Customer journey maps are an essential element of your law firm’s content strategy. They tell you all of the stages in your customer’s relationship with you. And they allow you to take a careful look at whether your direction and approach is suitable.
If your law firm is like many, you probably don’t have data about your customers. Or, rather, you may have an idea about your existing customer profile, but you wouldn’t be able to prove it without having to spend hours (maybe days) getting it together.
Quite likely you have a strong feeling that you get most of your work through referral. This is why lawyers are hot on networking events. Lawyers and law firms’ Business Development Officers are always out on the hustle.
In the United States, recent research shows that researching law firms takes the referral shape. It’s who do you recommend or what do you know about them, not what does their website say. So if there is one thing you do this quarter, make sure you have a seamless data capture process. Make sure you know exactly how all of your customers found you. And make sure it’s a system that you only need to glance at to get that information.
The importance of referrals to law firms is exactly why you need a customer journey map.
What is a customer journey map?
In its simplest form, a customer journey map is a document that tells you:
- how people find you
- how and when people engage you
- the relationship stages of you and your new customer
- when customers become ex-customers
- how past customers become repeat customers.
Yes, that’s right. A customer journey map will allow you to see how to turn your customers into repeat customers.
Why is a customer journey map essential to my content strategy?
Content strategy starts with planning. Customer journey maps are part of that planning stage. It is essential because it tells you exactly where you have content that touches all of the stages of the journey. And it tells you what all of your gaps are.
Now, that content might take many forms. It might be digital. It might be in print. It might be hand-written and sent by courier. Whatever it is, the customer journey map is one way of simply explaining the purpose for each piece.
Here is an example:
You can see in the example how each stage of the journey has been taken literally. That’s what yours needs to do, too.
Notice also that ‘make or break’ moments are defined. So, too, are places where you need data to help deliver an experience; and icons to remind you to make each part of the experience more positive.
The customer journey map is a simple way of stepping back and out of your role, and really understanding what your customers are going through either with you or with your competition. It reminds you to add value, everywhere possible.
How to use the customer journey map once you have one
Once you have done the work necessary to create a customer journey map, you can critically analyse whether your existing content supports it. It’s very likely that your content (and related process) leaves a significant number of gaps.
A very common gap is in the space between conclusion and re-engagement. There are a lot of options for law firms. One is email newsletters, which work only if they’re directly relevant (and aren’t, for example, everything the firm is doing). One is a hand-written thank you card. One is a refer-a-friend scheme, however you choose to do that. One is to pop into the customer’s awareness at intervals designed to intersect significant times in their lives.
Some of those suggestions you can’t do without a lot of data about each person, and a method of maintaining and using it.
So where do you start with your strategy? With this?
Content strategy is not just about how you deal with people online. It engages every part of your business and challenges you to stay relevant at all times. For law firms that work on a “whole of firm” basis, it is a huge change and takes careful planning.