In the sensationalized trial against Queen Caroline in 1820, her defender Lord Brougham said: “An advocate, in the discharge of his duty, knows but one person in all the world and that person is his client.”
Two centuries later, the imperative for lawyers to focus on their clients remains. Whatever changes come to the practice of law, the relationship with clients will always remain at its core. But while Lord Brougham could closely follow his queen’s every move, modern lawyers have a harder time keeping tabs on their current, former, and potential clients.
This is the impulse behind the growing use of Client Relationship Management (CRM) technology. CRM systems record, manage, and analyze interactions with clients. They move all interactions into one system, where they can be understood in context. Rather than being siloed within one person’s email inbox, they’re in a shared system where all members of the team can access them.
These are the top 4 reasons lawyers are turning to CRMs:
- Clients Have Higher Expectations
Since 2008, law has been a ‘buyer’s market.’ The 2019 Report on the State of the Legal Market proclaims that “clients are in control”—and are likely to stay there for the foreseeable future. In that position, they are insisting on greater value for their spending and an improved experience. Along with having less loyalty toward one lawyer or firm, clients have more tools for finding new lawyers.
This trend is occurring across all markets. A recent survey found that 26% of consumers have higher expectations than they did 2 years ago. This is largely seen as a result of online, on-demand service. 71% state that in the last year they started avoiding a store, restaurant, or service provider because of a negative experience.
CRMs can increase client satisfaction by improving communication and helping lawyers deliver tailored services to their clients. Each time you engage with a client, you can have in front of you a full portfolio of all their interactions with each member of the firm. Instead of treating them like a stranger, you give them VIP status.
- Competition is Increasing
The 2019 Report on the State of the Legal Market also found that competition is more fierce than ever. With sluggish growth in demand, law firms can only grow by capturing a higher market share. The report highlights the unique challenges of law firms and their inability to bind clients into a continuing relationship or impose any financial punishment for leaving them to join another. This allows rampant client poaching.
CRMs help law firms to strengthen their connection to clients at every step of their experience. With a CRM system, lawyers can easily convert leads into clients, satisfy client needs for the duration of a matter, and maintain contact afterward.
- Lawyers Need Help With Business Development
Most lawyers are struggling to meet their billable hour goals. On top of this—they are expected to reach out to potential clients, stay on top of marketing efforts, mine their data for information, and wrestle all the other tasks that go into business development. Often lawyers lack training for this work and have little natural inclination for it.
A recent white paper by Ackert Advisory found the #1 business development problem in firms is the lack of accountability for lawyers to generate their own business. This is causing more stagnation than external factors, like competitors or a lack of market opportunities.
With accessible CRM options and a culture of accountability, lawyers can take control of their own business development. Automation speeds up and guides the process, and promises to bring lawyers results with less of a time investment.
- Lawyers are Failing at Intake
The 2016 ABA Benchmark Study on Law Firm Intake Process shocked the legal industry when it found that:
- 42% of lawyers fail to respond to client inquiries within 3 days.
- 32% of calls to lawyers go to voicemail.
- 42% of callers reported they felt no empathy from the person who answered the phone.
- 86% of those who answered a call didn’t get an email address from the potential client.
- 45% didn’t get a phone number.
- 70% of calls ended with no follow-up activity.
Even in firms that are investing sizable sums to leverage their SEO and Google Adwords, they’re failing to follow up on the leads generated. In the vast majority of cases, the onus is entirely on potential clients to follow up with the lawyers. No other industry would have numbers like this.
Lawyers are unlike any other professionals. They make it extremely difficult—and sometimes impossible—for someone to hire them.
CRM tools like Filevine give lawyers dramatic improvements in their intake process. With CRM, legal professionals are better positioned to:
- Ask the right questions.
- Record all important information in a secure and accessible space.
- Automate the follow-up process to ensure someone is regularly reaching out to new and potential clients.
Perhaps you’ll never represent a queen like Lord Brougham did. But you too can treat each client like they’re the only person in your world.
To learn more about how Filevine can help manage your relationships with clients, click here to schedule a demo.