Expert solicitors are expert case managers — it’s a foundational skill in legal practice, which is why it’s not natural for a fee-earner to think of case management as a marketing channel. However, when you do, you can get extra results from the great work that you would do as a matter of course.
Chances are you already know this, but it is worth repeating — in legal marketing, there is nothing as effective (or as cost-effective) as word of mouth.
- 46% of clients choose their solicitor by asking colleagues, friends, or family if they could recommend anyone
- Online reviews influence 70% of clients in their choice of solicitor
- 69% of prospective clients read law firm profiles in a legal directory, where of course ranking decisions and commentaries either quote directly or consider the recommendations of a firm’s peers and clients
Word of mouth is so effective because it’s not a law firm singing its own praises, but people who have used the service. That will always be more meaningful and useful for a potential client.
Obviously, it’s cost-effective because you don’t (and can’t) pay for a reputation — satisfied clients recommend you because you helped them when they needed it, and you made the process as painless as it could possibly be.
It’s a rare and fortunate fact that the least expensive form of marketing is also one of the most effective, and here’s how to take full advantage of that.
How legal case management improves word-of-mouth marketing
Once you start thinking of case management as a marketing channel, you start seeing a double benefit — existing clients get an even better experience, and you get more business through the door.
You also make your processes more efficient and standardised. As above, expert solicitors are expert case managers, but that’s not to say they can’t:
- do the same great work in less time
- reduce the risk of human error that undermines a legal case
There are three main areas in which refining your legal case management directly affect your word-of-mouth marketing. Those are case outcomes, client experience and compliance.
Naturally, positive outcomes mean happy clients and more referrals.
Those outcomes rely on many things, not least meeting deadlines, gathering and submitting all relevant documents, and ensuring that all communication is free of ambiguity and misunderstandings.
Defining and automating those processes mean that human error is taken almost completely out of the equation, and that great legal work is never undermined by administrative error.
Instead of preventing error, it could simply be a matter of making more time available. When processes are more efficient, it leaves a lot more breathing room for fee-earners to think about legal cases, and consider even more thoroughly their approaches to legal matters.
As well as results influencing referrals, how you get them can be just as important. Any frustrations in the client experience can mean no referral, or worse, clients actively warning others not to use you.
- 18% of complaints to the SRA are about delayed case progress
- Specifically in the conveyancing sector, 37% of complaints are about firm inefficiency
When you treat case management as a marketing channel, you start to think of it in terms of a campaign, which means greater efficiency, and more transparent processes agreed by all.
Not only does that mean you get to promise and deliver more informed and realistic timelines, it also means you can dedicate more time to client care. The more hands-on, attentive and responsive a fee-earner can be, the more likely a client is to remember and relate the experience positively, even if the case didn’t go their way.
Damage to your reputation could be lasting, perhaps irreparable. Of course, that means your word-of-mouth marketing faces at best an uphill struggle, and at worst a hopeless task.
Part of your case management process should be compliance checks like escalations, deadlines, and completeness of information. Since the consequences are so severe, you shouldn’t rely solely on the astuteness of your team — absolutely everyone is susceptible to human error.
Processes that are standardised, understood by the whole firm and that protect against administrative blunders will keep your practice compliant, your reputation intact, and your word-of-mouth marketing fruitful.
How to maintain case management processes that win referrals
The most reliable way to manage legal cases and maintain consistent processes is to use a platform designed for exactly that.
Software can keep all outstanding tasks, documentation, and case history visible, which means your timelines for the case can be far better informed and more realistic, which means fewer client frustrations and disappointments.
On checks and balances for compliance, software easily catches things that a human might miss, and prevents the avoidable breaches that tarnish a reputation and undermine your word-of-mouth marketing.
Over 1000 law firms use Insight Legal’s software to support their legal case management, improve their outcomes and client experience, and ultimately win more referrals. A demo only takes half an hour, and of course comes with no obligation, so book yours and you’ll see why so many of your peers use us.