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5 Top Tips for Upgrading your CRM

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are vital for law firms, helping to maintain loyalty, expand existing client revenues and attract new business. And keeping them up to date is imperative, for two reasons:

  • Support issues can occur with older versions. In the worst case they go past the end of their support life.
  • Vendors are continually adding improved features that provide new benefits and allow firms to engage with clients in innovative new ways.

However, upgrading applications is not a trivial task. So here are five top tips that came from law firm users at a recent workshop I ran.

1. Prepare meticulously

To fail to prepare is to prepare to fail and nowhere is that more true than with upgrades. Read the compatibility matrix carefully. The last thing you need at go-live is to find out that the upgrade isn’t compatible with one of your other systems.

Check the hardware and system requirements. Make sure everyone needed for the upgrade is available in advance. IT departments often get booked up months ahead. And don’t forget to review the customisations that have been made. An upgrade is a great opportunity to check whether they are still needed and, if they are, make sure they will still work with the new version.

2. Reinforce the benefits

If things are going to change people want to know why and how it is relevant to them and the firm. Get everyone involved on side by reminding them of the existing advantages of the system and spelling out the new benefits.

How will it help partners? What benefits will colleagues gain? How will the new version help with business development and how will it help the practice achieve its overall goals?

3. Test systematically

Pilot the system in a test environment. Here you can run system end user acceptance tests, as well as check data migration works correctly.

You can also check that the data and contacts in the existing system are clean, as it doesn’t make sense to migrate incorrect or incomplete data. It’s also a good time to review the reports that are available and check they are fit for purpose.

4. Communicate clearly

Clear communication at every stage of the upgrade is vital, to keep people enthusiastic and committed. So it’s imperative to develop a continuous communications strategy. It’s also essential that your communications strategy has a senior sponsor, to reinforce how important the upgrade is to the firm’s future.

5. Train thoroughly

There will obviously be new features you need to train users on and you can do this through a whole variety of activities. But don’t forget there’s also an opportunity to reinforce other key aspects of the system, so employees make the most of all the features in your system.

Upgrading your CRM system, such as Lexis® InterAction®, enables you to take advantage of innovative new features. Paying attention to these five top tips will help to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.

Tags: InterAction

About the Author:

Fiona Jackson has spent over 15 years implementing and working with InterAction in professional services firms, including legal and accountancy. In these in-house roles, supported by InterAction, she managed marketing communications, devised and implemented business development strategies as well as trained and mentored fee earners. She worked closely with internal clients to understand their business processes end-to end and guided them in utilising the 'intelligence' gathered via InterAction to help them be successful at customer relationship management.

Fiona was previously a Client Advisor for five years at LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions; and was often described as "an extension to our business" by her clients. She has now returned to the company to drive an InterAction ‘repositioning’ project for a large London law firm. Fiona is also working with other firms to help them align CRM to wider business development strategies. She specialises in strategic and tactical CRM best practice, and as an expert in devising user adoption strategies, her experience in rolling out and repositioning InterAction as a business tool is proving invaluable to clients.

Fiona is mother to two teenagers, who keep her firmly on her toes. Living in Hertfordshire, she loves walking, is often found obsessing over the latest box set and enjoys all that country pubs have to offer. She also has a spectacular Gin collection of her own. Recently, Fiona has discovered a love for cooking – the varying degrees of success hasn’t stopped her from continuing to giving it a go!

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