Legal CRM 101: 4 Ways To Strengthen Client Relations
Ever wondered how other firms handle their business development without wasting all their time on it? Legal CRM may help explain it.
Customer relationship management (CRM) is critical for any business, and law firms are no exception. CRM has a simple goal—improve your business relationships and, in doing so, help your business grow. For most companies, managing relationships with customers means everything, from marketing, to sales, and customer service. Similarly, legal services have to find new clients and keep them happy, all while making sure revenue is coming in as expected. In this article, you’ll find some valuable insights into how legal CRM can help your firm strengthen client relations.
Improve client relations and rapport
One bad interaction can make a big difference when it comes to a customer or client’s impression of a company. In fact, a 2018 report from Price Waterhouse Cooper found that around one in three customers say they’ll turn their backs on a brand they love after only one negative experience. For lawyers who often see clients in high-stress situations, this is incredibly important to keep in mind.
Usually, CRM means a software platform. The goal is to take business functions and put them all in a place that’s easy to find and deal with. For law firms using legal CRM, that means doing what it takes to turn a potential client into a retained one. You should be able to find software that will help you deal with business development, whether that’s managing client intake, scheduling follow-up appointments, or tracking revenue.
That said, here are four ways how law firms are using CRMs to improve their client relations:
1. Spend less time on business development (and more time practicing law)
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s critically important: lawyers earn money by practicing law. At the same time, they need to find clients and manage their firm’s operations. For small firms and especially solo practitioners, cutting down the amount of time spent on business development, administrative work—anything that isn’t practicing law—all helps lead to higher earnings.
This is a problem for a lot of small firms. A Thomson Reuters report on the state of small law firms in 2020 found that 26% of respondents rated acquiring new business as a significant challenge. In addition, 17% of those surveyed said that spending too much time on administration (and not enough time practicing law) was a challenge as well.
There are multiple solutions to these challenges. You could try using law practice management software (LPMS), which focuses on increasing your productivity with the current client load you have. A legal CRM program, on the other hand, will help you manage client intake, among other things.
2. Legal CRM can give you a competitive advantage
If you run a small law firm, you’re not only a lawyer—you’re a small business owner and a manager too. As previously mentioned, juggling all other responsibilities cuts down on the time you have to practice law, and it can impact your bottom line. While this has been a consistent problem, the Thomson Reuters reports have found that few firms have made the changes necessary to address these issues.
If you’re running a small firm and you are willing to make the changes you need—adopting the right legal CRM could be a part of that—you can experience the so-called “first mover” advantage. Essentially, if you’re willing and able to increase your efficiency while others fail to do so, you benefit more.
Remember though, the first mover advantage depends on forces that are beyond your control. The pace at which the market evolves and the pace at which tecahnology is evolving have a major impact. Still, while there’s an advantage to be had, you should take advantage of it. You can build a foundation that will see you through the kinds of changes that no one can see coming.
3. Be ready to adapt
No one had “prepare for a global pandemic” on their firm’s to-do list in 2019. (Maybe some did, but it was likely lower down on the list than it should have been.) Still, the pandemic has only accelerated many changes that were already afoot. For example, technological advances and shifts in the market for legal services have been coming for years. The right legal CRM can help you stay nimble, giving you time to prepare for other threats or challenges that may emerge in the future.
In a world that’s changing so quickly—just remember back to the summer of 2020 and how fluid new things were around COVID-19 safety and small business relief—it pays to be able to respond with up-to-date advice for your clients. Legal CRM can give you data on your clients that will allow you to stay better informed about the kind of information your clients need.
4. Collect and analyse data
One of the benefits of CRM is obvious: it helps you find more clients and helps you stay on top of the logistics of responding to them as needed. There’s another benefit to using it too—namely, the data you can collect. CRM software can track all kinds of information about your clients. That data can be described as such:
- Identity: This includes contact information as well as relevant personal details and social media accounts.
- Descriptive: This provides a more holistic picture of your clients, with information like career and educational details as well as familial and lifestyle information.
- Quantitative: Data of this type entails everything about how your clients have interacted with your firm like how much they’ve spent and what kind of communication they favor.
- Qualitative: If you’re gathering feedback, whether via surveys or another mode, this category describes that data. Tracking things like customer satisfaction and what drove them to turn to your firm can help you find more leads in the future.
If you’re considering which legal CRM can do for your law practice, move sooner rather than later can make a huge difference. As laid out in this article, there’s a lot of potential for efficiency in streamlining the business development aspects of your practice. If you take advantage of that now while others do not, you can build a foundation that could serve you well going into the future.