If you want to implement technology to support your approach to managing and developing client relationships, it helps if you can pre-empt and quickly address the inevitable obstacles that you are likely to meet along the way.
Given that the project’s scope is likely to be quite broad, it takes a clear strategy – tested in pilots – to build the confidence and persistence needed to see initiatives through. It’s not easy, but being able to be pro-active with client data to develop stronger relationships, introduce new service propositions and open up new opportunities is the way forwards for most legal firms today.
Although not many are yet doing it effectively yet, it’s the firms that have started down this track – which takes commitment and drive – that will shine in the future.
Get focused on what really matters
What are your main reasons for investing in a Client Relationship Management (CRM) system? Are you looking to productivity? Cut customer service costs? Or increase sales?
Then decide where to get started with projects in bite-sized chunks – getting data cleansed, so people can share a reliable single view of the client. Create the right structure for information you need to gather; agree what is the easiest way to do this and keep data up to date – make it really easy. Don’t ask people to do too much too soon. There is a circular challenge – people need to have reliable data to feel the benefits; but they have to help put the right data in before it can be reliable … How do you address that?
More can be less
As you’ve probably already discovered, suppliers of CRM systems are eager to differentiate their products with different features, such as social media connectors or linked apps for smartphones and tablets.
However, more is often less. The extra complexity and blitz of features can just serve to distract you and your employees from your core aims. It might be great that you’ve got a feature that lets you tweet customers from within your CRM, but will that really make much difference to generating more business? Maybe at some stage … but not at the outset.
Don’t forget the end user… from the outset
Input from your lawyers and support staff is crucial at every stage as they are the people who have to use whatever tools they are given. It’s essential you get end users involved in the buying decision – not just when you get to implementation. By that stage, their hands are tied by the system you have already paid for. Engaging them earlier will help point out barriers presented by certain systems and will likely save you a lot of time and money.
Realise the value of integration (Microsoft Office etc.)
The biggest challenges you’ll face with any new CRM system is user adoption. Anything that you can do to reduce the friction of using the system, will make this upcoming problem easier to handle. That’s where an integration with your existing systems become really useful.
Don’t be overly ambitious (sprint – in small chunks)
When you start out with a CRM system, you might want it to do a lot of things with it. If you pile all these requests up, you can build something that adds a lot of extra cost and time. Then you might discover that some of these features aren’t necessary later down the line.
At Inpractice UK, we use our experience of working with lawyers over many years on business development alongside the SPRINT methodology with our technical implementation partners (Crimson, when working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM) to build your CRM system. This means we focus on keeping the build process as lean as possible. We first build the elements and features which will get you the majority of results. You then test and pilot them, we modify based on your feedback from the pilot group – then we move on. This ensures that you don’t waste money and that we build something that genuinely benefits your business the way you want to develop it.
Plan for change management and training
It takes time for people to figure out how they can best use a CRM system. They need clear guidance, but also time to play with it, see how it works and to understand how it will benefit them. Change management and training is often more work than you expect it to be but we have the capacity and the patience to deliver all the training and ongoing support you need to guarantee you get the best experience for your users, so they adopt the system.
We can help you set out your objectives, strategy and plan of action to steer you through the potential pitfalls in implementing (and continuing to develop) your CRM system, so please …
CALL Inpractice UK on +44 (0)161 929 8355 now. You may qualify for a FREE CRM Discovery Day.