Despite the incredible technology advancements happening all around us, many law firms are stuck in their old ways. They still use software from two decades ago and they still do a lot of their work on paper files. But we are in the midst of a technology driven transformation which will only continue to accelerate as today’s younger generations make up an increasingly large portion of the workplace. As a result, tech savviness is becoming more important for lawyers than ever before. Read on to learn the two main reasons why this is the case.
Client expectations change everything
Law is a service business, and today’s consumers care more than ever about the quality of their service providers.
In fact, 89% of companies believe that customer experience is their number one competitive edge, even more than their product or service itself!
Read that sentence one more time…your clients care more about the experience they have working with you than the actual services you provide.
And what do most clients expect from a customer experience these days? They expect everything to be easy with friendly service, and they expect many of the processes to be handled online.
Today’s clients use the internet for everything
Anybody under the age of 40 pretty much uses the internet to do everything:
- We don’t hail a cab from the corner. We request an Uber or Lyft from our smartphones.
- We don’t call restaurants to order food. We use GrubHub, Seamless, Postmates, or other similar apps.
- We don’t meet our significant others at social events. We meet them through Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble.
- We don’t go to the store to buy household goods, food, or clothes. We use Amazon, Instacart, or buy directly from brands online.
- We don’t use the phone book to find local services. We use Google or Yelp.
- We don’t pay each other with cash or check. We use Venmo.
Hopefully you are seeing the trend here – everyday activities which used to happen offline now happen online. Like it or hate it, this is reality and it’s not going away.
Your clients expect seamless, tech enabled experiences
When you send your 32 year old business-owner client a packet of PDFs attached to an email with instructions to print them, fill them out by hand, scan them, and email them back to you, how do you think they feel?
Chances are, they probably respond with a thought like, “Ugh…can’t I just do this online?”
For most law practices, aside from maybe estate planning and elder law, a large percentage of your clients already fall within this technology-oriented demographic. Over the next decade, the vast majority of your clients will be from this group.
You should start changing your ways now to stay ahead of the curve.
Your reputation is on the line
The internet didn’t just change the way we transact or access services. It has also created an open forum for people to voice their opinions about products and service providers. And those opinions will linger on and be easily discoverable…forever.
This means that if you don’t provide top notch service, not only will your client satisfaction suffer, but so will your reputation.
As a lawyer, your credibility and reputation is everything. Even a single, less-than-amazing review on Yelp or Avvo can hurt your chances of being retained by a future client who comes across your profile.
Customer service truly is the secret weapon to building a strong law firm brand. Providing an effortless, tech enabled experience for your clients will go a long way toward achieving this goal, and hopefully help you get 5-star online reviews that will make new prospective clients excited to work with you.
Efficiency is of the utmost importance
It’s not just the expectations of clients that are forcing lawyers to become more tech savvy (although that is more than enough of a reason by itself). It is also the way the law firm business model is changing.
Hourly billing is gradually going away, in favor of alternative fee structures which provide greater transparency and value for clients.
When your revenue no longer corresponds directly to the time you spend delivering services, efficiency becomes critical.
Time is money, so the more time you spend delivering services, the less profitable you will be. You’ve got to optimize your processes in order to thrive.
Technology is the key to greater efficiency
Automation will play an increasingly important role in the future of legal work. Technology is what makes legal process automation possible.
Tasks that took minutes when done manually can be done in seconds with software. There are already many powerful technology tools on the market which can streamline your workflow and eliminate tedious processes.
For example, Lexicata has features to help automate things like data entry, document preparation, email preparation, email follow ups, appointment reminders, and more.
There will always be a role for human lawyers, but the firm’s operations will all be powered by software. We believe that the law firm of the future will be a tech company.
Making change is obviously not easy, especially when you’ve been operating the same way for a very long time. But those who fail to keep up with the fundamental technology shift happening around us will ultimately see their demise.
Tech savviness is more important for lawyers now than it has ever been. Utilizing technology to power your practice will provide a more seamless and enjoyable experience for your clients, and also maximize your efficiency.
This means you can spend more time advising clients and doing business development, and less time pushing paper and filling forms. And you’ll be able to take on more clients and be more profitable in the process.