By Michelle Chun-Hoon, Zaliet.

Self-service technology can meet client needs

Self-service technology is not a new phenomenon. Many industries have quickly realised the value in offering self-service options for consumers, and the legal industry is not exempt.

The high adoption rates of self-service technology can largely be attributed to the changes in consumer behaviour and expectations.

A recent study found that 47 per cent of consumers search for an answer online before calling a company. This comes as no surprise as consumers no longer have to physically visit a business or even call up for that matter; answers are available with the click of a button.

Smart phones, in particular, have changed the way consumers research and collect information. In fact, 70 per cent of consumers prefer to use a company’s website to get answers rather than using email or phone.

A new paradigm has occurred. Consumers expect short response times, 24/7 access and an option to self-serve.

Firms have no option but to meet consumers where they are. Mobile-friendly is no longer enough. Your clients need convenience and constant connectivity to your firm.

Self-service technology is your firm’s answer to meeting clients’ increasingly high standards. It is a new approach to client support – a way to keep your clients engaged with your firm and provide them with the experience they want.

What can self-service technology do for your firm?

Using self-service technology, such as a Service Portal, can act as your virtual 24/7 assistant. Clients can access your firm outside of regular business hours and from anywhere around the world.

Self-service empowers your clients to take care of their own issues and in their own time. It eliminates long wait times with instant connectivity to your firm.

Prospective clients can get in touch with your firm easily, book in appointments and enter their personal information through online instruction forms – eliminating the need to attend appointments early.

Considering your average client is extremely time-poor; self-service software is an excellent way to give your firm that needed competitive edge.

Another great reason to implement self-service is to strengthen your relationship with your existing clients. Existing clients can interact with your firm at a convenient time with tools to book appointments, collaborate on documents and make online payments.

For your firm, the benefits are endless. Not only do you establish yourself as an industry leader but you have the ability to significantly reduce your non-billable hours and improve efficiency.

Many of the features available through self-service help to improve your workflow, as the client does the work for you. Clients can visit your self-service portal to do everything in the one place. You can streamline your data entry, reduce mundane tasks, i.e., answering the same questions, and capture enquiries outside of business hours.

Self-service technology also means increased referrals and more marketing opportunities. Emails are a high-impact but often untapped opportunity to provide better client service. A Service Portal can be added to the footer of your email signature so clients can quickly be redirected to your portal. From your Service Portal, clients can access a referral button to easily refer your firm to their family and friends.

How can you implement changes in your firm?

Introducing a self-service option doesn’t end after installation. It is your firm’s responsibility to promote it to your existing clients.

The most obvious first step is ensuring your clients know where to find it. For example, you might have a Service Portal button under your email signature that links to your Service Portal. If you’re using self-service technology alongside your website, ensure it is prominently displayed and easily found, i.e., at the top of the screen or above your menu.

Not sure where to begin?

Zaliet specialises in Service Portals for law firms.