Monthly Archives: October 2014

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

 

Problem #6: How do you share information on clients and prospects so your people can work together in fulfilling their legal needs?

Client Needs AnalysisTo deliver an improved client experience, legal practitioners must first understand the client’s needs and value to the business. To do this, everyone in your practice needs to be able to share one reliable source of information about each client and prospect.

Unfortunately, this is where many firms fall down. Traditional ways of gathering client information have resulted in most firms having multiple – and incomplete or incorrect – records; for example with just very basic name and address details in the accounts system, with more in case management and Excel spreadsheets that are maintained by individuals for their own purposes; not shared.

To overcome this obstacle, legal firms need to move towards a single view of clients; one of the biggest objectives of implementing a CRM solution.

A single view is crucial for any individual at your practice who is engaging with a client. It offers insight into their particular needs, with all the relevant information on hand. This knowledge enables individual practitioners to provide an improved experience for their client, which builds rapport, trust and, most importantly, customer loyalty.

This all sounds appealing of course, but can you deliver that single view of the client?

Technology provides tools to make this possible … and it is not difficult if you commit to making it happen, although you do need to set out the rationale, communicate it and be persistent to help people use the system.   CRM solutions are delivered on platforms that support data integration, so sharing client data from one system to another is straightforward.

However, you need to start with some reliable data and build from there; so start by improving your data.  

Here are three tips that can help improve the quality of your data.

1. Delete duplicate data.

Duplicate records could lead members of your team to chase the same client, and to discrepancies over fee earners. An effective CRM system can enhance one-to-one relationships between clients and an individual; it can also identify duplicate records in real time and avoid sending multiple sales reps after the same client.

2. Standardise and cleanse your data.

It may take some time, but it is definitely worth the investment ensuring that data is accurate, consistent, current and complete. This can ensure full integration of data, offering relevant insight into client relationships, needs and behaviours.

3. Prospect more efficiently and effectively.

Once data is standardised and correct, it can become easy to identify new opportunities. Clients can be assigned to one main point of contact within the firm. This relationship can be thoroughly explored which means that services can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of the client. Behind the scenes, high quality and correct data can allow for errors to be identified corrected before they occur.

Ultimately, users need to remember that any CRM system is only as good as the data it uses. Incorrect or poor data can result in a CRM system that does not support your firm. And the result can have a domino effect. Poor data can damage the confidence of users within the firm, which, in turn, can lead to potential confusion for your clients.

If you understand the challenges you face in achieving a single view of your clients then you can plan for them, and mitigate and manage risk. By providing a solution that gives your employees confidence, you will ultimately be giving your clients a better service and experience.


To discuss and test your plans to introduce or re-engage your people on initiatives to develop more business by introducing a more effective approach to managing client relationships; confidentially, free and with no obligation – CONTACT Nathan Smith or Allan Carton.  You may well qualify for this free in-house CRM Discovery Day workshop to help bring more of your people on board.