There is a plethora of legal software suppliers out there. With so many alternatives to choose from, it’s a minefield when deciding which is the right fit for your firm at the right price. Let’s take a step back and look at the real issues.
In recent years, law firms have had to adapt to value-based pricing. This is particularly true if you wish to charge more than your competitors. Fee rates are determined usually on experience and skill in the area of law, and service quality. Surely the same criteria should apply to pricing and service quality for software suppliers?
Take a long, hard look at the quality and efficiency of your practice management software. Then take a look at the quality of software support you receive. Usually, suppliers who offer heavily discounted rates cut corners on service and support.
Your purchasing decision must take into account the quality of the support you receive and the cost to your business. What often appears to be the most cost-effective can sometimes be a false saving. Without high quality, readily available support, down-time can work out to be very expensive.
Time is money. A software provider who takes hours or even days to respond may be an indication of under-staffing. That’s not really the issue – down-time is the issue for you. Somewhere in your contract terms and conditions you’ll find something called a Service Level Agreement. Check this out and see what response times should be.
Many straightforward PMS issues can be quickly resolved. This can be done via chat or remote on-screen support. However, when it comes to more thorny issues, speaking to a human being is far better. Check to see if your provider can offer this.
Are your support charges based upon the size of your firm and number of users? Are they based upon the number of calls or support tickets raised? Whatever the case, let’s get back to the two real issues:
In both instances it’s the quality, availability and the successful outcomes that are the real measures. Not the method of charging.
If the number is high, that could be due to factors you may not have considered. If, following implementation of your software, the vendor provided little or no training, support call volumes are likely to be high. Ensure that adequate training for your team is provided from the outset. It’s also a good idea to have a member of your own team who acts as the resident expert for the software to help others.
If there is a surge is support calls, what is the underlying cause? In most instances it’s either new recruits not understanding the product, changes to the product or bad habits developing. Whatever the case, it’s costing you time and money. Think about asking your supplier for some tailored training. It may involve an initial outlay but, if it saves time in the long-run, it’s probably worth it.
Some do but they tend to be few and far between. It’s all about your supplier understanding your legal IT needs and keeping abreast of your changing requirements. The frequency of calls from your supplier’s Account Manager is a good measure of how well they perform in this area.
Contact with your software provider should not be restricted only to when problems arise. A good account management process is proactive. It will anticipate your needs and reduce the support you require. Keeping you involved and keeping themselves informed are the signs of a good technology partner. It cements relationships and provides benefits to both you and them.
Take a long hard look at what you get from your current supplier or are likely to get from a prospective one. As a provider of legal services, you know how important timeliness, value and being kept informed are to your clients. You should expect what your clients expect from you, from your own suppliers.
It’s not always just about the money. The bottom line is that leaping for the cheapest quotation may not always be the most cost-effective solution in the long-run.
© LawWare Limited 1995-2018
Our clients range from small start-up legal practices to multi-partner, multi-site firms.
Another great customer service experience from LawWare. My laptop had to be stripped back to factory settings as part of a repair - taking hours! In contrast, restoring LawWare took one phone call to the support team and I was up and running in 6 minutes. If only everything was so easy!
As the first commercial user of LawWare back in 1998, we have had no hesitation in remaining with the product through its development. We thoroughly recommend it to any firm looking for a practice management system.
The helpdesk is exceptionally good. Whatever the query there is always a human being there to help. No leaving messages or being advised to go to a website. The best computer service for solicitors I have ever used!
The linking of documents and casefiles saves so much time! I have experience of several accounts packages and I like that LawWare is simple to use and easy to learn. Support is quick and effective and staff are helpful and courteous.
I have worked with a number of Case Management providers over the years but have not come across anything with the attention to detail and thoroughness of LawWare. My colleagues and I have not been disappointed.
I can’t imagine trying to be a law firm in the 21st Century without 21st Century IT systems. Having a ‘single system’ that underpins all the work, whether we are in the office or out, is an integral part of what we are building.
The level of support is the main benefit using this system. The system itself once you have had training is simple and easy to use. We have a great relationship with LawWare and the ongoing support is second to none.
Significant preparation was required to configure and import the data from our old firm. We had to get all clients onto the new system and then learn how to use it. We just find it very easy to use, much easier than our old system.
Being a busy litigator with a growing firm it is incredibly useful to be able to view my files from any location with some form of internet connection. I am a fan, and want to keep working with LawWare to make a good product great.
The switch to the new LawCloud system, which is still on-going, has gone very well. We found the LawWare team without exception to be very helpful and knowledgeable. All queries are followed up and dealt with promptly.