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Most fee earners 'ring fence' client relationships

Many refuse to use their firm’s CRM system

18 June 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

More than half of fee-earners ring-fence their client relationships to some extent, but around a third do so largely or completely.

That’s according to a survey of 220 professional services firms, of which 57 per cent are law firms. Fifteen per cent of respondents classified their firm as global, with 59 per cent operating in the UK and 21 per cent in North America.

The research found that only 30 per cent of respondents felt that client relationship management (CRM) activities resulted in better relationships with key clients to a ‘major’ extent.

Less than a quarter said that CRM efforts resulted in a major improvement to efficiency in serving clients and to their ability to cross sell.

Fee-earner engagement with CRM tools is also low, with 43 per cent saying their firm’s CRM system is largely regarded as the domain of BD or marketing functions, rather than that of fee earners. A further 41 per cent said this was true to some extent.

A total of 80 per cent of respondents said that many staff had been shown how to use the CRM software but did not view it as relevant to them. Similarly, 85 per cent said that older staff were less comfortable with the technology.

The key findings of the research by the Managing Partners’ Forum and The Thriving Company are published in Managing Client Relationships: The Truth in Professional Services 2013.

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