From The Desk Of Tom Lambotte
Research has shown that the top five challenges for Solo and Small Law Firms are:
- Acquiring new client business: 78%
- Spending too much time on administrative tasks: 69%
- Increasing technology complexity: 63%
- Cost control and expense growth: 62%
- Clients demanding more for less or rate pressure from clients (tied with #4): 62%
Properly leveraging technology can alleviate these issues.
Challenge 1: Acquiring new client business
Solution: A powerful and essential tool to help with customer acquisition is a Customer Relationship Management or CRM tool. Often, case management software has CRM functionality, but the best customer support software goes beyond simple case management. The ideal case management CRM software should have these capabilities:
- Automatically track and categorize customer interactions, from every channel.
- Ability to add filters for identifying high priority cases.
- Features for adding notes to cases for easy communication within teams and assigning to other teams or experts where necessary.
- Customer fields for your business to create unique labels such as purchases or customer ID.
Whichever CRM tool you choose, it’s essential that it’s configured and used correctly and consistently. Automated customer relationship management will help you drive revenues by increasing client satisfaction and increasing productivity of your legal & support teams.
Challenge 2: Spending too much time on administrative tasks.
Solution: Do you and your staff know how to work efficiently on the computer? Have you spent time with them looking at how they do things? You might find there is a substantial number of IT-related administrative tasks you can delegate to an outside IT solutions provider who can quickly and efficiently perform them in a fraction of the time, or provide training, tips, and shortcuts. An IT solutions provider can make sure your staff has the right tools to complete their work efficiently. Remember, labor is your most significant expense, so the more you can maximize your efficiency, the more you can maximize your profits and revenue.
Challenge 3: Increasing technology complexity.
Solution: The third most significant challenge for attorneys is the increasing complexity of technology. It’s important to acknowledge that first, you are qualified to be an attorney, not a technical expert. You will rarely acquire a skill level beyond that of a hobbyist, and at worst you risk inefficiencies or security breaches. Becoming an expert at anything takes a tremendous investment of time. There are many details you don’t even know that you don’t know.
The best approach is to find a legal technology expert who you can call on for counsel and advice. One that can provide you with leadership and direction on how to navigate the technology jungle out there. It won't get any easier, so find someone you can trust and who knows a LOT more than you do. It will pay for itself often over.
Challenge 4: Cost control and expense growth.
Solution: A mindset change is often needed here. Does your firm regard technology as a necessary evil? A line item to minimize as much as possible? What is essential to recognize is that you can harness the power of technology as a solution that can help with cost control and expense growth.
Properly configured and maintained computers will operate at peak performance for years, reducing frustration and increasing productivity. When you realize the multiplier effect that technology can have on productivity, you’ll welcome new solutions. The right IT partner can guide you in creating a budget for hardware, bring new solutions and help you use technology to address your most significant problems.
We are process oriented here at GlobalMac IT, and I am confident my employees produce double of the 'average' employee. Having the right tools and a trained, tech-savvy staff is key to our high productivity.
Challenge 5: Clients demanding more for less, or rate pressure from clients.
Solution: Last but not least, is the ubiquitous 'client that wants more for less.' How can you compete when profit margins are eroding, and clients want you to lower your rates? Once again, the solution is to leverage technology. The better systems in place, the more efficient you can be. If you can complete the work needed in two-thirds the time, you will have some leeway to adjust your rates.
By having an IT expert as a strategic partner, you can promote your use of technology as a differentiating factor from your competition.
CEO, GlobalMac IT