Are You Ready for the "Low Touch" Economy?
I recently read an interesting article about the "Low Touch" economy and the need for a "digital first" approach to business. There's no doubt been a huge demand for low touch experiences in the wake of COVID-19. We've all experienced the rise of QR code menus, contactless deliveries, our increased reliance on things like electronic banking, and the always important "booze to your doorstep" services.
But will this low touch economy impact law firms and professional services organizations? After all, they don't have to provide their clients with menus, library books, or Thai take-out.
They do, however, need to serve clients effectively in an environment where people will continue to be nervous about face-to-face interactions. What will this mean for firms and how should they prepare?
In the first place, there's no doubt that the reduction of in-person meetings is going to continue for some time and that law firms must figure out how to accommodate clients in this environment.
That means that firms need to improve their ability to engage with clients electronically. This could take a number of forms:
Offering options for clients to provide information via electronic forms and client document portals.
Ensuring that clients can digitally sign documents and return them without having to print and use the mail.
Allowing clients to pay their bills online.
Improving the quality of videoconferencing. A client's first impression will increasingly be via Zoom, Teams, etc. It will be critical that law firms invest in--and understand how to use--higher quality video capabilities. Looking like you are broadcasting from an undisclosed bunker may have been good enough last year, but as it becomes the norm, clients are going to expect a better experience and will be turned off if a lawyer is clearly broadcasting from a bedroom.
Beyond client service, firms will need to develop better ways to function internally in this low touch world. All the accommodations we have required for the last year will still be needed going forward--and they are going to have to be made better.
This includes things like:
Developing electronic workflows to replace processes that were previously done using paper.
Ensuring that all employees have high-quality and secure remote access.
Building and maintaining client files electronically.
Providing all staff with unified communications tools that allow them to communicate via phone and video whether they are in the office or at home.
Taking advantage of the cloud and eliminating on-premise equipment, which requires "high touch" maintenance.
On a positive note, the technology to make all of this happen is available now and doesn't require that firms break the bank. Getting ready for the low touch economy just requires applying readily available technology to these business problems.
I think I know a company that specializes in that...
Read the article here.