Technology is an essential part of any modern practicing attorney’s toolkit. In Tad’s Tech Corner, join me as I discuss how to best utilize technology– both from a device and software standpoint– during your daily lawyering tasks and during trial. Discussions, as always, are welcome in the comments section below.
— Tad Thomas
Rapid advancements in technology have morphed the customer experience. While we may not call our clients customers, we provide a service that they pay for. As with customers of any business, our clients have information that is always within arm’s reach. So, there’s less tolerance for anything other than instant gratification.
In order to experience continued success for your law firm, it’s important to understand how to utilize technology to improve and maintain client relationships. To do this, you’ll not only want to understand the role technology plays in the client experience, but you’ll also need to have a solid grasp on the tools you can use regarding client relationships.
Technology and the Client Experience
Think about your potential clients. Where do they come from? If you only accept referrals and word-of-mouth, this might not apply to you. If, however, you leverage a website or social media to attract potential clients, it’s likely you obtain a number of cases that way. It’s important to clearly convey your law firm’s image digitally, as it will improve the chances of the right cases coming your way.
When a potential client is looking for a law firm, they’re going to consider a number of factors. According to the 2020 Legal Trends Report, clients think an attorney is hirable when they:
- Have good reviews,
- Allow electronic payments,
- Support electronic documents and e-signatures,
- Use software to organize firm operations,
- Use cloud technology to store firm information,
- Offer unbundled legal services,
- And serve the community.
Once you’ve landed a case, your need for technology to manage that relationship does not stop. The majority of those factors are directly linked to technology. Clients understand the value of software and programs that can expedite processes and move their cases closer to settlement. Lawyers, however, typically know this. According to the same report referenced above, legal professionals rank technology as a high priority to their firm’s success.
Client Relationship Management
To create and maintain successful client relationships, you should possess certain qualities as an attorney. When combined with the proper technology, those qualities will help you forge and facilitate stronger relationships. Those qualities include responsiveness, expertise, results, innovation.
You know how important it is to stay in touch with clients and address requests, concerns, or questions as quickly as possible. If you devise a thoughtful mobile strategy, you can be productive regardless of your physical location. You also have the ability to improve communication with your team through collaboration packages offered through programs like Slack and Teams. Many case management software packages also allow a client to text directly to their legal team from within the software so that the messaging is contained within their file.
It’s also important to keep in contact with current and former clients using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software or a bulk email system. At Thomas Law Offices, we use Keap, formerly known as Infusionsoft, to manage the relationships with our clients. Keap offers services like sales and marketing automation, reporting and analytics, email marketing, and more. Other popular software includes Salesforce and Mail Chimp.
To convey your expertise to a client, you need to utilize your firm’s collective experience as situations demand. What you don’t know or remember offhand, you should be able to locate easily. You can achieve this by using a document management system. This way, you and your staff will be able to find relevant information quickly. You’ll also be able to share files with clients securely. Also, consider uploading videos to your website that include interviews of you and the attorneys in your firm talking about types of cases and giving advice on working with your firm.
To be an innovative law firm, you need to anticipate and prepare for upcoming trends that could impact how you serve your clients. You also need to be aware of any potential legal ramifications. To stay up-to-date, consider holding a person or committee accountable for ongoing technology efforts. This could include attending seminars and webinars, subscribing to technology newsletters, or a local legal association that focuses on technology.
As an attorney, you have to manage complicated schedules and keep track of critical dates. When you are overwhelmed and not utilizing technology efficiently, you risk failing to follow up with leads and potentially jeopardizing a case’s outcome.
While there may be more to a successful law firm than just building client relationships, those relationships are the foundation for your business. Improving and maintaining those relationships is paramount. How your firm utilizes technology can influence dramatic results in elevating your success during profitable times and improving resilience during times of crisis.