Converting those calls into new business requires listening — which is actually a choice that requires making the effort to understand what someone is saying. And active listening typically takes that one step further, including giving the person speaking both verbal and nonverbal signs of listening. These can involve obvious visual clues, such as smiling, nodding and making eye contact. But it can also extend to asking questions, reflecting on what’s being said, demonstrating empathy and clarifying the information that’s being delivered.
When it comes to actually answering the call to listen, the legal sector manages their clients better than other markets like utility companies, doctors, phone companies, banks and insurance companies. In fact, in a recent survey of 1,000 adults, the sector was cited the least as being the worst for answering calls. Still, communication in the legal sector can often be one-way, with firms focusing primarily on disseminating information to clients and prospects. Active listening gives clients and prospects the opportunity to communicate with your firm in return and, more importantly, to be heard.
Listening is also an essential part of customer care, but research from LexisNexis suggests legal firms still have some way to go. While 80% of legal firms think their client service is above average, only 40% of clients agree. Additionally, 92% of lawyers think they are good at listening, compared with just 67% of clients saying the same.
Active listening allows firms to garner much deeper insights into the factors that affect clients’ decisions. From creating detailed records about existing clients to accurately mapping target client personas for marketing and lead generation — these insights can be used to dramatically improve retention, enable successful cross- and up-selling, and identify opportunities for new products and services.
“Now more than ever, we have need for connection, which was particularly evident in the legal sector at the pandemic’s height — legal call durations increased by 25% as clients shared their worries and simply sought out human contact.”
It also provides the reassurance and validation clients may be looking for in a friendly voice on the other end of the line. As pandemic isolation continues to challenge our daily lives, listening takes on new meaning and importance. Now more than ever, we have need for connection, which was particularly evident in the legal sector at the pandemic’s height — legal call durations increased by 25% as clients shared their worries and simply sought out human contact. At the same time, live chat features on legal websites became more popular as people reached out for legal help and support outside of traditional hours.