The findings of the report show satisfying customers require a personalization in the treatment, direct knowledge, closeness of the professional and clear communication with the client. Clayton UTZ needs to inform employees about the change and ensure there is no barrier between the top management and the employees. The top management should interact with employees through informing how each staff's responsibility affects the customer experience. Management also includes giving guidelines on how customers should be treated as this promotes the creation of customer-centered spirit. Also, the findings suggest that training sessions should be conducted to ensure that employees are taught to focus all their efforts on the client. Finally, there should be a promotion of interdisciplinary collaboration. The paper concludes by emphasizing the significance of focusing on customers to increase efficiency and profitability.
Attracting clients in a law firm is amongst the top challenges for law firms. This challenge is due to the increase in the number of professionals, generating a lot of competitiveness. The road to transforming a law firm into a client-centric approach can be advanced and extensive. However, it is perhaps the only source of a competitive differentiation that gives firms competitive edge over others. Dominated by environments of economic recession, customers become increasingly selective when spending their money (Mosten, Macfarlane, & Scully, 2017). Consumers have of late become fickle and will not hesitate to terminate a relationship with a company that does not provide what they require. These clients expect flexibility, convenience, and customization, and when they do not obtain it, they go elsewhere. This reversal of the relationship between customers and businesses means that consumers have more power than ever to dictate the future of an organisation. Clayton UTZ aims at building capabilities in forensics, which will help them grow the compliance of the business into fraud management and regulation. The organisation needs to transform from the traditional legal-centric thinking towards a system engaging staff at all levels if it is to compete with Big Four accounting firms (i.e., Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG) (Walsh, 2017). The client-centric approach will create an environment in which clients can experience empathy and trust through a personalized service based on their needs and consumer expectations, thus making clients choose Clayton UTZ services over their competitors.
Defining and Framing the Issue
Clayton UTZ is amongst the top law firms Australia with a history of more than 175 years (Clayton UTZ, 2010). They are a law firm that offer legal services in several fields including litigation and, tax compliance, arbitration, intellectual property, and dispute resolution (Walsh, 2017). As part of their growth strategy, they are seeking to build capabilities in the forensics area, which will help them grow the compliance part of the business into fraud management and regulatory investigations. The foray follows client needs in offering a holistic and integrated service product to meet client expectations (Walsh, 2017). The customer experience is a disruptive factor in business so that companies that include it in their strategy and enrich it will gain competitive advantages in the market, given that it is more difficult to replicate aspects such as price, product or service.
The customer centricity theory calls for the understanding of the individual needs of clients and customers since this enhances the customer experience thus creating sustainable and profitable customer relationships that are impermeable by competitors (Burnett, 2011). This theory calls for better planning. A positive experience between the company and the client can build a lasting differentiator against the competition and ensure loyalty. Customer-centric companies have a universal approach to customer requirements and an intrinsic understanding of their integrated experience at the heart of the business (Siegel, Hussemann & Van Hoek, 2016). In a customer-centric organisation, each employee is dedicated to providing an excellent consumer experience at every point throughout the user's life cycle. Better planning and organisation in a given company will attract customers.
Addressing the Issue
Customers today have a plethora of ways to share their experience (both positive and negative) with a product or service. For law firms, a customer-oriented way of working is, therefore, the perfect way to stand out from the competition and build customer loyalty. Being customer- focused is not a unique initiative; but, it is a cultural change of the entire organisation making the client the center of all decisions in all the concerned departments. Fundamentally, satisfaction of clients' needs is the responsibility of each person, not just those in customer-oriented roles (Mosten et al., 2017). It requires interdisciplinary collaboration and a deep understanding of how each employee's roles impact the client's experience.
