Meeting Clients' Greater Expectations? Unlock Your Higher Levels Of Agility NOW...
Lean and agile commercial businesses are known to deliver higher profits, increase employee engagement, and more thoroughly satisfy customer needs.
There is little doubt that technology is playing a vital role in this success. To the extent that some organisations have been able to achieve 20-30% improvement in their overall financial performance. However, customers' expectations have also changed. Similarly, in the legal business arena, where being more agile now can help you meet and even exceed your client's expectations.
In a blog post dated 26th August 2021, Daniel Docherty describes the change in perception which occurred when business technology was leveraged during the pandemic. Until it was no longer regarded simply as an addition to existing processes but used instead to maintain performance and growth in remote working:
"Agility has always been one of the central pillars upon which long-term, sustainable success is built, but the pace at which today’s environment changes has evolved so dramatically that agility is now a necessity rather than a luxury.
Agility underpins every aspect of business, from marketing and product development right through to how a business handles its finances and makes game-changing decisions. Gone are the days of on-premise monolithic systems, which are expensive to run, difficult to maintain and costly to upgrade. Instead, today’s organisations choose cloud-based platforms that allow for greater flexibility, agile cloud automation, and intelligent data analytics that enable them to make rapid-fire judgments and instantly change direction."
Useful takeaways from the corporate sector
Adobe's 2022 Digital Trends Report is an interesting read, which illustrates how organisations are currently overcoming significant challenges with agility. . Whilst in an article dated 11th May 2021 Victoria Cromwell, a Director of BARBRI indicates that the advantages of business agility also include:
- A better work-life balance for employees from greater flexibility.
- Potential cost savings for employers.
- Attracting, and retaining the best talent.
- Systems are more able to deal with opportunities, and challenges in the future.
In a Forbes Technology Council article, Mark Schlesinger took the view that companies with more agility aimed to complete each project in smaller steps, and in less time. Allowing for increased accuracy, and engagement. Output could be assessed, providing feedback along the way and potentially better results. Benefiting different sections of the company including operations; technology; finance; customer service and so on.
Enhancing your business agility
You may find the following helpful in increasing your agility:
- Adopt an agile mindset to deal quickly, and more easily with internal or external change as in the case of the pandemic. Not being afraid to tackle the unexpected, but turn it instead to your advantage.
- Introduce flexibility in your business plan and budget as an enabler to act fast – with greater agility to opportunities to meet and exceed customer expectations.
- Proactively review whether the technology and software in your business are fit for purpose.
- Keep up-to-date with ongoing developments in lawtech, and the possibilities these present for the future.
- Involve individuals; teams, and affiliate or partner organisations in decision-making processes, so that they are in a better position and empowered to satisfy clients' increasing expectations. Supporting with appropriate software to make team communication easier.
- Adopt a balanced approach when making changes, which doesn't detract from the underlying strength and foundation of the business.
Other ways to increase business agility may involve processes and methods with which you are not familiar. Examples of this might include:
- Adopting a different business model in how you practise law. Bridget Deiters, UK Managing Director at InCloudCounsel, considers the use of alternative legal service providers or ALSPs. Suggesting that routine cases could be outsourced to an ALSP, which has affiliated law firms or networks of experienced lawyers delivering expert work for a lower fee. Allowing your legal business to focus instead on the more bespoke, or challenging cases. This has also had a positive effect on legal talent. Giving potential employees another career option, to add to the choice of working at a law firm or in-house.
- In an article dated 31st January 2019 Law Society partner, Seedrs explains how legal tech can help smaller firms compete with much larger ones by using innovative forms of funding.
The importance of choosing the right technology
This remains at the forefront of increasing business agility, and in turn, satisfying clients' expectations. A few ideas on lawtech are below:
- When the corporate world was struggling to adapt to the unexpected effects of the pandemic, those businesses which already had a Cloud presence fared much better in dealing with the changes. The majority of functions performed by the Cloud are automated. Requiring human intervention only when necessary, or if a key decision is made. This provides an ecosystem which is easy to access at any time from anywhere; is secure, and up-to-date. It can scale to meet and exceed client and business needs. Being available on subscription allows legal managers to work to an annual budget, and factor increases into growth or increased demand for services. While treating an entire IT system as daily operating expenses, instead of capital expenditure requiring a greater investment upfront.
