In recent months we have seen a trend from software vendors to try to enter more in the services area and bundle with the software additional services like installation, customization and training. Even though it looks good at a first look it does not provide the best service for the clients.
From my experience in being contacted from new clients after the initial customization with software vendors, I have notice a few things that concern me. The customization was done in a rash without considering the full needs of the client and the customization is incomplete. Other complains I hear is the long delays that the client has to endure before getting the services that they paid for.
In a previous blog I explain the 3 steps of the customization: 1. Create the custom fields and records, 2. Create the document templates and 3. Create the precedents. What I often see is that the customization stops at step 1.
It does take time for the client to understand what they can do with the new software. Then it will take a couple of iterations to flash out the custom fields and records to get them just right. Also the customer needs to understand the purposes of custom fields and records. Now we can create document templates from fax cover pages and letterheads to retainer contracts, proof of services and file reports. Finally now that we have a place to hold the file’s information and a way to get that information in documents, we can focus on creating procedures and workflows by using Precedents.
Precedents are a sequence of linked events that can be added to a file. For example a “New Client” precedent could incorporate the first appointment, a task to print out an intake form, a task to create a retainer (with a connection to the retainer template), a task to check if the retainer payment was received, and so on.
Many customer specialists at software vendor don’t have the time to really understand how your firm works so they make assumptions that can cost you later. A good consultant will make the time to learn how your firm works. He or she provides you with some examples and guides you through the different steps of working with your clients. Then based on that the consultant will create custom fields and records, documents templates and precedents to make your practice very efficient. As a bonus having a well organize practice will increase the value of your firm.
Contact 2b1 Inc. to find out more information about customizing your practice management programs.
Paolo Broggi, IT Engineer – Amicus, Legal Evolve, Timeslips, and Worldox Certified Consultant.