If you haven't heard, millennials are quite good at turning industries on their ears. While this idea is sometimes expressed in negative terms, there's something admirable about a group that can bend the world to its will. But one thing is for certain: Whether you're a tradition-entrenched area of practice such as litigation or a niche firm specializing in entertainment law, the ability to bridge the generation gap is a must.
Such is the story in legal practice management. Like every other business, legal firms have made capturing millennial affection a major area of focus, and technology favoring communication, convenience, and collaboration has spearheaded those efforts. Perhaps you practice as part of a local team; maybe you head a major firm. Whatever your situation, the following tools can turn demanding millennials into valued, loyal clients.
Expectation and Experience: The Cornerstones of Millennial-Focused Legal Practice Management
At some point, the idea of experience — at least as it pertains to the expectations 18- to 34-year-olds place upon the businesses they frequent — got a little convoluted. While it is true that millennials appreciate a little experiential polish and tend to make more use of the tools companies afford them, the reality is more about shoring weaknesses than adding technology for the sake of technology.
In short, your younger clients have little patience for needless inefficiency and avoidable red tape. If you can't dial back the complexity of a court proceeding or reduce the legwork needed to craft a specific document, you can almost certainly simplify the interactions surrounding legal practice management. Giving millennial consumers easy access to relevant legal representation is a simple way to attract them and polish your firm's image.
Mobility services are one way to shore up inefficiencies that millennial clients dislike. Clients can reach relevant staff through a single number whether they're in the office, in the field, or in the hall outside the courtroom. Instead of having to call and leave a voicemail — a very un-millennial thing to do — clients can rest assured that their legal professionals will see their calls, texts, and emails from wherever they are, reducing the time between the initial call to contact.
There's also social media. While privacy and security concerns, professional decorum, and other factors may preclude a firm from chatting via Facebook, social platforms still have potential to enrich relationships. Clients can request a call via their chat app of choice, then get a call at their preferred time from their preferred lawyer. Whatever generation the customer is from, that's preferable to fighting a dated IVR as the client worries about a pending legal matter — and quick access means a much higher chance of happy clientele.
Web conferencing is one more example of an amenity these consumers love. Millennial clients can use the technology with minimal fuss, meeting up online through a video chat or sharing visual info over a conference bridge without paying billable travel hours to your attorneys or scheduling time to travel to the firm in-person. Meanwhile, firms get the benefit of catering to customers with a proclivity for face-to-face meetings ("authentic experiences" in millennial-speak) without forcing those who prefer phone or email conversations to change formats.
While younger clients often get a bad rap for being too choosy or idealistic, the average millennial customer is simply good at spotting inefficiencies.
Revolutionizing Collaboration with CRM
It's easy to see why customer relationship management (CRM) tools such as Clio have taken legal practice management by storm. In short, the tools make sharing information, collaborating, and presenting a singular face to clients easier than ever.
Although they offer substantial strengths in terms of lead management, tracking, and conversion, the collaborative aspects alone make CRM tools perfect for a firm looking to maintain a millennial client base. In an office where paralegals, assistants, secretaries, and attorneys generate and store different types of data, a singular digital collection place means faster access and a more cohesive experience. When a client makes an unexpected call to the office, this data is immediately available in their file within the CRM, giving the attorney quick access to all manner of valuable information — and saving them from an embarrassing "can I call you right back?" moment where they frantically dig up client info in a paper file for a quick refresher. Throw in lead-tracking and -conversion data, form generation and storage, and the ability to integrate with popular unified communications platforms and legal institutions have perhaps the single most important organization and experience tool of the last decade at their fingertips.
These considerations are critical because millennial clients, more than any other generation, do not want to feel like a number in a file — and they're more likely to share their experiences with their social followings, who may well choose to come to your firm (or not) based on their friends' words.
Making the Most of Millennial Clientele
Whatever path your technological evolution takes, it's worth exploring how to ease the legal experience for your younger clientele. While younger clients often get a bad rap for being too choosy or idealistic, the average millennial customer is simply good at spotting inefficiencies. By addressing this population, your firm stands to gain a lot from this influential generation, including a larger client list.
Ready for more millennial business? Visit Vonage Law Firm Solutions to discover all the ways communications tools can drive business to your practice.