Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is used across multiple industries to centralise, track, nurture, and report on communications between businesses and their customers.
With several core functions built in, CRM software provides a convenient step up for any business using multiple platforms, apps, and databases to track client relationship data, leading to better organisation, time management, and operational efficiency.
One area where CRM software can provide significant benefits is within the legal services sector.
Whether you’ve already considered legal CRM software or are yet to explore its benefits, let this article serve as your in-depth guide to the benefits of legal CRM software and how it can improve your law practice management.
Legal CRM Software for Law Practice Management
In the legal sector today, the use of CRM software is experiencing widespread growth.
This is because law firms typically require all client information in a single database that can be accessed and used for client management and other aspects of business development.
Legal CRM and practice management software can therefore be an essential asset for allowing the firm to stay competitive and profile their prospects to understand their unique needs.
When firms understand the needs of clients through legal CRM software data, it becomes easier to build client relationships and provide the highest standards of service possible.
In short, law firms need client relationship management software to facilitate and track their communications and database management so that lawyers can remain focused on the clients themselves.
How Firms Benefit from Using Legal CRM Software
Although nearly 85% of businesses implement CRM software, only 41% of law firms do, representing a technological lag for the legal industry.
In addition to the cost of CRM software, the perception that CRM is solely to facilitate sales has led many firms to prefer a manual process for handling client communications and data management.
Lawyers in general may regard legal CRM software as unnecessary until they work alongside other practices that leverage CRM to manage large client databases.
With modern legal CRM systems being more affordable and easier to manage, the benefits of legal CRM for managing a client base have become more tangible than ever for law firms.
Key Reasons for Firms to Use CRM Software
CRM software can hold relevant client details and allow lawyers to nurture client relationships, thus growing the trust and satisfaction of clients to encourage word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are just some of the reasons why firms should incorporate this game-changing software into their legal toolbox:
Centralised customer data
CRM software allows for easy tracking and logging of all contact with clients, along with the quick integration of any new contacts.
It provides a centralised platform for managing a firm’s client relationships and client data, which is easily accessible to all relevant members of the firm.
Organize important tasks
Following up on prospective clients is an important part of the client acquisition and retention process. This is where client relationship management software steps in.
Reminders can be set within the CRM system so that the firm follows up on enquiries and consultations, using the software to also assign objectives and deadlines to individual members of the legal team.
The larger a firm grows; the more relevant legal CRM software becomes as the increased flow of new enquiries and follow-up tasks will become hard to manage manually.
Manage all documents in one place
Client accounts generally require dozens of documents, and it can be challenging to classify, retrieve, or share these without some level of digitisation.
With a legal CRM system in place, documents can easily be organised in folders that can be shared across the practice and easily be deleted, archived, or modified.
Streamlined in-house communications
In any organisation, poor communication and a lack of collaboration between team members can often result in project and task failures.
When direct communication lines break down in a law firm, this can lead to misunderstandings that potentially ruin client relationships or even jeopardise legal cases.
Legal CRM software can eliminate this problem by providing users with an easy-to-access, centralised dashboard view and record of all contact with clients.
This establishes consistency by providing the entire firm with the same information to work with and allowing effective communication both externally with the clients and internally between team members.
In addition, legal CRM software can allow team members to sync calendars and reminders to save time and keep on schedule, which is especially valuable in a legal practice where time is money.
Facilitate remote work for the team
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become a growing trend across all industries.
With 87% of law firms implementing remote-working policies, flexibility is an important quality to have in any software solution.
Cloud-based CRM systems, especially those with mobile apps, will guarantee important client information and documentation can securely be accessed by legal teams from any location with an internet connection.
Optimizes client acquisition processes
Nowadays, 33% of clients find their legal counsel via online search engines.
With clients favouring direct, effective, and quick online communication with potential legal representation, CRM software is a necessity for law firms as it represents a vehicle through which leads can be generated to be converted into long-term clients.
Advantages of Legal CRM Software
When incorporated into a law firm’s processes, legal CRM will help reduce non-billable hours by automating administrative tasks and freeing up more time to focus on serving clients and growing the practice.
Here are some additional benefits of using customer relationship management in the legal profession:
Cloud storage eliminates or minimizes paperwork
Everybody begrudges paperwork, and legal professionals are no different.
