After a week in the firm of TH Walker Solicitors & Conveyancers, I came away with much learned and plenty to reflect on, but one key takeaway presented itself above all else.
That is that in a law firm technology is the great enabler, however, without the appropriate level of client service and attention there exists only enhanced process and greater efficiencies… and the feeling that something is missing.
I have long been a believer that service is waning in favour of technology, and that technology is good until it’s not. How LEAP provide a continually improving level of support and service, in supplement to market-leading software, is constantly a topic of conversation and action within my own organisation.
In other industries the advancement of technology can signal the decline of good, old fashioned customer service but in the case of the legal industry the advancement of technology must give rise to a renewed level of personalised service.
You see, as technology becomes more affordable and widely available due to economies of scale, brought about by advancements in Cloud storage and computing, it also ceases to deliver as much clear competitive advantage as it once did.
Early adoption no longer guarantees law firms significant time out in front of the pack. New technology catches on quickly, expedited by the new generation of “digital natives” entering legal practice. Digital natives who have been weaned on technology and who stand inherently against manual process and double data entry.
So as the pack consumes readily available and increasingly affordable technology, and closes in on the leaders, we see the rise of another differentiator – the service, care and attention firms provide their clients.
The importance of client service
The way you deal with and care for your clients will set your firm apart, ever increasingly as time in the legal industry wears on, and it’s a lot harder to invest time in providing good service than invest dollars in providing good technology. The latter any firm can do, but the former is more challenging and requires infinitely more diligence.
The definition of good service is a wide one, but it most definitely includes clear and frequent communication with your clients. Your modern clients are used to having information at their fingertips, being informed and constantly in the loop. They are increasingly placing the same expectation on their professional service providers and you can thank technology for this. So, service and technology are intertwined and it’s becoming harder to provide one independently of the other. Firms need to master both to be truly competitive.
Client Service at TH Walker
At TH Walker they have client service down to a fine art, not because they make a conscious effort to do so but because it’s been a part of the way Tom Walker has practiced law for the last 45 years. Delivering service with a difference is easier when it’s ingrained versus when it’s a conscious effort.
Tom uses LEAP to enhance and supplement his long-standing brand of exemplary client focus, care and attention. Do I wish the firm would utilise more of LEAP’s functionality? Of Course, many firms don’t use LEAP to its full potential. Was I overly insistent on moving TH Walker Solicitors & Conveyancers to cloud-based LEAP? Yes, unapologetically so, and with good reason. Could I fault the way Tom’s firm operates and how he uses LEAP alongside his own process to achieve the end result? Never. Will I be cajoling everyone in the firm to use more of LEAP’s functionality? Absolutely.
The result of technology meets stand-out client service, witnessed during my week at TH Walker, was a constant stream of clients all greeted by name, in return requesting Tom by name and many attesting to being clients for more than 20 years. Equally as prevalent was a steady stream of referrals on property files, mostly from agents both within and outside the immediate area, due to contracts being reviewed and contracts being drawn up with minimal delay – another area where LEAP & InfoTrack blend perfectly with TH Walker’s legal expertise, experience and client service. I even opened some of those files myself, although I’m certain I was being indulged more than I was being helpful.
Good technology should be user-friendly, intuitive and insert itself into a firm’s daily processes, but should never excuse a firm from providing anything but the highest level of personalised service.
If you don’t consider your firm’s client service as a differentiator, I strongly urge you to strive to make it so, if you don’t see the importance of investing in cloud practice management technology, I strongly urge you to rethink your firm’s priorities. If neither is on your radar… well it might just be time to consider a career change.
Chief Executive Officer, LEAP Legal Software
Brendan is tasked with providing guidance to the executive team on innovative business practices and with providing superior technology to law firms. He is responsible for LEAP’s overall business performance, with an underlying focus on delivering and supporting innovative legal software solutions to clients in Australia. Prior to joining LEAP, Brendan worked in the Legal Software and Information Brokerage industries in Australia for eight years, with experience working in senior management roles both here and abroad. He specialises in change management with a focus on growing sales revenue. As a noted business professional, Brendan frequently speaks on legal technology innovation to audiences in Australia.