- Digital dictation is much quicker and less expensive than secretarial fees. Solicitors can instead dictate to their laptops or mobile phones, using voice recognition technology.
- Contracts and other documentation can be created for clients, faster and more efficiently, using tools like Scribestar. Allowing teams to work simultaneously on a master version of the document.
- Analysis and understanding of business data can be key to identifying opportunities in the legal sector; knowing how your resources are being spent, and where the best return on investment lies. Legaltech products such as Clocktimizer can help with this, and to better identify profitability. Whilst highlighting trends within the industry may be helpful in allocating a marketing budget when increasing your client base.
- Lawtech is being developed to predict the outcomes of litigation, based on an analysis of Court judgments from similar cases. The research for this can often be time-consuming when done manually, because of the sheer volume of case law which needs to be considered. With the benefit of lawtech, such as Lex Machina’s Legal Analytics Platform which uses natural language processing and machine learning to predict the outcome of cases, Solicitors can adapt their strategy and advise clients accordingly.
Using InCase for greater agility, and to enhance your client's experience
Articles on the inCase website illustrate how using this particular app has helped legal businesses not only survive lockdown by remote working but also thrive. 71% of adults say they never turn off their mobile phone, whilst 78% couldn't live without it. Making this an essential tool for business agility in leveraging the following features:
- Faster document signing, with electronic signatures.
These can be sent back within minutes, instead of taking five days or more by post, and is suitable for 99% of all documents used by law firms. Including onboarding documentation. Each electronic signature has the same legality as a wet signature.
- Automated ID checks.
If done manually, verifying a client’s identity is often time-consuming and adds significant cost to the case, but it remains a necessity to protect lawyers and clients from identity theft or scams.
A client is notified on the app that he or she needs to complete an ID check when a file is opened. The process can then be undertaken at his or her convenience, again on the app, through a combination of document scanning and facial recognition technology. InCase is the only provider to use the NFC chip reader for document scanning on both Android and Apple phones. Enabling the cryptographically signed data on a passport chip to be read. While the facial recognition software can confirm a match between the ID photo, and a live recording of the client. Making the identification process reliable, and easy to use.
- Instant, and secure digital messaging.
Sent instantaneously and received through the inCase app, with TLS encryption used by the banking industry. The message can carry the same attachments as an email or letter sent through the post. Such as medical reports or property guarantees.
- A reduction in requests for updates.
Clients know exactly what their case involves, and the stage reached in the legal process. When an action is taken this moves the file to the next step, and the client automatically receives a push notification alert of the progress made. Without any additional input being required from the lawyer.
- Clients are encouraged in the app, throughout the matter, to provide feedback on the services they receive. Providing a unique way to manage their expectations and identify any areas for improvement. Instead of waiting until the end to find out how clients have rated the service.
- A video-calling facility enables lawyers to talk directly to clients on their mobile phones. Without the problems often caused by using multiple platforms, and lack of compatibility. The call is scheduled from the case management system, and a push notification is sent to the client. Each call is recorded automatically and stored in its respective file on the app. If required, a video transcription will be available for use in court proceedings. Clients can also have a face-to-face meeting online with their legal representative when using this facility.
Is it time now to unlock your higher levels of agility?
In an article dated October 21 2020, again on the inCase website, takes a deeper dive into clients' experience with legal technology. How they often rate it alongside the other digital experiences they have had. Such as on Amazon. Ranking the comparison across all sectors. Not only in the legal services industry. Inevitably leading many clients to believe they will receive the same exceptional experience from your firm.
Research conducted by the Law Society has also suggested that a self-service law model, involving minimal interaction with lawyers, isn't far away.
With this, and business agility in mind, are you doing everything you can to provide the optimal experience for your clients? Or is it time to consider increasing your agility and the legal technology you may, or may not be using? Especially when you consider the latest technology or software you most likely use every day in your own life.