The pace of change is so rapid that it can be easy to think that things have always been as they are now – we are used to relentless technological change, but it wasn’t always this way. To understand how to communicate online today, it is important to understand the way the online communication landscape has evolved, and what is now valued and rewarded.
Dateline: The Year 2001
As another busy day looking after clients draws to a close, the opportunity might arise for you to make a few important calls you missed. You sit back, slide open your Nokia 8855 and dial. Anyone calling your office will just hear a constantly engaged tone – it’s 5:45pm, your secretary is gone for the day – and instant communication apps are more than a decade away. You try to call a client to provide an update before days end, but they’re busy - it’s nearly dinner time, inconvenient - so you close shop, jump into your silver 3 series BMW and head home. The client tries to call back at 6:15pm but you let it ring out – you don’t really talk to clients out of hours, could take too long, not convenient for you - so you’re out of touch from everyone now for at least the next 15 hours.
The next morning the client calls you back - its 10am, you’re obviously busy and can’t take the call. Email is available but dictating or even typing up the email yourself is taking time away from money-making cases - email automation is a pipe dream - so you reluctantly ignore it. The day goes on and you are busy being busy, fee earning, doing what you can to protect the business and make money.
The client on the other hand feels ignored. A few weeks earlier, the same thing happened. The client called to see how things were going. No response. The jarring experience begins as the client starts to frustratingly mutter to a friend about how difficult you are to get a hold of. But of course, “my lawyer wouldn’t be ignoring me…again…would they?” Anxiety starts to eat at the client. All faith in your firm is dwindling with every passing minute. And that all important referral is slipping away.
Revolution lies ahead
In the year 2001, digital communication truly was in its infancy – the whole experience, both in terms of getting online and communicating online, is clunky, difficult, and often exasperating. Clearly though, once refined, and improved, revolution lies ahead. Think of where we are today, and the ways smart phones have changed daily life – from anywhere you can now wirelessly access information on unprecedented levels through multiple devices. Changed days indeed.
The digital world, even in 2001, clearly presented an immense opportunity. Great prizes lay in store for those individuals or businesses who managed to refine and improve the online user experience.
So, what does this all mean?
Thinking back to the year 2001 and contrasting it with the position today, it is clear to see that communication in the world has changed. We all expect quality information immediately. We want this information provided to us in a structured way and from people with authority that we respect – and that is where software providers, like Denovo, and communication tools, like the Link APP, have triumphed. Our every move has been focused on making it easy for lawyers to manage their matters efficiently through automation and communicate with valuable information. The technology gives authority to the law firm and rewards the client with the information they want when they need it.
Failure to embrace change
It is no longer the year 2001. Failure to embrace change can lead to the demise of onetime incredibly successful businesses, a perfect example being Nokia (remember that phone you used to use?). With the arrival of the internet, other mobile companies started understanding how data, not voice, was the future of communication. Nokia didn’t grasp the concept of software and kept focusing on hardware because the management feared to alienate current users if they changed too much. Nokia’s mistake was the fact that they didn’t want to lead the drastic change in user experience. This caused Nokia to develop a mess of an operating system with a bad user experience that just wasn’t a fit on the market. In 2008 Nokia finally made the decision to compete with Android, but it was too late. Their products weren’t competitive enough.
Clients expect instant communication
People’s use of day-to-day tech has increased and will continue to, which is why clients come to expect communications with their firm to be efficient, instant, and regular. After all, that’s what they’re used to. When lawyer to client communication is going smoothly, there is a lot of pressure eased on both sides.
To improve client satisfaction in law firms, the introduction of smart communication tools must be made a priority for lawyers; particularly keeping their clients in the loop on their case.
Remember, it won’t be lost on most clients that you are a busy lawyer, trying to do the best you can to get everything done. It’s not easy. Sometimes getting back to clients when they want isn’t possible. Calls and emails are missed and that’s only natural. But technology can help and Denovo’s integration with the Link App was created to do just that.
With many cases to manage and clients to update, it’s tremendously difficult to provide a consistently outstanding client experience. But with the Link App, you can boost your productivity, gain time, and remain in control of your client communications. The platform includes instant messaging, document sharing, case notifications, secure storage, and more. Basically, everything a lawyer needs to remove that jarring experience we mentioned earlier.
The future is now
We all face a battle to remain relevant and change must be embraced. Law firms and lawyers who are agile of thought and action will continue to prosper. Digital platforms like CaseLoad and the Link App are your gateway to transform your client’s experience. A necessity in today’s market as customers look to communicate with and assess you.
If you aren’t talking to clients in a way that they value online, you may one day be pulling down the shutters for the final time – dramatic indeed, but Nokia would have thought the same not so many years ago.
Update to the year 2021…
Your electric car waits outside as you make an appearance from your office at a virtual meeting you’ve had with your client, all their documents are stored in the cloud on CaseLoad, your smartphone pings a notification from the Link App and tells you that your client is ready to sign, you hit a single button to acknowledge the message and the documents can then be sent securely to be e-signed by the client. The fee goes through and a few weeks later you see the 5 star review appear on google.
It may have seemed like a comical fantasy even a year ago, never mind 20 years ago! But look how far we’ve come. If you want to avoid being “a Nokia”, then you need to embrace the future as now.
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