How law firms can re-build failing trust

  • trust fallOn 31 May, Catherine Baksi, writing in the Law Society Gazette, reported that trust in lawyers had fallen in the past year from 47% to 43%. This is according to a recent YouGov survey carried out for the Legal Services Consumer Panel.

    Trust is the most essential marketing asset of all.  Simply put, without the ability to engender confidence in the advice that is being imparted, a law firm has no service to sell.

    With businesses and consumers actively trying to spend less on legal services and it becoming easier and easier to compare providers, it is the law firms that enjoy the greatest levels of trust that will prosper.

    Trust can be built in many ways.  Naturally, it starts with providing an excellent service to existing clients.  Happy clients will buy again and again and make recommendations to others.

    In the absence of an established relationship, clients will look to the firm or firms that they recognise as being experts in the field of advice they need.

    Blending content marketing with events to constantly engage and add value to the target audience builds relationships, profile and authority.  A quality website and blog should be the central hub of a marketing programme that establishes the firm, not just as a leading authority in its geography or niche, but as a firm that people believe they can relate to and do business with.

    In contrast to falling trust, consumer satisfaction with the value for money of legal services has risen modestly over the past year. Does this mean there is creeping recognition that fees need to be more certain and value based?  Evidently so - 58% of privately-paying consumers are now getting a fixed-fee deal, up from 56% in 2011.

    The message is clear.  Consumers are exerting more power. 22% say they shop around before selecting a firm, compared with 19% last year. A high level of authority matched by certainty of fees (note: not necessarily low fees) is the winning formula.

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