The Legal Industry Casts a Wary, yet Eager Eye Toward Journey Mapping

Topics: Business Development & Marketing Blog Posts, Client Relations, Efficiency, Law Firm Profitability, Law Firms, Legal Innovation

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Fresh off of the ARK Group’s Competitive Intelligence in the Modern Law Firm conference in New York City and the Legal Market Association’s (LMA’s) Legal Marketing Technology conference in San Francisco, it’s clear that in the thick of conference season there are still a few hot topics buzzing within the legal industry.

One of special interest — journey mapping. Briefly, journey mapping is the visual representation of a customer’s (whether that be internal or external) interaction within the business as well as across the business. During a corporate counsel panel at the LMA conference, attendees were asked who was familiar with the concept of journey mapping to which a modest 10% raised their hands. Only a week prior at ARK’s CI conference, a use-case was presented where a firm leveraged journey mapping to drive business growth. These two ideas around journey mapping discussed at these conferences cater to different audiences (internal client vs. external client) but share a common thread. That is, leveraging journey mapping as an approach to solve large strategic initiatives that aid in re-engineering the delivery of legal services.

Using Mapping to Understand Your Client

Outside the legal industry journey mapping isn’t a new concept, and it has been used by some of the largest companies to drive growth and better understand clients. At its best, journey mapping illustrates each point of a client’s interaction and provides a better understanding of what the client goes through as they engage with a service, solution, individual and company. There are many frameworks out there, but in general the process involves understanding what the client is doing at each stage of the engagement (capturing prior-, during- and post-engagement).

Moreover, understanding what motivates the client and what structural, process, cost, implementation or other barriers stand in the client’s way. Companies like Boeing, Sprint, Holiday Inn and Fidelity all have pursued journey mapping to unmask a hotbed of benefits from increased revenue to multi-millions in savings.

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In its application to law firms, journey mapping has numerous uses with potential to render similar returns as seen outside of the industry. Used on internal clients, journey mapping can provide a firm with an understanding of how people interact with systems, departments and other individuals within the firm. One example of this is understanding the way business development interacts with lawyers and vice versa, mapping out the journey from prior to the engagement through post. Done right a firm will understand who interacts, how they interact, what motivates them to interact and what barriers they encounter. By illustrating the entire cycle, a firm may identify points of opportunity and standardization.

Another compelling use involves external interactions. Specifically, how an outside client engages the firm. Applying a similar framework, the process involves understanding what motivates a client to contact the firm, what happens throughout the engagement process and beyond, and so on. Key elements of the process also include discovery, design thinking and persona development. The result is an in-depth understanding of the client’s experience which allows firms to cater the delivery of legal services, anticipate needs, effectively collaborate and ultimately deepen key client relationships. You can begin to see now why the corporate counsel panel brought this up.

As seen in other industries once these insights are turned into action, the results equate to revenue and savings. Reason enough for law firms to take another look as journey mapping may one day soon help lay the foundation needed to re-engineer the delivery of legal services and offer a fresh approach to the legal industry.