Category Archives: CRM

Making CRM work for you. Whether you are starting afresh or re-launching your initiatives, we have the people and support to help you.

Client Needs AnalysisJust a reminder of the team we have available here at Inpractice UK to support your CRM and other business development initiatives:

Strategy, culture change, client research, employee engagement, planning

Cleansing & Managing Data, Implementing Technology

Sales & Key Account Management – hands-on support and training for your people to generate more business from  new prospects and existing clients.

Software tools to support employee engagement and development of new skills

TO FIND OUT MORE about our approach to implementing CRM, contact Allan Carton on 07779 653105 or at solutions@inpractice.co.uk

Conveyancers’ New Year Resolution – Get closer, dig deeper with new prospects and clients to win more business … and enjoy the job more.

Silhouette person jumping over 2015 on the hill at sunsetEvery conveyancing practice that wants to grow their client base by providing more service to existing clients, their family, friends and work colleagues should help their conveyancers take a step back; help them to think and talk between themselves about what they could do to make it easier to help their clients to recommend them. 

This would help … so read on to find out about just some of the opportunities that are currently being lost (there are more that we discuss and address during this workshop).  Something to share with your team to help kick 2016 off in the right direction?

Key conclusions from our review of the results of the most recent research by the Property Academy and TM Group of 4,500 consumers and comparing them against the previous year (which we reported here):

Finding:  Confirming our research over many years, only 13% of the clients chose conveyancers that offered the cheapest price; down from 18% the previous year.

Our Advice: Conveyancers should be investing time now to learn how to sell their service much more effectively on value, not price.  Our mystery shopping of conveyancers confirms that very few firms are getting this right with most of the questions being asked revolving around “how much?”

Finding:  It also no surprise that clients who chose the service primarily for a lower price were significantly less likely to recommend their conveyancers enthusiastically to others.

Our Advice:  The key lesson here is that if you want to keep clients for life and build your business around new business from their friends, family and work colleagues, it is dangerous to cut your prices and service.  If you have little margin to ensure they get a service they really value, the chances are that a good number will not be happy and won’t come back.

Finding:  21% of people chose their conveyancer through a recommendation from a friend; up by a third since the previous year.  However, more than double that number (42%) would be willing to recommend their conveyancers, so opportunities are still being lost here.

Our Advice:  Conveyancers should focus on understanding and delivering what each client values in the service and relationship; then make it easy for existing clients to recommend them.  That involves routine ongoing research and review of what clients want and get; both formal and informal. Always ask clients if they would recommend.  You don’t want any “smiling assassins”, so talk to your clients and show willing to adapt.

Findings:  Choosing from an estate agent recommendation is still the most frequent route, but the 38% of clients who made their choice this way was down by 8% from the previous year.

Our Advice:  Perhaps clients are becoming more cautious, which gives conveyancers more opportunity to win new business directly by selling services better – on value.  However, there are clearly significant benefits in working with estate agents.

Property Academy Research - How did you choose your conveyancer, 2013, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Findings:  Older clients and owners of higher value properties are more likely to recommend their conveyancers to others.

Our Advice:  Again confirms all our research and experience in practice over the years.  It hasn’t changed but lawyers have failed to be pro-active in developing the opportunities.  If you are going to invest time in developing relationships, focus on them as you are likely to get the best return on your investment.  Few firms segment private clients by age and property values, but should do.  These are also the most likely people to benefit (directly and for their families) in other higher value private client legal services.  Have you done this and initiated relationship-developing initiatives focused on their particular needs?

Findings:  On how and how often to communicate with clients during the transaction …

Property Academy Research - How to contact, 2014

Property Academy Research - How often to contact, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Advice:  When it comes to deciding what a client will see as giving them the value they want, you simply must ask them.  Different people want different things; confirmed in the critical questions about communication (where many firms unintentionally get it very wrong); how and how often clients feel they want to be contacted by their conveyancer?

There is more enlightening information in this Home Moving Trends 2014 report; well worth downloading here to share across your practice.

If you are interested in developing your conveyancing services and your people to make the most of the opportunities available now, call me on 0161 929 8355 for a free, confidential discussion to explore some options; or complete this form and I will contact you.

Is engaging your people high on your agenda for 2016? If it is, now is a good time to explore new options that can help you leapfrog competitors.

Employee EngagementIt should be!  Engaging people in what you want to achieve – when there is a lot of change and re-focusing of priorities needed – is a critical area of management where most law firms should be focusing right now …. but where is the best place to start afresh or re-engage? 

Let us help you explore how you can use some tools to make this happen (to keep the momentum going), with confidence.

Senior management in most law firms struggle to engage and develop people and to implement new business development initiatives on target.  Nobody feels they have enough time, but a lot of precious management time and energy is easily wasted through lack of consistent focus on what everyone is trying to achieve.  

