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Make Money Mondays: Legal Tech Services That Make You Sticky to Clients

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Infographic by- Invesp

Although most legal marketing initiatives focus on client acquisition – think lead generation ,  SEO-powered blogging and good old fashioned networking – client retention offers far more bang for the buck. Studies show that there’s a 60 to 70 percent chance of making a sale to an existing customer compared to just a 5 to 20 percent chance of snagging a new customer through diligent marketing and follow-up – plus, it costs five times more to bring in new customers than to retain existing ones.  What’s more, existing customers are also more valuable: as the infographic bears out, existing customers typically spend one third more than new customers and overall, account for between 25 and as much as 95 percent of overall profits.

So what can lawyers do to encourage clients – particularly, consumer clients and small businesses – to stick around. Blogging and newsletters are popular options –  but I’ve often wondered how effective these tools are for consumer clients. After all, if clients have just gotten their estate planning wrapped up or finalized a divorce, seems to me they’d rather put it behind them and aren’t likely to have interest in receiving ongoing tips or reading blog posts on how to hire a family law attorney or how a trust differs from a will.  Sharing less substantive material – like news of a firm’s charitable activities or photos from the office – on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram may hold slightly more interest – but for privacy reasons, former clients may not want to friend or follow a law firm social media account.

But now, thanks to technology, lawyers can offer useful services to clients to encourage them to stick around. Here’s a sampling:

Corporate  Legalinc – Although lawyers can use this service to easily file annual reports or amend corporate filings for clients, by far the best feature of Legalinc is its registered agent service.  By designating Legalinc as the registered agent for clients, lawyers don’t have to deal with the associated paperwork.  But lawyers will still be notified of any changes in filing requirements in jurisdictions where the company does business or new lawsuits against the company – both of which can generate new business.

Estate Planning  Estate Map and Everplans.com will store estate planning documents as well as account information and passwords for banking, social media and other services that clients may want loved ones to have access to after their death. Legal Directives shares the same space but focuses on making healthcare instructions accessible to family members, doctors and emergency personnel. Lawyers can offer to purchase one of these services for clients i- which means they’re more likely to reconnect if there’s a need to make changes.  Of course, many law practice management tools also provide the same storage utility – but because the commercial products are consumer-facing, clients may find them more appealing and easier to use than some of the practice management portals.

Family Law Support Pay and Family Law Wizard help divorced couples manage support payments and visitation calendars. (There’s a great video on Support Pay’s female founder and the rationale for the product here ). Family Law Wizard markets itself to law firms – and while it’s a bit pricey – $899 for 10 clients as a bulk purchase – it enables lawyers to stay on top of what’s going on in the case and that makes clients more likely to call them, rather than a new lawyer if a problem arises.

Lawyers can recover the costs of these third-party platforms in several ways. First – if they generate more business then they’ll pay for themselves. But lawyers can also pass the cost of the service on to the client as part of a fee agreement. Or they can create service packages – for example, an ongoing checkup or audit that would include access to one of the third-party platforms.

Of course, as with any other type of outsourcing, ethics rules apply when lawyers use these kinds of third-party platforms to serve clients. Lawyers must use due diligence in investigating the security and reliability of the service – and also disclose the firm’s decision to use a third-party platform to clients.

Do you use any of these third-party platforms in your practice, and how have clients responded? What other techniques do you use to keep clients coming back?

  • Paul Spitz

    Legalinc would be the only service you listed that would work for my practice, but I am concerned that it offers competing services. I also prefer to look around for the least expensive registered agent service, because it is generally only a glorified mailbox. I usually set myself up as either the registered agent (if the company is being set up in Ohio), or I sign the client up for the service and make myself the point of contact. That gives me the opportunity to keep in touch at least once a year for states where there are annual required filings. Even with that, so many clients just ignore my repeated messages that they have to pay their registered agent renewal and annual franchise tax.

  • Steve Sowers

    Paul, thanks for your comments – we are actually partners with law firms, not competitors, since they’re our users. We are not designed to be direct to consumer. We’ve designed a new category of tools for legal service providers called Practice Automation (PA). With PA, lawyers like yourself use our software to deliver services to your clients freeing you up to do other work (or go enjoy some free time!).

    Think of us as a tool that you plug into your firm much like you use a practice management tool or invoicing software. If you want to sign your clients up for the Legalinc Registered Agent service all their materials are stored electronically for safe keeping and organization for you automatically. Additionally, you have can even personally brand messaging that you have complete control over that gets sent to your clients.

    Our registered agent service allows you the opportunity to stay in touch with your clients without the headaches of tracking down renewals or sending messages for franchise tax (or other compliance related matters) I’m happy to walk you through a demo if you’d like?

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