Building Enduring Client Loyalty
A Guide for Lawyers and Their Firms
Featuring case studies and insights from leading companies and business professionals responsible for law firm selection and oversight, it covers legal operations, innovation and client development, and includes a wealth of practical suggestions.
Written by management consultant veteran of 35 years, Susan Saltonstall Duncan of RainMaking Oasis, this Special Report addresses the key components of building superior client relationships that result in greater loyalty and long-term success. Featuring case studies and insights from leading companies and business professionals responsible for law firm selection and oversight, it covers legal operations, innovation and client development, and includes a wealth of practical suggestions.
The report contains five core sections:
+ The loyal client framework, which looks at customer experience and clients as loyalists;
+ A roadmap, getting started and staying on the right foot with clients, which deals with trustworthiness, client feedback and dealing with difficult clients;
+ Developing loyal client relationships, in-person and remotely, covering remote relationship development, key client teams/account management and succession planning;
+ Earning loyalty through value, innovation and collaboration, including aligning value, convergence, cross-selling and diversity; and
+ An appendix with tips and multiple checklists.
This title will prove useful to lawyers, law firm leaders, client relationship partners and managers, and all business professionals that support firms in delivering superior service to clients. Moreover, it will assist lawyers to stay relevant and valuable through deeper understanding of a client’s needs, enabling them to become a trusted business partner, build and oversee collaborative teams and implement innovative delivery models and tools.
Table of Contents
|Table of Contents||3|
|Part 1. Introduction||9|
|Part 2. The loyal client framework||11|
|I. ‘Loyalty’ as defined by clients||11|
|II. Clients as loyalists||17|
|III. The competitive landscape and how to stay differentiated||22|
|IV. The loyal client life cycle||27|
|V. Customer experience – going beyond exceptional service to earn loyalty||30|
|Part 3. A roadmap: getting started on the right foot with new clients||35|
|I. Building the foundation of being trustworthy and trusted||35|
|II. Understanding clients||39|
|III. Onboarding new clients – establishing mutual expectations and protocols||45|
|IV. Seeking client feedback and insights to improve long-term loyalty||49|
|Part 4. Developing loyal client relationships||55|
|I. From expert to trusted partner and business adviser||55|
|II. Developing and nurturing long-term relationships||60|
|III. Maintaining and deepening client relationships remotely||65|
|IV. Addressing challenging or difficult clients||69|
|V. Client account management and key client teams||73|
|VI. Succession planning – retaining clients over the long term||84|
|Part 5. Earning loyalty through value, innovation||89|
|I. Adding value for clients||89|
|II. Initiating innovation and aligning value||93|
|III. Client convergence and preferred provider panels||102|
|IV. Cross-serving clients (aka cross-selling)||106|
|V. The role of collaboration||116|
|VI. Committing to diversity to earn loyalty||120|
|Part 6. Interviews with industry leaders and innovators||125|
|I. Jeff Carr, former senior vice president and general counsel of Univar Solutions and FMC Technologies, and inventor of the ACES Model||125|
|II. Mark Chandler, executive vice president, chief legal officer and chief compliance officer, Cisco Systems, Inc||131|
|III. Vincent Cordo, former central legal operations officer and global sourcing officer, Shell Oil Co; now chief client development and relationship officer, Holland & Knight||138|
|IV. Christopher Marston, founder and CEO, Exemplar Companies||144|
|Part 7. Conclusion||147|
|I. Healthy client roadmap: 25 tips to keep clients happy, satisfied and loyal||147|
|Part 8. Appendices||155|
|Appendix I. Covenant with counsel||155|
|Appendix II. Guidelines and procedures for outside counsel||157|
|Appendix III. steps to conducting effective client interviews||160|
|Appendix IV. sample client relationship and feedback questions||165|
|Appendix V. American Bar Association Resolution 113 to help promote diversity in the legal profession survey||170|
|Appendix VI. Case study: Kristen Cook, associate general counsel, 7-Eleven, Inc and SEI Fuel services, Inc; and winner of two ACC Value Champion Awards||171|
|About the author||175|
|About Globe Law and Business||176|
Building Enduring Client Loyalty distills a host of best practices and insights that teach us that client loyalty is less about what clients give to us than what we give to them.
