Do colleagues in your firm book cabs on Uber, organise holiday accommodation on Airbnb, or check Yelp for restaurant ratings? Mobile technology consumption is changing the way people discover and choose services, and legal advice is no exception.
If you still use manila folders to store your matter information or email to share it, it’s time to rethink your client service.
Here are four back-of-house efficiency gains that translate into better client service. Match client service in your firm with the service delivered by leading companies to win and retain more business.
1. Ensure you can correspond with clients, even when you’re away from the office
Working while you’re on the go is now an expectation. Clients trust that they’ll be able to reach you – whether you’re on the other side of the country, or in the next suburb.
To strengthen client relationships, make sure your devices and systems enable you to:
• Send emails and documents when you’re out of the office.
• Collaborate with your team, even when they’re not working in the same location.
• Access matter and client information, no matter where you are.
• Keep accurate out-of-office time records, so it’s easy to explain billing.
This is a win-win model. The ability to do productive work on a long commute, or while waiting at court, can help you clock off at a reasonable hour. No longer do you have to race back to the office to send an email or access a matter file.
2. Help your teams work efficiently, so they have time to build client relationships
When it comes to retaining staff who build positive relationships with your clients, salary package isn’t everything. Many of the best staff want to work for innovative companies that take a genuine interest in the individual behind the job title and provide quality systems that help them get their job done well.
You’ll spot a good software system by its ability to automate manual processes. Unnecessary manual work erodes staff motivation and can lead to costly errors. Inaccurate time recording, lost matter documentation, and mistakes on invoices can be prevented by systems that automate repetitive or data-driven tasks.
Leading firms ensure that employees have access to:
• A system that accommodates single sign-in to a suite of integrated software, so staff can move quickly between multiple systems required to complete a matter.
• Automatic timekeeping.
• Documents and forms that staff can merge client and matter data into.
When essential tasks are completed efficiently, staff can focus their time on things that technology can’t do: interpreting the law and helping clients.
3. Build trust by accepting only the best data security for your firm and clients
When choosing a law firm, prospective clients want to know that your system will keep their information safe and confidential.
While local servers may seem cost effective and secure, they’re fast becoming obsolete. Today, most quality software is hosted in a cloud-based server. This configuration of infrastructure means that individual firms no longer need to research and understand changing data security requirements. A good software company has the scale and in-house knowledge to partner with a quality data host on behalf of law firms. You gain security from a good data host while eliminating the cost of buying or maintaining a local server.
Choose a practice management system that has:
• Servers hosted in your country of operation.
• Trusted data encryption.
• Third-party security accreditation.
4. Integrate your systems, so information is at your fingertips
Web searches now provide access to basic legal knowledge, so there’s every chance that your client is fact-checking as you advise them. In this context, it’s vital that your firm’s systems are configured to give you instant access to matter and client details, so you can give clear advice on the spot. From accounting to detailed matter research, clients want to know you’re speaking with authority, and working with information that’s more comprehensive than what they can find online.
A database search on your phone or tablet gives you fast answers and looks more professional than rifling through printed matter documents. It’s a simple but effective way to deliver better client service. Ditch the manila folder to remain relevant.
A final word: You’re more ready than you realise
Your firm likely provides tech devices that aren’t bring used to their full potential. According to a legal technology survey by ABA, 90 per cent of lawyers were using a smartphone last year.
In workplaces where mobile devices are the norm, it’s logical that practice management software supports mobile interface.
Empower your staff to take the legal intelligence and productivity of the office with them.0