Like many other sectors, the professional services industry is rapidly accelerating digital transformation in response to COVID-19. In this evolving landscape, firms are rethinking their operating models and reimagining the future of work for a very different ‘business as usual’.

In service-led industries, people buy from people – and key to this is trust and a client-centric experience. Clients are placing increasing emphasis on their experience in this hybrid world of virtual and face-to-face interactions. Law firms will have to find innovative and data-driven ways to build that trust and develop stronger and valuable long-term relationships.

Global elite firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Freshfields) has leveraged Salesforce technology as it adjusts to a new, work-from-anywhere world –unlocking opportunities to better equip them to understand their clients, personalise their relationships, and ultimately deliver a superior client experience from anywhere.

How did this happen?

With multiple locations and thousands of employees worldwide, Freshfields sought to create an experience for clients that was rich and consistent in how it was delivered. The challenge was to get all individuals at every level of the organisation to work in the same way, wherever they were in the world. The firm needed to deliver a superior and consistent service whilst providing a bespoke and premium experience for clients, at scale.

Beyond standard service expectations such as quality, efficiency and capability, Freshfields wanted to differentiate their offer from other law firms through greater transparency and insights. This included demonstrating more predictability around the outcomes of their work, and enabling them to anticipate their clients’ future needs.

What did Freshfields do?

Freshfields is on a multi-year strategy to digitally transform with Salesforce. The firm is leveraging a combination of Salesforce Sales Cloud, Einstein Analytics, Pardot and Shield, among other technologies, to improve the management of its client relationships over time.

Freshfields has seen the benefits of combining CRM, analytics, events and marketing automation data on many levels. Collating and analysing data from across the organisation has created a 360° view of every client, which has opened up the possibility of uncovering instant insights on previous client interactions.

Ready-access data and analytics has also increased collaboration between Freshfields’ teams. Putting intelligence and insights into the hands of its people at all levels across the firm has empowered them to work in a more informed and connected way. These insights have created further opportunities for teams to collaborate, advancing internal productivity and efficiency, and improving management of matters and the pipeline.

Processes throughout the business will also be enhanced through automation. Automating data flow will be a game changer for pitching, managing data and marketing without requiring manual entry. Making this data easily accessible can also speed up in-house processes. Knowledge can often be siloed throughout a business, but Freshfields’ employees can now access information on just one platform, without having to contact different departments.

Conclusion

In the legal industry and across all professional services, from the managing partner down, everyone needs to be fully immersed in ‘digital’. Adopting a digital-first mindset will enable company growth, improve client engagement and add greater client value. It can streamline and automate processes, allowing employees to dedicate more of their valuable time to building client relationships. It can also boost employee satisfaction, so employees can focus more on challenging and rewarding tasks.

The companies that will emerge stronger from the pandemic are those that embrace change, rather than going back to the way things were done before. The need to become more responsive, transparent and collaborative with clients is fast climbing up the priority list, and should be at the core of every law firm’s technology strategy in this ‘new normal’.

Vincent Perrin is Regional Vice President for Law and Professional Services at Salesforce: salesforce.com

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