The Challenges and the Opportunities for UK Legal practices – READ MORE HERE >>

It could be so very different, with Simitive to help structure and manage engagement, projects and development of people.

People – from the CEO or Managing partner to the office junior – work more effectively if they are helped to understand what they can do to make the best use of their skills and experience – and fill gaps as they become apparent; not having to wait for the next formal appraisal.

Many senior managers are too busy because they feel only they can do all of the jobs they do; eating up every second of the day. That does not make for a sustainable business. Management need to find a way to develop others around them to share the load, contributing more, with sound support to ensure results now and fill the gaps in skills and experience along the way.

Arrange a FREE Demonstration of Simitive for you and your team.

Simitive – developed and implemented successfully in other professional services sectors – provides a framework to support better and more effective, routine engagement of people in all aspects of the work they do;  fee earning, management, projects, personal and business development, mentoring etc.  Transparency and alignment of objectives and tasks enables managers to constantly review progress and provide input when needed, quickly adapting the plan by agreement as things progress.  Internal communication, collaboration and innovation all benefit too.

The Simitive solution comprises 3 key components to add structure to management of your practice:

  • Simitive ObjectivesSimitive Goals & Projects provide interactive, real-time management and monitoring of organisation, team and individual goals, objectives and projects. The system ensures that all organisational, team and individual goals and projects are clearly defined, agreed, visible and up to date, with a clear line of sight upwards and downwards through the whole organisation. Clients using Simitive Goals & Projects report a 20% saving in administration time, a 20% saving in wasted effort and a significant increase in the level of employee engagement on the desired outcomes of the organisation.Simitive Review
  • Simitive Review creates an on-going ‘living review’ that aligns with an individual’s goals and allows a more sophisticated, ongoing and adaptive way to communicate. Users of Simitive Review typically see completion rates increase to over 90%. At the same time the quality of conversations increases with over 85% or reviewees and reviewers reporting significant improvements in the quality and value of their appraisals.
  • Simitive LearningSimitive Learning Management helps law firms manage the SRA’s new competency requirements (that are replacing CPD), providing a real-time learning management platform that engages every individual directly in identifying, agreeing and completing learning and development activities.  It enables you to work together with your people to define what learning activity is required, when, and by whom.  It also chases your staff pro-actively to advise of training required.  Simitive’s Learning Management System (LMS) supports SRA-style behavioural, competency and skills frameworks, providing the platform for talent management and succession planning.

To arrange a demonstration contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or at acarton@inpractice.co.uk

Great plans, but people need to be “engaged” in the business to make them happen?

Businessman holding up an OK signNow, as law firms are trying to change their business radically to meet new and changing demands, there is a critical need to deliver on new business strategies and initiatives. “Employee Engagement” is where most potential lies to improve the short term performance and long term sustainability in most law firms.

The Challenge … and the Opportunity

Top management can have all the best business development plans, new service propositions, process maps, key account management or new technology in the world, but if employees don’t understand and value the part they play, efforts to implement them WILL fail.  They won’t produce the results hoped for; probably missing the mark by a very long way.

We’ve seen it happen many times before, where initiatives lose momentum, detractors snipe at the advocates and everyone gets stressed out.  The job may get done … eventually, but it has been much more painful than it should have been, people get worn down and the results are nowhere close to what was achievable.

Your people should be your most valuable asset.  In many firms they are not.

People work more effectively if they understand their role in the business they work in and are supported effectively on projects allocated to them.  Effective communication, mutual respect, collaboration and understanding what is expected of each other amongst colleagues contribute significantly to motivation.

Lawyers have never been good at finding time to engage the people around them; nor to develop the skills needed to do that effectively.  Maybe that didn’t matter so much in the past.  I have interviewed a lot of capable and dedicated, but seriously disenfranchised people on projects over the years – not just management and support, but lawyers too.

In the past, this failing has just made a lot of law firms more stressful – but maybe also less challenging – places to work, which was a shame, but not fatal to the business.

Going forwards it will be an obstacle to survival as others establish a new momentum, actively supported by the people working for them.  Law firms stuck in old ways, unable to get people to do things differently will suffer.

Research has shown that “engagement” pays off.

  1. About 37% of an employee’s time in the office is wasted just because they do things that don’t make any difference; and that applies to both lawyers and support staff.  That is about 14 hours per week that could be used much more productively.
  2. You can radically reduce this wasted time by as much as 17% to release about 7.5 hours per week to more relevant work by creating better focus on better aligned organisational goals.  That might be earning fees, developing business, mentoring their team, training others …
  3. Clarity of Success Criteria also reduces stress and promotes focused contribution to the business aligned to corporate and individual development.
  4. Consistent, regular monitoring results in early identification of potential issues in either individual or organisational performance, creating the opportunity for pro-active intervention.

Why does that really matter?

