While the legal industry is continuing to adopt technology to grow and manage their law firms, the next hurdle is already on the horizon. And that hurdle is data analytics.
So, what kind of data? Everything you can imagine. From analyzing your website traffic to the number of touch points that need to be made with a client in order to have them choose your firm, to actually managing the business side of your practice. All of this data helps attorneys become more efficient and grow. You didn't become an attorney to manage invoices and payments. Data helps attorneys figure out how to spend more time practicing law.
Here we consider some key data points for those of you new to the idea of data and related insights.
Do you have Google Analytics connected to your website? If not, that's the best first step. Understanding your web traffic, from beginning to end, delivers insight to how people are finding you, and that tells you where you could focus to connect with more potential clients. There are other web analytics providers, too. Whoever you choose to partner with, here are some key metrics to monitor:
- Traffic source: This tells you how people are finding your website. So it could be a google search, it could be referral from another page, or it could be from a promotional effort your firm enacted. How people are finding you gives you insight to focus your efforts on the most productive outlets or let you refine your approach too.
- Time on site: Are your web visitors checking out your site? Or are they seeing the homepage and moving on? If they are spending time on your site and reviewing multiple pages, that's a good sign. If they aren't, perhaps it's time to review your website. Is the site demonstrating your key differences and expertise? Is it not conveying what you want?
- Overall traffic trends: Are more or less visitors coming to your site than a previous period? If traffic overall is declining, that could mean several things. Could be a new offer has come in to the area and is promoting their firm or something along those lines. It could be that demand for your particular services are down in your area. It could mean any number of things. But to figure that out, you first need to know if overall traffic is up, down, or level.
- Interaction/Goal Completion: So, with Google Analytics you can set goals for your website. Perhaps your goal is form completion - like a 'Contact Us' form. Or a click on a link to 'Contact Us'. Whatever the case, monitoring goal completion is a key metric. After all, even if your traffic is way up and they are spending a lot of time on your site, if they aren't connecting with you, it doesn't really matter.
Potential Clients and Work Habits
So, once a potential client reaches out, what happens then? Do you know how long it takes for your firm to respond? What is the approach or the 'voice' that you are using? How many touch points do you make before you gain, or lose, a potential client?
This data is super important. Like, SUPER important information. New clients are the lifeblood of your firm. How do you think they feel when reaching out? Below are some key metrics as well as some things to consider from the interpersonal side, too.
- Contact location: Do your potential clients find you online and then call? Or do they email? How often is that email checked? Be sure to create a policy to follow for all
- Contact method: Do most of your potential clients find you through the internet? Do they email or call?
- Response time: Seemingly, if they call, the phone is answered. So that's pretty easy. But what happens next? How promptly are those messages reviewed? And how quickly are the phone calls returned, if not handled at the initial call.
- Next steps: Does the potential client know what to expect next? Have you answered their questions, whether you are able to accept their matter or not? Remember, you are more than just another attorney. You are representing the entire profession to that potential client.
Existing Client Interaction
So now you have a client. Whether their matter is settled or not, are you tracking their feedback or comments? Better yet, are you asking? It's important to monitor the client experience throughout the resolution of the legal matter. It doesn't have to be anything more than just listening... clients can feel quite concerned and anxious. After all, this may very likely be their only interaction with the law.
- Keep lines of communication open. Clients often have a lot on their minds. It can cover basic questions about the matter, some 'what if?' questions, and probably some 'what's next?' questions.
- Give clients a way to connect anonymously. It's important for clients to feel they can provide the feedback they need, even if it's hard to say to a specific person. Review the feedback patiently... and remember to look for learning.
- Once the matter is closed, give the client the option to stay connected. Think about a quarterly client newsletter where you can share information on the latest legal issues, updates on your firm, and maybe some highlights about the local community.
There are many more data analytics to consider. But starting with these, with a focus on your clients, will be a great starting point. What other data analytics do you believe are important?