The need:

As a renowned international law firm, with clients among the Global Fortune 500 and the FTSE 100, this firm prides itself on providing clear, pragmatic advice to help clients achieve their commercial objectives. To maintain client loyalty, they recognised the need to continue to understand these objectives and expectations.

In one of their key accounts, it was noted that whilst there was good one on one direct client contact, there was no growth and the relationship was vulnerable due to a lack of exposure elsewhere in the business. There was also no potential to expand other service lines and these combined factors were likely to put the account at risk.

Sole Client relationship: vulnerable

Multiple Client relationships: strong bond

What we did

The law firm’s business development team asked us to help them understand this better and to take the temperature of the account. We discussed the issues and likely areas for debate with them and created a clear plan of how to approach each of these subjects to identify the fullest range of feedback possible. We then carried out a series of face to face interviews with the client contacts according to this plan.

This was however about more than just talking. By using The BD Consultancy as third party trained experts in careful questioning and probing of these issues, we were able to unearth certain client concerns and opportunities that were not previously apparent. Through active listening and questioning by an objective reviewer, we gained the client’s confidence, resulting in a detailed report on all the relevant concerns.

The outcome

Following the report feedback, we identified a range of key themes, including the fact that the client used the firm for three key legal areas but that they were missing out completely on two other areas. After further discussion, the firm implemented various changes in response, including a detailed training programme and restructure of client relationship partners teams and support.

In addition to an improved level of client satisfaction, the result for the firm was that their billing for this particular client increased dramatically. Four years ago, billing was £641k, but this dipped the following year to £593k. Following changes implemented from the client listening, they have seen growth to nearly £1.4m in the next year and up to £2.2m YTD in 2014/15. The number of relationships within the client has grown by about a third over the last 2 years and has led to multi-jurisdictional instructions, meaning a significant result and worthwhile investment not just financially but also for reputation and sustainability of future business. They also critically retained their position on the client panels in USA and EMEA regions.

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