Monthly Archives: November 2010

Legal Aid reforms would impact on conveyancers

The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation paper called “Proposals for Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales”.  The consultation proposes two potential changes to use money held on client account to fund Legal Aid.  This is a serious threat because event though conveyancers are not getting the interest that they did it is still helping many stay afloat and the proposals seem unfair in principle.

Read more at Today’s Conveyancer on how this might impact on you here.

The consulation paper can be found at and remains open until the 14th February 2011.

Beware smiling assassins!

Smiling AssassinCustomer advocates are the holy grail of customer management.  These much sought after and highly valuable customers attract new business through word of mouth recommendations without the need for a reward, defend reputations publicly and act as a positive force within a customer base.

However, as with all stories of good and evil, there are also dark forces at work. Highly toxic customers, who endanger your business and damage your reputation through negative word of mouth recommendations, I call these customers smiling assassins!

But how do we identify smiling assassins and more importantly, what can we do about them?  To help you spot assassins, consider an experience where you didn’t receive the level of service you expected or paid for, e.g. at a restaurant or a hotel. Did you complain? Or did you simply smile and say “yes fine” when asked “was everything ok?“, rather than “no it was bloody awful and I’m not coming back because of …!“ If so, you are a smiling assassin, especially if you create negative word of mouth.

The majority of consumers are smiling assassins. They don’t set out to be, often they want to voice an opinion or provide feedback but there is no method for doing this. Others don’t want to engage in a dialogue that could lead to embarrassment or confrontation so they simply smile, say “yes fine” and walk away, forever.  Businesses also make it difficult for customers and employees to facilitate feedback.  They see complaints as a nuisance or a distraction; if we ignore them they’ll go away one contact centre manager told me recently. This “burying of heads in the sand” approach and the ignorance of real customer insight is extremely dangerous and results in many missed opportunity to improve services for all customers.

The answer to finding and converting assassins is to take the emotion out of the feedback process and to make it simple. Encouraging customers to be critical is free consultancy, but don’t ask them to complete lengthy questionnaires or send them to a website.  Be sincere, simple and make the communication work for them.  Remember that you are using their time and their thoughts. Capture their issues, concerns and comments, then act upon them. If you can recover the assassin they are highly likely to become an advocate; then rather than tell others how bad you are, they will tell them how you listen, respond and actually care. If you don’t look after your customers, somebody else will, and evil will prevail!

Check out some recent research here from the MoJ that demonstrates just how prevalent this problem is amongst clients of legal firms during the next few days.

Allan Carton

Lexis Nexis announce new Microsoft PMS / ERP Solution

Lexis Nexis launched a new partnership between their Enterprise Solutions Group (which includes all the Streamline, Axxia dna, InterAction, LexisCheck, Visualfiles, Solcase and Redwood Analytics products) with Microsoft at their annual user conference this week.

This will see them launch a new Microsoft-driven ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution for law firms built on Microsoft Dynamics AX which ensures tight integration with the whole Microsoft stack of applications that law firms have always used – and those where use is increasing e.g. Microsoft SharePoint, CRM and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

12,000 businesses use Dynamics AX already, so Microsoft’s investment in this product to date  ensures that it comes with rich features and funcionality built in.  The Lexis Nexis solution will be built on the newest version – AX6 – which is due for release in 2010 and will go a long way beyond traditional legal practice, case and document management systems. 

Having worked on Dynamics AX, we have an understanding of the capabilities here, so we see this as a radical development in the legal technology sector.  There is due to be an early adopters programme during 2011, with the fully developed product widely available in the UK and beyond from 2012. 

Allan Carton