After listening to a session at ITLA and writing the post, ILTA: 7 Unique Ways Law Firms Can Breathe New Life Into CRM, based on that session, it got me to thinking about other creative ways to encourage users, and specifically lawyers, to adopt CRM.
I have been looking for out-of-the-box thinking or very practical advice. In doing what most people do when they have a question, I turned to Google to search for answers. One link by Lawyers.com Editor-in-Chief Larry Bodine kept turning up in my searches – Spot Survey: Less than Half of Lawyers Use their CRM Systems.
While I do not know Larry personally, I started to dig into his content a bit and discovered he’s been writing about CRM for a very long time. I decided to send him a note with this question: Got any creative ideas for boosting user adoption?
His response by is both pragmatic, came by email and by far exceeded my expectations; it is a blog post unto itself:
1. Rollout. The rollout of the CRM system has to be a major law firm event. There have to be multiple training and information sessions for staff, associates and partners. The CRM system must be promoted in an internal marketing campaign, with posters, emails, food events, desktop giveaways — the works. The goal is to make absolutely sure that everyone knows about the new CRM system. I’ve seen attention-getting activities like raffles, giveaways, contests (for example, look up something in the CRM system and get a prize). Importantly, the top equity partners of the firm must make a public display of using it, talking about it, presenting in training sessions.
2. Practical use. Whoever owns the CRM project must demonstrate repeatedly the practical uses of the CRM system. For example, it can produce reports about clients, lawyers who work with a specific client, lists of personnel at clients, and a calendar of past and future events involving the clients. It must be shown that the CRM system has generated new files, work and revenue. It’s smart to have examples of lawyers who have used the system and gotten a tangible benefit from it. There must be specific examples of using the CRM system to deepen the relationship with clients, to help retain clients, and to improve service to clients.
3. Ease of use. Operating the CRM system must be easy to learn and easy to use. It has to be a system that lawyers will see a demonstration of, and immediately get how to work it. The point is to get the lawyers to use it, not their admins. The interface must be very simple – understandable at a glance – so that basic functions can be performed using the opening screen.
4. Behind the scenes setup. There must be no effort by the lawyers to set the system up. It needs to be set up on the server level, so that lawyer contacts and client meetings are automatically extracted from Outlook (or other email system). A general rule must be adopted that contact and calendar events with clients are not “private” or owned by the lawyer, and that by default they are available for internal, firm wide use. Sure, you have to assure the lawyers that they can make specific Outlook information private (i.e., info about family or info that must be kept top secret by law, like client mergers or IPOs).
Many thanks to Larry, not only for providing a thoughtful answer, but for also doing it while he was on vacation.
Do you have a creative way to boost CRM adoption? Please share in the comments; we might use those responses in future posts.
Photo credit: Flickr.
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