You can buy all the technology in the world but if you don’t make this one investment, every dollar you spend will be wasted. You will be frustrated, and for most, head back into the marketplace looking for the next big thing. Only to go through the same painful cycle of implementation and failure again.

I learned this lesson from training lawyers how to use technology to run their business, execute marketing campaigns, and build client relationships. To see value and a return from the technology you purchase it comes down to your investment of one thing.

COMMITMENT

There is no substitute, replacement or shortcut for commitment when it comes to running a business. And, businesses don’t run without technology.

Now, let me explain. By commitment what I mean is that you need to;

  1. Have a set goal for what you want to accomplish by using this product
    1. Do you want to be more organized?
    2. Are you trying to find more billable time?
    3. Want to be able to run reports on the financial health of your law firm?
    4. Streamline the way your staff executes work, with less errors.
    5. Improve client communication and the security around it.
    6. Find new ways to increase your revenue, while delivering more value to your clients?
  2. Understand that to achieve your goal(s) you will need to commit to the following;
    1. Invest you and your staff’s time into learning the product.
    2. Be transparent in your goals with the technology provider so they can help you achieve it.
    3. Make implementation a priority for everyone in your office, including yourself.
    4. Show up every day and use it until it comes naturally to you.
    5. Pay attention to ongoing opportunities to increase your usage, leverage new features, or ask for more training in areas where you or your staff may be weak.

 

Providers want you to be successful, they don’t send you daily emails with videos, tips and tutorials because they like the sound of their own voice. It is because they know that if you don’t engage, and invest the time, you will leave.

And, just as a rule of thumb for every businessperson reading this. It takes three times the amount of effort to get a new customer, as it does to keep the one you already have. So let’s make it work!

You didn’t waste countless hours of your time shopping for a solution, only to buy it and let the bill hit your credit card every month for fun. You wouldn’t buy a sports car and park it in the driveway then throw the keys in the garbage as if it were a pricey lawn ornament.

Implementation is the do or die phase of a technology purchase. It takes on average about ninety days to setup, learn and get into a daily use habit for an individual or team. That’s just how it goes.

Partially, because as humans it takes twenty-one days to form a habit. Which, in a law firm using technology, moving files over, and starting every new case inside of a new tool has to be a mandated action. The “learn it when you have time” approach is a recipe for disaster. Because, guess what? Everyone in your law firm is busy, including you. Clients are always going to need things from you, the phone is always going to ring and unless you make it a point to demand from yourself and your staff that time is dedicated to making the technology a part of daily life, it will never happen.

Ways that you can make technology a priority in your law firm:

  1. Remind yourself and your team of the problem the technology will solve, or goal that will be achieved by using it. Then when you get frustrated, return to that intention.
  2. Training is not optional. The most successful law firms I know don’t just implement technology, they obsess over it. With the goal of using it to streamline how they work, eliminate errors, improve client communication, get paid faster and protect their business from data loss.
    1. Do not skip through the training videos, watch them with your full attention.
    2. Require that staff attend the training sessions with the provider.
    3. Promote the use of the software support site, chat or phone options.
    4. Ask staff regularly; What features do you like the most, and more importantly which ones do you like the least? Use this as your list for scheduling follow up training, and note if there is a pattern among your team.
  3. Create a Policy on how and when the technology should be used, such as:
    1. Every new case is opened in the software
    2. Notes, calls and documents must be saved in the contact or case record
    3. All clients will be invited to use the law firm’s new client portal. Also a great opportunity to re-connect with them about potential new work or referrals!

The above guidelines and suggestions will help you get the most out of your investment. Now, if you need one on one training, are considering a big implementation or just don’t know what solution could be right for you? Ask for help!

We are so fortunate to have some incredible providers in the legal space who are experts on technology. In just one conversation most can quickly assess, your goals, your weaknesses when it comes to daily use, beneficial systems for your specific practice area and more. They will also be honest and tell you whether you can go with something simple, or if an additional investment in a higher tier product would be a better fit because of specific features.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend time with and get to know a few of great technology training and implementation organizations. If this is an option you are interested in pursuing, please check out:

  1. Affinity Consulting
  2. Law Tech Partners
  3. Beyond Square One
  4. GlobalMac IT

There are also hundreds of certified consultants associated with many of the major software platforms. If you know which solution you are going to purchase, you can ask the provider to connect you with one of their certified consultants to discuss projects like migration, training, or customization.

My goal in sharing this information with you, is to help you understand that technology dollars spent without proper training, setup or taking advantage of the support resources available to you are completely wasted. So, before you start lighting money on fire, get a game plan in place first.