The true power of business software is in creating streamlined processes and better workflows. It’s probably the number one reason why “software is eating the world.”
As you know, there is a tremendous amount of administrative work involved with running a law firm. Software products like Clio and Xero are being adopted rapidly because they help streamline the processes of case management and accounting, respectively.
But one area of law practice which has been somewhat overlooked, at least till now, is the so called “top of the funnel,” or more specifically managing your leads, marketing campaigns, and client intake process.
Here are four reasons why online client intake will be the next hot area of innovation in legal practice management software.
Improved organization and workflow
Most firms still use manual, disjointed processes for intake: jotting down notes by hand; logging data in MS Office or Google Docs; sending out PDFs for clients to print, fill out, scan and send back; etc.
Having an online intake solution helps you stay organized and cuts down the time you spend working on trivial intake tasks, allowing you to focus most of your energy on the legal work you’re actually paid for.
Lexicata was built to be an all-in-one “top of the funnel” solution, and other products are emerging with similar goals in mind—including a CRM for tracking leads, an online form builder, and a built in e-signature solution for engagement letters.
Using these tools, you can create a systematic workflow for managing your prospects, intaking new matters, and then seamlessly pushing the data over to Clio as soon as a matter goes from “pending” to “hired.” All you have to do is get to work!
Reduced data entry
Nobody likes data entry. It’s boring, frustrating, and time consuming. Whether you do it yourself or pay somebody to do it, the end result is always a fruitless expenditure of time/money.
The beauty of using online forms to conduct your intake process, as opposed to Word documents or handwritten notes, is that you can have your clients do much of the data entry for you.
When you send out an online form and the client submits it, that data can then be exported to Clio to automatically create a contact with the appropriate information. Even if it’s just for contact details, it can save you up to 5 minutes on every single contact you create.
Better client experience
With the millennial generation reaching the age where they are the primary decision makers in homes and businesses, consumer expectations and behaviors are changing rapidly.
We spend more time with our smartphones than our spouses. We communicate through mobile messaging and social media apps. We use mobile devices to check our email (66% of the time) and access digital media (60% of the time). Above all, we expect everything to be incredibly easy and user-friendly.
The last thing we want to do is fill something out by hand, or….(gasp)…print something out! (You mean I have to go to Kinkos??)
By allowing clients to fill out forms online (even from their beloved mobile devices) you are making life easy, not only yourself, but most importantly for your clients.
It’s just part of good customer service these days. And when you’re in a service industry, you should know that good service is the key to customer satisfaction, repeat business, and more referrals.
Data tracking and analytics
Finally, the area that attorneys should be most excited about is data. Most law firms do a very lackluster job of utilizing data to make better decisions. But as downward price pressure continues, and the market becomes increasingly competitive, leveraging data is going to become a necessity.
When you use software to manage business processes, data is an inevitable byproduct. But unlike using Excel or other programs which require manual data manipulation, the analytics layer can be built straight into the product.
Powerful analytics are built directly into the Lexicata dashboard to help you track important business metrics for your law firm. Things like where your leads are coming from, how effectively you are converting prospects into clients, and which types of matters have the highest dollar value.
The best part is, it all happens automatically. You don’t have to do anything to access these analytics, aside from inputting some data points about each client and matter during the intake process.
The legal tech space is really heating up, and we think online client intake can be a game changer. Not only will it save firms time and improve workflows, it will also provide better experiences for clients and open up a wealth of powerful data that can be leveraged into smarter business decisions and a healthier bottom line.