What tasks are right for client-facing RPA?

A survey by the research company Gartner indicates that almost 85% of organizations have increased their investments in automated customer experience (CX) technology in recent years. What types of tasks are ripe for robotic process automation (RPA)?  Client-facing automation should support, not replace, your personal business relationships with potential and existing clients.

For law firms, you should focus on automation that will support your overall client service strategy, including by building legal products (like these firms have).  This includes client-facing document automation for your clients’ substantive legal documents. Below, we’ll provide tips on tasks best-suited for automation and how to automate to remain competitive in today’s environment.

The right tasks for client-facing automation

Many client-facing tasks are right for RPA if they support your personal business relationships and allow you to onboard and serve clients more efficiently without losing the client touch.

1. Automation for client intake, acquisition and retention

Activities related to onboarding and retaining clients are opportune for RPA – for example, processing, prioritizing, and routing email, phone, and chat inquiries from potential clients so that they go to the right attorney or practice group.  Additional examples include creating and updating profiles of clients and their business operations in a client relations management (CRM) system.  Automation of these tasks facilitates client service, client experience, and relationships.  This matters because studies show that up to 80% of customers value excellent service so much that it factors into where they do business.  

Client-facing document automation software is particularly important to client retention.  It generates the work product that clients see and use, or output that can be completely hidden from the client until you review. 75% of lawyers say that they have looked at automating part of their intake process since March 2020.  That intake can easily be automated into an attorney’s template and form documents.

Examples include presentations, client correspondence, litigation documents, and transactional documents.  Specific examples include divorce agreements in the family law context, trust and estate documents, court papers, and transactional documents such as incorporation filings and financing documents.  Because automation generates these with time and cost savings, clients see the value of your RPA and the value of continuing to work with your firm.

2. Using RPA to improve response times to clients and communication

The next set of tasks that are right for client-facing automation relate to your response times to clients and your communication with them.  The ability to timely respond to potential clients, and the needs of existing clients, is critical.  Automation helps.  For example, when a client needs and expects quick action or immediate help, automation can initially field your client’s inbound message around the clock and across time zones, rather than just during traditional business hours.  The same is true for client leads.  This helps you determine and expedite your response.  

Most importantly, when substantive response times matter, client-facing document automation software lets you generate document sets that respond to your client’s document needs with increased speed, by quickly generating revisions and even entirely new document sets through RPA.

Automation also improves outbound client communications.  For example, firms can automate personalized client reminders for calls, court dates, and deal closings.  This improves client service for everything from family law matters to transaction negotiations.

All of this improves client service and avoids clients experiencing poor service.  As studies have shown, up to 70% of customers stop working with organizations due to poor service.

3. Automation of client collaboration

The next category of client-facing tasks that are right for automation relate to information sharing with clients.  Client-facing document automation software is especially well-suited to this.  It facilitates the receipt and delivery of substantive information quickly and efficiently through guided software interviews and the generation of document sets.  Examples range from form documents for electronic signatures to complicated litigation and transactional documents that may require back-and-forth collaboration with clients as the case or deal evolves.

4. Reduced errors through automation

The fourth category of client-facing tasks that are right for RPA relate to reducing errors and increasing efficiency.  Clients demand accurate documents, particularly in quantitative matters such as deals, valuations, and marital property divisions.  But the human eye is prone to error, particularly when generating large document sets with multiple multi-page documents. Client-facing automation software removes human errors in such documents.  This saves time and money for you and your clients, and it improves service.  As studies have shown, almost 65% of customers turn to competitors if an organization provides low quality service.

How to automate without giving up the personal client service

What’s the right way to automate the above client-facing tasks?  There are two guiding principles.  You’re automating the right way if it improves your client service and if it lets you expand your person-to-person business relationships.  To measure this, define your automation goals and measure your results.  For example, measure ROI based on cost, revenue building, client leads, client acquisition, client retention, client satisfaction, and related metrics.  We now turn to specific tips.

1. Use robotic process automation to support, not replace, your client relationships

The above client-facing tasks that are right for automation should not be automated in a vacuum.  Person-to-person business relationships are still the key to excellent client service and client experience.  The right way to automate will support, not replace, those interactions.  The automated tasks described above, including client-facing document automation, are designed to give you more time to personally serve clients and to personally develop and cement business relationships.

2. Use RPA to support, not replace, your responses

Similarly, while automation is right for initial tasks related to client issues, including improving the speed of your personal responses, the right way to automate will support, not replace, your hands-on handling of client issues that develop.  For example, the right way to use RPA in this context is to let it help you and your clients communicate faster and more efficiently, so that you can provide better substantive responses.

3. Use RPA to be two places at once (at least initially)

Another right way to use client-facing RPA is to let it help you be two places at once.  RPA helps you initially handle simultaneous inbound client issues until you can personally turn to each one.  For example, RPA can field emails or calls from two clients while you are meeting with a third, providing you with initial information that you need to assess and prioritize your responses to those clients.

Client-facing document automation software truly lets you be in multiple places at once.  RPA generated guided interviews let multiple clients simultaneously provide the information needed to automatically generate their substantive litigation and transactional documents while you work on other matters.  Your clients can do so on their schedule, even after hours and across different time zones.  This allows small firms to multi-task and leverage their practices efficiently.

Client-facing automation is right for almost all facets of client service, and the right way to automate in the client-facing context is straightforward:  Use it to support, not replace, your personal business relationships with potential and existing clients.

Documate is a no-code platform that helps you build document automation and legal products. Schedule a call with a member of the Documate team here to learn more about how you can set up powerful client-facing RPA through document generation workflows, without using any code.

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