There is a growing trend from all Legal CLOUD software providers to offer a subscription based model covering the use of their software. The terms can range typically from 12,24,36 month cycles. These systems have been developed both locally in Australia but now many overseas systems are infiltrating the market.
Vendors and their sales teams will be very aggressive to get your contract signed in the first place but then very conspicuous by their absence ‘at a sales level’ thereafter. That is until the next renewal cycle approaches.
At a support level most companies have developed or acquired help desk software systems themselves that allow clients to email any problems or facilitate message taking at their help desk service with a promise to return your call as soon as possible. The reality being they do not address the problem when it is most needed to be fixed, NOW.
An email response will come a day later or it will come at some future time if you are prepared to wait.
Many vendors resort to directing you to their on line instruction manual and page number for your enquiry as a first step. Often these are badly scripted, out of date and confusing. These systems are designed to guarantee minimalist cost for support personnel.
Lawyers do not have a high threshold for this ‘torture’.
Whilst unrelated and on a personal front, at present I have a daily phone number hit my mobile from my car provider. Maybe it is to give me a special deal for Xmas? Normally the end of year is also a run out period.
The real reason is because I am due for an upgrade. They have me set up on their database for this timeslot. Any call during the intervening time in a guarantee period would have been costly for them, or to hear my tales of woe as a client.
Legal software providers have extensive sales databases. As with car sales people they call you on a sales cycle.
The morale of this story is to be as independent as you can of the vendor(s) as soon as you can by training up key staff members and preferably all staff in the use of your chosen software so you have continuity and are not caught in a vicious cycle.
Vendor attitudes will only change when there is more competition and innovation from more suppliers in the legal market. The ubiquitous nature of the world wide web will make this possible in the future.
Until then you ‘die on the vine’ and lose productivity waiting on responses from software vendors who do not care about after sales service.
Law firm owners are not let off the hook in this message given often a lack of available staff, apathy and frustration(s) with technology combined with client pressure, can result in internal systems enforcement policies taking a back step. The nett effect is poor utilization of their systems.
Speak with Miser about how to protect your firm and develop self sufficency from your software vendor.