Before potential clients decide to work with you, there are a series of steps they usually take to determine whether you are the right attorney to assist them with their legal needs. Every experience a client has with you, from reading online reviews of your practice to calling your firm to schedule an appointment, affects their perception of you. That’s why it’s important to recognize how user-centered design (UCD) can help you build trust and attract more clients. Essentially, UCD attempts to understand the specific needs of your clients so that you can customize your services to address—and even anticipate—what they are looking for. It’s worth taking a quick look at some of the ways that UCD can help attorneys refocus their marketing efforts on the client experience, ultimately inviting and inspiring greater consumer trust in what you have to offer.
Visualizing Your Clients’ Needs
The foundation of user-centered design is understanding what your clients need. In order to anticipate what their situations or legal needs may be, you’ll need to listen. Talk to some of the clients you’ve recently helped, asking them to share what they were looking for in an attorney. You can gather this information during informal conversations, or you could ask some simple questions of them via email. Often, people will appreciate your attempts to genuinely understand their perspectives and they’ll provide you with detailed responses. The more ways that you are able to empathize with your clients and visualize their process for pursuing legal assistance, the more you’ll be able to shape your services to specifically address their needs.
Applying UCD to Your Law Practice
Once you believe you have a clear understanding of what your potential clients most value, consider some practical applications of UCD in various situations. For instance, your professional website is a great place to start. Look at it from the user’s perspective—is it welcoming? Does the wording inspire consumer trust or confidence? Is the visual layout clean and easy to navigate? Is there at least one clear way for a client to contact you or schedule an appointment? As you click through the sections and pages of your website, think about what your clients value and need. Do they want reassurance? Practical legal solutions? Empathy? Consider weaving these terms throughout the website’s content so that clients can easily see them.
UCD is an Ongoing Process
It’s important to realize that UCD is not a one-time effort. Simply changing a few words on your website and expecting to see an uptick in the number of clients who contact you for a consultation is not a useful way to approach UCD. Instead, think of UCD as an ongoing commitment to supporting your clients and providing them with the high-quality legal services that they are looking for. The needs and desires of your clients may evolve and shift over time, so convey that your firm is willing to grow and adapt along with them. Perhaps most importantly, allow yourself to fail at times. Some strategies may not pan out, whereas others will succeed. Change is not linear, so remaining open to all types of possibilities is the most strategic and effective way to implement user-centered design into your marketing strategy. Ultimately, clients will recognize and appreciate your continuous efforts to genuinely understand their perspective and anticipate their needs.