Gary L Sasso
President and CEO, Carlton Fields
This treatise by Susan Duncan, and her collaborators, is an exceptional in-depth and invaluable resource for general counsel, managing partners and their lieutenants in developing sustainable working relationships with their law firms, suppliers and clients. The timing of this publication could not have been better given the current environment. As Building Enduring Client Loyalty suggests, building strategic long-term relationships is the key to success. Everyone within the firm, including the senior partners and ‘rainmakers’, must put their self-interest aside and do what is in the best interest of their client and the firm. At DuPont, we emphasised the importance of investing in each other’s success, which this publication does so well.
Thomas L Sager
former General Counsel DuPont and creator of the DuPont Legal Model
Building Enduring Client Loyalty reflects Susan’s considerable knowledge and experience, keen insight and deep legal industry connections. It is an easy-to-read, concise yet thorough and practical tutorial on a most important and timely subject for law firm leaders to understand and drive within their law firms in order to succeed and grow in today’s challenging and competitive legal marketplace.
Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Honigman LLP
Susan Saltonstall Duncan is the undisputed master in capturing and articulating the keys to leadership in law firm/client relationship management. As someone who studied and coached firms on these issues long before others found it fashionable, she has both a long view and a wide lens on the law firm business model and what makes their client relationships successful. No one is better positioned to understand the realities of client loyalty and the relationship qualities that engender it (or diminish it). In this new book, readers will be privvy to her treasure trove of strategic principles and practical tactics: I find her work in the areas of succession planning, “distinguishing” value (in a marketplace full of excellent but fungible service providers), and life-cycle conversations about expectations and collaboration particularly valuable. Given ongoing disruptions to the law firm business model, rapidly changing client expectations and increasing competition from other providers (from the law department itself, to newly established law companies), how could a law firm leader (or future leader) overlook the opportunity to leverage Susan’s wisdom?
CEO, Legal Executive Leadership, LLC, and former general counsel of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC – from 1989-2011)
Enduring client relationships are the key to success for all law firms. Building Enduring Client Loyalty is full of practical insights for creating and maintaining these relationships. Lawyers looking to build their practices would do well to read this book.
Chief Executive Partner, Chapman and Cutler LLP
Susan Saltonstall Duncan has always been a leader in our industry, guiding law firms and other service providers to understand and deliver on a true value proposition. She has made a name for herself as a practical, thoughtful leader focused on ensuring that clients are “delighted.” Susan has insight ranging across the legal landscape, grounded in real-life issues and actionable advice. This book, Building Enduring Client Loyalty, brings together Susan’s counsel and leadership and, given the environment we are working in currently, her advice is even more relevant and needed. As clients search for their footing in the modern world and turn to their legal providers for far more, Susan’s advice is timely and focused. She covers how to build a framework that ensures the right client focus but she also includes incredibly important advice on issues such as succession planning and onboarding new client relationships. Of particular note, Susan includes a “healthy client roadmap” that lays out the core principles and practical steps to making us all more client-focused and driven to build client loyalty. I highly recommend Building Enduring Client Loyalty to legal service providers in all industries.
Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
I absolutely loved it. The flow, the way the author clustered topics, the areas she chose to focus on and the level of detail were all spot-on. Somehow, it felt high level and strategic while still giving enough meat and detail for someone newer to a concept to be able to really understand and chart a path. I love that so many of the topics were evergreen but, at the same time, pieces like remote client engagement and the greater focus on diversity also felt very grounded in the here and now. It felt like something that would be appropriate for just about any level - from a new hire on a marketing team, to CMOs or firm leaders who have been struggling with some of these concepts for years!
Chief Client Development and Marketing Officer, Loeb & Loeb
Susan Saltonstall Duncan
President, RainMaking Oasis
Susan Duncan is the founder of RainMaking Oasis. For over 35 years, she has provided management consulting and coaching services to more than 160 law firms and professional service organisations, and nearly 1,000 individual professionals.
Her consulting firm works with firms, practice groups and individual professionals on firm and practice/sector strategy, client relationship management and development, client feedback and needs assessment programmes, business development training, coaching and strategy, succession planning, lateral integration strategies, firm values, visions and culture and innovation.
Susan has served in in-house roles including director of professional development, director of business development and chief strategy officer for a Global 25 law firm. She was inducted as a fellow into the College of Law Practice Management and into the Legal Marketing Association's Hall of Fame. She has widely published in legal publications, is regularly quoted in the press and speaks for national and international associations.