Briefing Magazine: Renewing relationships

Dave Harris, principal consultant at LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions, wonders whether your CRM approach more closely resembles a tiresome treadmill or a wonderful windmill

Most law firms recognise the need for managing relationships in the organisation – but they'll often deploy client relationship management technology with limited focus on the end user experience, which negates its value.

CRM becomes all about an IT system to 'manage contacts', obtaining that elusive 'single view', marketing lists, event management efficiencies, and so on. It's a 'treadmill' approach to CRM adoption – arduous, time-consuming, mired in complex integration issues with other systems, and utterly tactical. To derive true business value, CRM should be like a 'windmill' – effortless, unobtrusive, built on the 'do it for me' principle.

Treadmill – doing the hard work

Perhaps the biggest mistake firms make is to deploy a CRM 'platform' for the organisation. That way the system delivers the same functionality to all – but the reality is that users in varied roles need to view and consume differently. Partners and lawyers need quick and easy access to data to understand firm-wide client engagement to date (and in the future) to best prepare for meetings – whereas marketing professionals may need to manage groups of contacts and lists for content production.

The CRM system must deliver on these different requirements, and with minimal effort on the part of the users. A search for a particular contact on the CRM system may throw up all related results, but thereafter it takes the user numerous clicks and laborious screen scanning to find the specific information. Data stewards need to update the database manually - and constantly - to ensure it's up to date. These processes waste time, are cumbersome, and even discourage users from adopting CRM.

Original from the Legal Network site.

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