There's software to manage just about every aspect of the modern law office: your email, your word processing, your document storage, and your meetings. And there's even software to help you maintain and improve your client relationships.
If you're using paper client files or managing client relationships on an ad-hoc basis, we'd suggest checking out some client relationship management software. Here's why.
Client relationship management programs, or CRM, have been around for a long time now, and there are dozens of options targeted specifically at attorneys. These programs handle a bunch of different client-related tasks, from automated contact management, client record keeping, and even lead tracking and social media.
And while CRM programs are great at managing client information, they have an added bonus: helping you improve your existing client relationships and build new ones.
Wells Anderson, president of Active Practice, explained CRM's benefits thusly: "A CRM application can be the foundation for maintaining relationships with existing and past clients. It can be a key to attracting new business." While a CRM program's main tasks may be storing and managing client information, having that information in one place, easily and efficiently accessible, "motivates you and reminds you to act on your plan for maintaining existing relationships and building new ones."
What to Look for in a CRM Program
Which CRM system will work best for you depends on a variety of factors, including your current client base, your practice type, and, of course, your pricing needs. Costs for CRM programs range between free and about $150 a month. You'll also want to compare general CRM services, like Salesforce, to those built specifically with attorneys in mind.
If you're shopping for a CRM system, put together a checklist of client management tasks that your firm regularly engages in and would like to get more efficient at. Standard features would include things like contact management, document management, shared calendars, and activity scheduling. But, depending on your needs, you'll also want to look for CRM features like mass emailing capabilities, automated legal marketing tasks, campaign management, social media integration, and mobile accessibility.
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