Law Firm Pricing Strategy, Customer Satisfaction & Happy Meals

McDonald’s is making the blog twice this week. Why? Because law firm associates have a lot more to learn from Happy Meals than just a mood change.

McDonald’s is experiencing its first revenue and stock market bump in years. Why? It gives its customers the power to create.

The true (burger) king of the market has been very successful with the “Happy Meal.” McDonald’s was the first to massively market collectable prizes in kids meals and other meal deal options. The restaurant’s colorful menu offers a variety of food combinations that can be changed and created to match customer preference. Now, the restaurant chain is even allowing customers to mix and match meals—breakfast for dinner? Burger for breakfast? It’s all up to you.

Feeling hungry? Let’s take a bite out of our next business plan at Apple. The iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad product suite and computer systems are all about customization in terms of specs, features, and even color. You create your own Macbook down to the exact amount of RAM, and can even engrave an epithet on your 64G iPod.

Finally, forget food; let’s go back to law firms. You try and you try and you try to appease your associates and clients. But there’s still frustration on both sides. In a mere one hundred and twenty words, Ben Young, author of The Best Ideas Are Free, can give you some satisfaction. Young claims better business management, ironically, means eliminating just that. Stop managing, and start creating.

Today in the business world, Young says, “We’re not creating physical things, new products, ideas, development. We’re maintaining, reporting… not making actual change.” To garner the super-sized success seen in the world’s most profitable companies, we must make the switch from managing to creating.

“Constantly creating, curating & connecting ideas is what you want to do, create your systems so they generate.”

3 Geeks And A Law Blog applied Young’s idea to Knowledge Management. Knowledge Management at a law firm generally indicates Document Management systems, such as the full-text search of documents, descriptive fields, classifications, and filter options.

The blog asks, “What are they actually doing? Are they simply siloing information in a way to retrieve bits and pieces? Or, are they creating interfaces that allows the customer (whether it is Attorneys, Marketing, Business Development, or Client Relations) to really create the information they want?”

Case management systems are also too sterile. For example, West Case Notebook and Timeline—typical of case analysis software—does not allow any changes to the number or name of sorting fields. If your client, witness, or expert has more than one address, email, or other piece of information attached to his name, attorneys have no recourse.

Additionally, of the software suite, only West Timeline synchs with MS Excel. Even then, information from West Timeline cannot be reverse imported into West Case Notebook. The point is: Knowledge Management and Document Management systems are still stagnant and limited. Within these systems, an attorney can rarely create. Only assemble.

There’s another hidden message in Young’s idea that begs the question, why can’t the client create, too? We discuss alternative fee arrangements a lot these days. However, these conversations focus on what the law firm can offer its clients. Instead, law firms should implement systems that allow the client, himself, to choose his fee arrangement. As when a customer logs into the Jeep website and chooses the chassis, color, and drive system of his vehicle, a client looking for a law firm should be able to shop around and create his ideal type of representation.

By selecting from a list of options—a certain fee arrangement, retainer agreement, or the number and billable hour of attorneys on the case—clients will become less frustrated with sizeable attorney fees. There will be no surprises. After all, the client created the contract.

Young concludes, “I triple double guarantee that anytime you start to get sick of something, it’s because you’ve stopped creating.”

Leave the stomach aches for fast food, and let your associates and your clients have creative control. You may be surprised at the increased satisfaction and retention levels of both.

How much detail should your firm share? Is sharing a profitable marketing practice, or will it cut into your firm’s bottom line? All your specific questions can be answered by a panel of experts at The Center for Competitive Management’s audio course:

Learn more at, “How to Use Pricing Metrics to Win and Keep Legal Clients,” on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Pricing is one of the most important factors in a client’s decision-making process when choosing a law firm. Failure to understand the clients’ often unspoken requirements perpetuates pricing shortcomings and lowers profitability.

  • During this information-packed webinar, you will learn:
  • Why pricing must be a part of your marketing strategy,
  • How to use the metrics you already have, and
  • Steps to align pricing strategy with your firm’s broader strategic objectives. 

-WB

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