Making the Case for Using CRM at Your Law Firm

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help your law practice whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been in business for many years. With the right solution, you can organize and manage all facets of your practice to bring in more profit, while streamlining operations. A 2014 survey revealed 34% of law firms are already using CRM as part of their practice management.

Centralize Information in a Single System

Forget managing multiple spreadsheets, calendars, and to-do lists. CRM puts all of your information in a single system, and allows you to share the data with anyone else in the practice who needs to access it, so you can more easily manage the data.

You’ll also be able to keep all the information about each of your clients in a single place, so that when a client calls to check the status of something regarding their case, the receptionist or paralegal can use the CRM to look at the most recent information. Not only does this provide better customer service to keep your clients happy, but it saves time because you don’t have to go through multiple sources to find the information you’re looking for.

Anna Shapiro, an attorney for Boston-based family law firm Shapiro Legal says, “We are fully committed to providing our clients with all the information about their cases. CRM helps us keep track of everything with ease. We were, of course, slow to adopt to new technology just like most firms are; but it has been a lifesaver in that we can now quickly determine and separate what is intra-office communication and what is billable client hours. After getting fully on board, our billable hours per day has increased greatly.”

Strengthen Relationships

With the details in a CRM, you can keep track of things like client birthdays, how long they’ve been a client, how many referrals they’ve sent to your office, etc. Use this information to send birthday cards and thank you notes. The small token of your appreciation will help strengthen client retention. As 20% of large law firms report losing four of the top 10 clients every year, and acquiring new clientele costs eight to 12 times more than repeat business from a current client, relationships matter.

Track Leads

Your marketing team can use the CRM to track leads, to streamline client follow ups. You’ll be able to keep the lines of communication open to ensure those leads stay hot. As data collects, you’ll be able to determine how many of those leads end up becoming clients, where your leads are coming from, how top lead sources are changing over time, and which legal matters your firm is being hired for most often.

Easily Schedule Tasks

Schedule tasks for yourself and other members of your practice all from the CRM. This helps everyone stay on track, and streamlines the operational side of the practice. Beyond task management, a CRM can help keep track of events, meetings, and even court dates. You’ll save time because you don’t have to search through multiple calendars to locate the information, and be much less likely to forget something along the way.

Data Backup

With a cloud-based CRM, data is backed up off-site, so in the event your computer crashes, or your hard-copy files are damaged, you’ll still have everything you need to keep your practice running smoothly. In terms of security, it’s much better than storing information backups on a flash drive in your home or office. A 2013 study showed whenever data is breached, it costs an average of $136 for every stolen, or $5.4 million per incident.

More Accurate Projections

Using existing data, your CRM can give you an idea of what to expect in the future based on your history. These projections can help you plan ahead, so you can amp up marketing efforts to address slow times, or consider bringing on additional staff to handle busy times.

What to Look for in a CRM

As no CRM platform on the market today is exactly like the other, it’s important to know what to look for while you’re shopping around. You’ll want to consider:

  • Activity and task scheduling
  • Lead management
  • Contact management
  • Campaign management
  • Document management
  • Custom fields
  • Legal marketing automation
  • Microsoft Outlook integration
  • Mass e-mail and mail merge
  • Shared calendar
  • Mobile features
  • Reporting features

You can either customize your existing practice management software, invest in a dedicated CRM software package, or choose a web-based platform, depending on what options you feel will best serve your practice in terms of usability and cost. Your CRM can be completely customized to your needs.

CRM helps marketing and practice management simultaneously to bring in more leads, and keep current clients happy. Generally speaking, 74% of CRM users say it improves access to customer data, and 64% say it improves relationship management either well, or very well. When the right solution is implemented for your practice, it can make a huge impact on profit margin and productivity.

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