CRM: the business case for automation

customer by charles roderick

CRM is high on the agenda again, prompted by increasing recognition of the value of informed relationships to help deliver more of what clients’ value. Making that happen requires accurate, up-to-date information about clients and other contacts to work with, that people can rely on with confidence.

Accuracy of personal data is probably top of that agenda for most right now though. GDPR has added the incentive now to explore better ways to manage personal data and to ensure its security more proactively and effectively. As ever, the GDPR’s mandatory compliance requirements from government is prompting action where there has been complacent inaction in the past – so take advantage of that.

As a result, there have recently been more useful, constructive and progressive discussions going on more widely within law firms about “data” than ever before, backed up with new plans to radically improve the quality of data they hold. This has become a catalyst to prompt new initiatives, supported by new technologies and strategies, many of which were already available before but just were not explored.

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How much do you value your contacts?

Occasionally we help new law firms to set up from scratch and a partner once asked me if I found the branding the most enjoyable part of the project. He was surprised when I said that the really satisfying aspect was getting the client data management right.

With a new firm, every contact and piece of work is valued immensely as survival depends on successful management of the pipeline of work. It is easier to build a culture of recording client information “right first time” amongst a small team. With high quality data captured from the outset it is easier to produce meaningful management reports to inform marketing decisions. Once partners recognise the value in this information, get used to quality reports and start seeing the results of highly-targeted marketing, it becomes part of the culture to truly value client information.

At the other end of the spectrum, in a firm that was established several decades ago or more, it is not uncommon to find client data in a mess, a prevailing culture of “the database is not my job”, systems that do not speak to each other and poor management reporting. Fixing that is much harder!

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Do law firms need a CRM solution?

Customer (or client) relationship management (CRM) is defined by as “Information-technology enabled strategy aimed at identifying, targeting, acquiring, and retaining the best mix of customers. CRM helps in profiling prospects, understanding their needs, and in building relationships with them by providing the most-suitable products and a very high level of customer service. It integrates back and front office systems to create a database of customer contacts, purchases, information requested, technical support, etc. This helps a firm to present a unified face to its customers, and improve the quality of the relationship.”

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