If you move your practice to one where employees are “engaged” you would expect to:

  • Improve the profitability of the business
  • Maximise the engagement and utilisation of all resources.
  • Generate effective collaboration between people, teams and departments
  • Reduce stress and anxiety that derives from uncertainty
  • Develop innovative improvements in internal operations and added value services
  • Visibility of roles and tasks so each person knows what is expected of them and others
  • Deliver projects on time and within budget
  • Improve clarity, ownership and reporting of Organisational Goals.
  • Facilitate Organisational and Cultural change to meet business challenges.
  • Improve the engagement of staff in their own and organisational goals.
  • Improve visibility of skill and resource shortfalls.
  • Facilitate succession planning.
  • Simplify compliance and associated reporting.
  • Provide a platform management of programs and projects.
  • Deliver Staff training and development including compulsory training (e.g. health and safety, diversity, fire, environment) with compliance validation

What does “Engagement” look like?

You will get the message from this thought provoking X-Model of “Engagement” video.

How to build effective engagement into the fabric of your law firm?

Making it happen is the subject of the next post on the topic of “Employee Engagement”. Please come back soon; or register on the site and we will let you know when the next update has arrived.

To find out more in the meantime about how we at Inpractice UK can help you develop and implement an effective approach to engaging your people to improve the performance of your practice, contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or at solutions@inpractice.co.uk.

Net Promoter Score – A simple measure of client perceptions, for starters.

Net Promoter ScoreNet Promoter® is both a loyalty metric and a discipline for using customer feedback to fuel profitable growth in your business.   Developed by Satmetrix,® Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld, the concept has been embraced by leading companies worldwide as the standard for measuring and improving customer loyalty.

It is a straightforward metric that holds companies and employees accountable for how they treat customers. It has gained popularity thanks to its simplicity and its linkage to profitable growth.  Employees at all levels of the organization understand it, opening the door to customer-centric change and improved performance.

Net Promoter Score (NPS®) is based on the fundamental perspective that your customers can be divided into three categories:

  • Promoters
  • Passives
  • Detractors.

By asking one simple question — How likely is it that you would recommend [Company X] to a friend or colleague? — you can track these groups and get a clear measure of your company’s performance through your customers’ eyes.   Customers respond on a 0-to-10 point rating scale. To calculate your Net Promoter Score, take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors.

Net Promoter Score categorises your customers into three categories based on their willingness to recommend your brand:

  • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal customers who keep buying more and refer others.
  • Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic and vulnerable to competition.
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy, impede growth, and damage your brand through negative word of mouth.

To calculate your Net Promoter Score, take the percentage of customers who are Promoters and subtract the percentage who are Detractors.

“Where you can add value … all about technology” – Henk Potts, Barclays Economist

A lively review here from Barclays’ economist, Henk Potts reviewing progress in 2014 and looking ahead to 2015.  If key opportunities for UK SME’s flow from advances in technology, what does that mean for your legal business and for how you develop your relationships with your SME clients?

 

For the relationship with clients … you will only find out by asking them, but to make the most of the new opportunities that are opening up, you need to interpret what they say back into how you can adapt your use of technology to add more value to your services and your relationship with them.

For more from Barclays – go here >>

If you are interested in exploring how you can harness technology to add more value for your clients to generate more business – contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or acarton@inpractice.co.uk   Always happy to explore options with you with no obligation.

What do legal departments want from their law firms?

Listening to clientsIf the comments on your service come straight from the horse’s mouth – your client –  your people HAVE to hear it, evaluate it objectively, believe it and do something about it!

This comes from the US, but the General Counsel respondents to this question were from global business.  You can feel some thrusting legal egos, which don’t make relationships any easier, but you have to deal with them and cater for client perceptions if you want to win and maintain the business in the best way for you.

Many comments resonate a lot with our client listening work, where we translate the feedback from FD’s, CEO’s, COO’s and General counsel into new value-added service propositions – turning this kind of feedback to positives to build stronger strategic relationships by responding effectively.

These few examples of specific comments sound very familiar – and powerful to generate change if it comes from your client to your lawyers.

  • Treat clients as partners, not as customers.
  • Provide strategy alternatives, and be sure to tie them to associated fees and risks. We don’t operate carte blanche any more.
  • Communicate more efficiently.  Get to the point and spare us the 10-page memos.  We want the answer, not a ton of irrelevant legal analysis.
  • Make the effort to get to know our Legal Department: our goals, priorities, our constraints and pressures, our initiatives, and yes, our lawyers and our culture. Work harder at learning to work with us.
  • Please re-use previous work product and then only charge us for updating or changing it.

So are you listening to clients now … and acting on it effectively … and can we help?

Read the full article summarising direct feedback from General Counsel here, courtesy of Pam Woldow.

To find out how you can use our independent client listening services to transform relationships with some of your clients, adding a new dimension to your business, contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or at acarton@inpractice.co.uk