I had an “aha” moment on Monday when I read a Tweet by Susan Hackett of ACC: “At the ALA Annual Conf: so many firms talking about firms-no one talking about clients … yet! I’m up tomorrow.” Just where are law firms on client service and experience? 

If you follow my Tweets (ronfriedmann) you know that I read a lot legal publications and blogs. Client service is not that common a topic and client experience even less so. Perhaps that’s a distinction without a difference but I suspect that some firms confuse a “client service” initiative such as client interviews with how the client experiences the law firm overall.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal‘s Airlines Promise: It Will Get Better describe multiple airline and jet-maker initiatives to improve the customer experience. Yes, I know, roll your eyes; anyone who travel knows how awful flying has become. At least the industry players are trying to improve the experience. Law firms need to consider that their law department clients might not rate them all that much better than they do airlines.

Today, Jordan Furlong of Law21 wrote a great blog post, Explaining content and why lawyers struggle with it . He describes the challenge of writing legal content that actually appeals to readers – and how few firms do this well. Might this be a problem across a range of services firms provide?

And that brings us back to Susan Hackett’s Tweet. Maybe the real problem is that law firms hardly ever talk about clients.

How many legal technology initiatives improve the client experience? Some will say extranets do but I’m not sure that extranets change the law firm experience all that much. One initiative that comes to mind is Mallesons’ PeopleFinder; see my blog post The Shift from “Client Facing” to “Client Service” Systems.

Has the time come for a dialogue about the client experience that law firms provide? What steps might CIOs take to improve it? Let the discussion begin.