That is why legal CRM software is a necessary tool to facilitate legal case management as it makes paperwork easier to manage and process.
CRM systems can store documentation related to individual accounts by adding a file manager to client profiles, allowing anyone working on a case to know where to find specific files as well as whom to refer to should something go missing.
CRM allows paperless processes, and the cost-reduction and sustainability benefits they entail, to become the norm within the legal field.
Maximize the use of staff time
Lawyers are known for their busy schedules and with software tools proving to be important in boosting productivity and efficiency, legal CRM software is establishing a reputation among lawyers as a time-saver and more.
If you’re looking to view a team’s current activities as well as the firm’s pipeline, the CRM will provide you with a holistic view via charts and dashboards that are easy to interpret.
Leaders can coordinate workloads by assigning tasks and overseeing calendars across the firm to get a picture of everyone’s calls and meetings at a glance.
Choosing Client Management Software for a Law Practice
Businesses regularly make decisions on acquiring client management software to facilitate day-to-day productivity.
Although there is a wide array of CRM systems with similar features, it is important to consider using one best suited to the needs of a legal practice and your specific firm.
For instance, the ability to configure, customize, and access client data from any location should be a priority when shopping for legal CRM software.
You will also likely require a solution that provides:
- A visual acquisition pipeline
- Integration with digital phone and video calling systems
- Email marketing automation
- Client data reporting
Here are just some of the top features to look out for when considering CRM options for a law firm:
Compatibility and integration with other software
The CRM you choose for your legal firm should be capable of integrating with business applications already being used by the firm to manage its practice.
From email clients and project management software to scheduling tools and more, the best legal CRM software will integrate with pre-existing applications to ensure continuity across the firm.
Analytics and insights are essential for law firms wanting to be on top of their client relationship management.
A legal CRM with an analytics dashboard allows users to customise essential information in a centralised manner.
Analytics provides users with insight such as prospect engagement, intake progress, case metrics, staff productivity, and marketing ROI.
When used well, data can decide future KPIs and strategies.
A good analytics dashboard allows the user to keep tabs on each client’s metrics, including dates, open cases, billed hours, invoices, etc.
Signatures are essential to the client sign-on process and moving matters forward.
Having a built-in e-signature in a legal CRM allows users to increase client convenience, sign documents, and reclaim billable hours at the same time.
Automated email and SMS marketing
Prompt responses to enquiries are desirable, however, this can be difficult for firms to manage while also dealing with court appointments, client meetings, and writing briefs.
Hence the need for automated emails and SMS messages through legal CRM software to serve as a bridge for the communication gap between law firms and new prospects.
Whatever the task a team is undertaking, having software support increases the likelihood of a successful walkthrough and understanding of how certain processes function.
Legal firms utilising CRM software can offer personalised training for essential staff in addition to receiving software support through the CRM provider or an external IT/software partner.
Do Firms Need Legal CRM Software in the First Place?
The short answer is, yes.
In previous years, choosing a firm to work with could easily be decided based solely on the firm’s reputation and prestige.
Today, however, the quality of the relationship between a client and their lawyer influences that decision.
Legal CRM software gives a clear image of the progress being made on each client’s case, helps to foster client trust and satisfaction, and enables better oversight and management of the ongoing lawyer-client relationship.
A Recap of Legal CRM Benefits
Customer relationship management software for a law practice should deliver these nine key benefits to be a must-have investment:
- Saves user time and money
- Streamlined communications
- Improved document management
- Improved productivity among staff
- Optimised acquisition pipeline
- Enables legal teams and administrative staff to work remotely
- Empowers firms to build better client relationships
- Helps grow the firm’s client portfolio and reputation
- Provides insight to help leverage past cases to improve future ones
Finding Your Partner for Legal CRM Deployment
Law firms that deploy legal CRM software for their practice always experience a positive impact on their enquiries, back-office administration, case management, and overall reputation.
The convenience of having more time on one’s hands means the user can focus on ensuring their clients are accorded equitable treatment.
The important step is to find the right software Partner that will not only offer the right system for your needs but can also help you onboard and implement the legal CRM software to its fullest potential.
At YourShortlist, we can help you streamline this process by matching your firm with the right CRM provider from our database of over 2400 trusted technology Partners.
To find out more about what we do and how we can provide a bespoke shortlist of Partners suited to your needs, get in touch with our team today.