THE PITCH: After a potential client takes some form of “conversion” action (initiating a phone call, submitting a message via a contact form, subscribing to an email list or downloading educational material). What tech tools are available to ensure your potential clients convert to becoming paying clients? Without a Client Relationship Management Tool (CRM), the burden is on you to follow-up with all your potential clients, schedule them for a consult, and follow-up with them on signing their retainer agreement. And, if you don’t follow up with them, they are much more likely to go with another law firm.
That is essentially the marketing pitch made by CRM software companies. So, let’s take a quick overview of the CRM tech tools available for lawyers.
Gedney Howe, III had a very simple, no tech method for maintaining client relationships. His method was to call several clients on Sunday afternoons and tell them he was in the office working on the client’s case. The Sunday afternoon call is a great idea for communicating with your clients and letting your clients know that you are actively working on their case. But how can you achieve what Gedney knows about clients, that they want to hear from you and feel you are moving forward on their case. A CRM offers that opportunity using automation and the internet.
While CRMs are more commonly known for their use in sales teams, many law firms are now implementing a CRM tool. While there are several CRM solutions for businesses, now there are solutions developed specifically for lawyers. Some examples of these solutions are: CloseSimple (real estate closings), Clio Grow (by Themis Solutions – all areas of practice), Case Status (litigation), Shape (most areas of practice), and InterAction (by Lexis/Nexis – all areas of practice).
There are other general applications available that can be tailored for a law firm as a CRM solution on a smaller scale: Microsoft Bookings (online booking of appointments) and Microsoft Forms (easy to use for client intake form that can be quickly sent to a potential client after initial contact).
You might use two-way texting as an alternative and quicker method for communicating with a potential client after the initial contact or later for regular client communication. Zipwhip is an application that lets you use an existing business line to create client communication. You can create reusable text message templates so you can quickly send standard messages. Dynamic fields allow you to personalize every message – even group texts. You can schedule text messages in advance to remind a client of an appointment or as a follow-up to a potential client. The link to a form created with Microsoft Forms can be sent to the potential client by text to gather the basic client intake information on a smart phone.
Themis Solutions now has two new names for its new CRM application and for its established practice management application. The new names are Clio Grow and Clio Manage. Clio Grow can be purchased on a subscription basis as a stand-alone CRM tool, but the intake information can be seamlessly added to its practice management application. There are tools for automatic email and document generation for quick communication with the potential client. The Zipwhip application can be integrated with Clio Grow to add the use of text messaging to communicate with a potential client. For example, after the initial telephone conference, a scheduled email or text message can be set up for a short follow-up. The message may say:
Hi Jim, thank you for taking the time to meet with us! We will be in touch soon. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out. –Best, Bill
The matter pipeline dashboard of Clio Grow shows several columns for you to navigate and monitor your efforts to obtain a new client. The main columns show intake status, hired, and not hired.
The Case Status application was started by a South Carolina attorney who worked for a large plaintiff’s firm. A client portal is created for communicating the status of the case. Case status can automate communication and send real-time updates to the Case Status mobile app.
So, automation of the client intake process can save important time you need for other existing clients and may impress the potential client enough for the prospect to establish a relationship with you. Other benefits include converting more prospects to clients, eliminate the paper intake form which will eliminate the double data entry, and most importantly being prepared for the client.
Here are links to some of the CRMs mentioned in this article http://www.closesimple.com, www.setshape.com/legal, www.zipwhip.com,
http://www.clio.com/grow, www.casestatus.com, www.interaction.com.
By: William E. Booth, III
Booth Law Firm
West Columbia, South Carolina
SC Bar Technology Committee
David P. Stasaitis, President and CSO
Charleston, South Carolina