Being customer-centric means being able to take into account the impact of brand decisions on customers. More than saying, "the customer is important" is to say, "we will put the customer in the heart of our concerns and all our actions should be thought accordingly." Thus, this reflection extends throughout the organisation and not only in traditional services already focused on the customer (customer service, after-sales service, etc.). The work of the employees is also essential; the company must train its employees on the fact that the decisions they make can affect the customer in many ways. This approach will help Clayton to better understand the needs of its clients, including growth opportunities previously unknown (feedback from unsatisfied customers, for example). The implementation of a customer-listening approach can, for example, will make it possible to identify new needs. The direct consequence of this first benefit is to increase customer satisfaction.
Focusing on the customer is mandatory; it is a fundamental tool in business aimed at improving efficiency of a given business organisation. A radical change is necessary in the culture of the company and should be more of an evolution than of a revolution. A customer-centric approach surpasses efficient handling of customer calls. Focusing on a customer means addressing customer issues and solving them in their entirety. It is not just about ensuring that support roles consider front-line workers as their internal clients: - it is about ensuring that all the employees embrace client approach that is external. It involves more than telling employees how to treat customers appropriately - but rather includes giving employees the authority and tools to decide the right way to manage clients. Being customer-centric does not involve creation of an organisation customers serving - it's allowing clients to run the firm (Siegel et al., 2016). Being a customer-centric does not only mean providing excellent customer service but above all, placing the customer at the heart of the business. Thus, each decision must be taken accordingly. A customer-centric company can offer a unique experience on the whole customer journey (notoriety, information search, purchase, post-purchase), so to differentiate itself and develop its activity.
There are several recommendations will ensure Clayton UTZ becomes a customer-centered law firm.
The first step to becoming a customer-centric organisation for Clayton UTZ is to inform employees about the change and ensure there is no barrier between the top management and the employees. The top management should interact with employees through creating an awareness of how each person's role impacts the customer experience and stipulating how customers should be treated will go a long way towards creating a customer-centered spirit.
Secondly, training sessions should be conducted to ensure that employees are taught to focus all their efforts on the client. Clayton UTZ management should embed customer service in the organisational DNA. This is only possible when all the employees of the company join the concept of focusing on the client. It is the top executives who will initiate the process of eliminating the organisational silos and ensure the inter-functional collaboration required to become a customer-focused company truly. Clayton UTZ management must provide practical guidance to its teams and exemplify the behaviors that its employees need to adapt to achieve lasting change. This means actively training and guiding its employees so that their behavior revolves around the client. It also means providing their employees with the right tools and the right information to perform their functions effectively. Inclusively, the management could consider establishing reward and recognition frameworks to consolidate these new behaviors.
The third step should be the promotion of interdisciplinary collaboration. For an organisation to truly focus on the client, organisational silos must be disaggregated, and alliance between various disciplines must be totally accepted. All employees must understand that they are a link in a chain and that changes within their function will also affect other functions. For Clayton UTZ to provide seamless customer experience, it must ensure that all employees fully understand the customer's journey and how each action contributes to generating value for them.
Clayton UTZ (2010). Celebrating Clayton UTZ 175 years. Retrieved from https://www.claytonutz.com/ArticleDocuments/178/Clayton-Utz-Celebrating-175-Years-2008.pdf.aspx?Embed=Y on 11th May 2019.
Mosten, F. S., Macfarlane, J., & Scully, E. P. (2017). Educating the New Lawyer: Teaching Lawyers to Offer Unbundled and Other Client-Centric Services. Dickinson Law Review, 122, 801. https://ideas.dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/dlr/vol122/iss3/2
Siegel, J. A., Hussemann, J. M., & Van Hoek, D. (2016). Client-Centered Lawyering and the Redefining of Professional Roles Among Appellate Public Defenders. Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 14, 579. http://hdl.handle.net/1811/80794
Walsh, K. (2017). Clayton Utz takes forensic approach to fight back against accountants. Financial Review retrieved from https://www.afr.com/business/legal/clayton-utz-takes-forensic-approach-to-fightback-against-accountants-20170215-gudxsa on 11th May 2019.
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