s something you have to revisit. We typically do this every quarter.”
Ethan Beberness is a Brooklyn-based writer covering legal tech, small law firms, and in-house counsel for Above the Law. His coverage of legal happenings and the legal services industry has appeared in Law360, Bushwick Daily, and elsewhere.