Tag Archives: CRM

NEW E-signature approval – now, how can you put this to work to reduce your operating costs and make legal transactions easier for clients?

Process improvement in Law firms - lean thinking, legal practice managementGood news here for clients (and for law firms) as we now have reliable backing for use of e-signatures in commercial transactions at least. The linked note from this Joint working party probably provides the clearest concise summary you will find of the current legal position on e-signatures across different areas of law, so you can decide how far you are willing to go in introducing more efficient (for you) and easier ways (for the client) of getting the job done.

I strongly recommend that you download the guidance note from the link below and share it widely in your practice to help initiate or progress improvements in process.

Download the working party’s guidance note and review here >>

A joint working party of more than 20 City law firms, co-chaired by Linklaters, has come together today to endorse the use of digital signatures in a business context. The joint working party of The Law Society Company Law Committee and The City of London Law Society Company Law and Financial Law Committees has produced a guidance note to help parties who wish to execute English law commercial contracts using an electronic signature.

The aim of this initiative is to make document signing faster, easier and more convenient by offering signatories the ability to sign documents directly from a smartphone, tablet or desktop. Electronic signatures have the potential to put an end to the time consuming practice of having to “print, sign, and scan” multiple documents and allow a signatory to access a document securely over the internet and insert his or her signature in the appropriate place.  Read more here >>

To explore how best to implement this guidance in your processes and working practices, contact Allan Carton at Inpractice UK on 07779 653105 or at acarton@inpractice.co.uk.  We are happy to have a preliminary confidential discussion to explore options for free and without obligation.

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.

Well done Blacks for making this happen! Listening to Clients & Referrers – the platform for 14% increase in profits.

Blacks Employment TeamOur clients, Blacks solicitors in Leeds have achieved double digit growth with profits up 14% from increased turnover of £10.2m for 2014/15.  There have been 15 new appointments during the year to boost its team and bring numbers up to 193.

Increases in quantity and size of the deals the company is doing, as well as investment in the firm’s infrastructure and workforce is said to be behind the growth; all initiatives developed from our work on client and introducer listening, leading into effective engagement of people in developing and implementing new business plans and initiatives.

Increased revenue, profit and motivation to meet objectives are the key results we look for.

Chris Allen, managing partner at Blacks, who is well known for his innovative approach to the legal sector, and the use of social media, said: “Our growing reputation means that more organisations are turning to us for advice. These year-end figures reflect the exceptional service provided by the staff here at Blacks.”

To find out more about how we at Inpractice UK can help you produce these kind of results for your business, contact Allan Carton on 0161 929 8355 or at solutions@inpractice.co.uk.

Courtesy of TheBusinessDesk

10 Essentials to get CRM working effectively in your practice

Scrabble Are You ReadyIntroducing effective client relationship management to generate new business from existing clients and introducers is always a challenge as success or failure depends on the desire of the lawyers and their supporting team to make it work.  They have to understand their role and the opportunity to produce results from doing things differently to make it work.

Some key simple rules here to help get off on the right foot and keep the momentum going:

  1. Take a snapshot of where you are now. Otherwise nobody remembers where they started and how far they’ve come.
  2. You need to plan to be persistent enough to make it work. Without a plan, objectives and milestones to help you refocus, other short term initiatives will take over.
  3. Start with getting some data to work with cleaned for use; and processes to keep it clean.
  4. Must be led from the top with agreed business objectives … that’s where we make a start.  Consider client listening to create a different dynamic to open up client relationships.
  5. Define your business drivers, current pain points to address and what you want to achieve.
  6. Identify and target short term wins.  Make sure your people succeed and talk about them.  Have some clear targets and objectives to establish Key Account Management.
  7. Agree & communicate the plan. Identify most appropriate people, next steps, pilot projects.
  8. Make data input easy and part of the daily routine, within Outlook.  Monitor activity.
  9. Persist! Stay focused on the plan & objectives, listen to engage more, monitor constantly.
  10. Communicate beyond the current pilot. Nurture them for the future, communicate success.

Our starting point is usually a CRM AUDIT to define your business drivers, current pain points.

CONTACT us to arrange a CRM Audit of your practice or Independent Client Listening to kick start your CRM initiative or re-engage with it.  

CALL 0161 929 8355 or complete this contact form.

“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