Are you handcuffing your case management software using old-school methodology? You probably are and you don’t even know it. Worse still, it’s costing you time and money. It’s a common trap that I’ve seen countless firms fall into. So how do you figure out if you’ve fallen into the trap? And if you have, how do you get out of it? Here are a few examples:
1. Firm Meetings using paper reports to review things like Case Status, Activity by User, Intakes, Monthly Revenue by Attorney, etc.
First of all, stop printing those reports. Paper is old-school, and you’re wasting money on paper, toner, and time. Besides, you probably have a large screen display or projector in your conference room already. If not, get one. Then plug in a device that can run your case management software and review those reports on the screen. Secondly, make sure you’re using your software so that cases are flagged when something of significance happens so they’ll show up on a report indicating they should be reviewed. In other words, there’s no need to waste your time reviewing a bunch of cases that haven’t really changed, or that are right on track and progressing as they should. If you’re using your software correctly, it should be able to allow you to easily identify cases that are exceptions in some way and need some attention.
2. Creating a bunch of recurring tasks.
That’s old-school and counterproductive. For example, suppose you have a number of cases that involve your clients getting medical treatment for an extended period of time. Let’s say the average length of treatment is 18 months, and you want to make sure they’re getting contacted once a month to check on their progress. The old-school way is to set a recurring task, once a month for 18 months, for each client. That’s a bunch of tasks. And, they can severely bloat up your software and possibly cause performance issues. Furthermore, some of them will never get completed because the client finished treating sooner. Now you have to waste time getting rid of the unnecessary tasks. Some of your clients will continue treating so you have to go and set a bunch more tasks to keep following up with them.
You should be able to make an entry in your software to show that you contacted the client and confirmed they are still treating, which should automatically trigger the next 30 day follow up. Then you continue repeating as necessary till they’re finished treating. Then you don’t waste time and money creating and chasing tasks you don’t need. Best of all, the next step of indicating they’ve finished treating should throw the case onto one of the case review reports discussed in item 1 above. And, it may even be able to trigger the next required action.
3. As long as everyone’s getting their work done it doesn’t really matter how they do it.
That’s not only old-school thinking, it’s a horrible practice when you’re using case management software. And talk about wasting time and money; this is one of the worst. I’ve seen this practice played out in countless firms across the country. And, it seems to be one of the hardest to recognize for the firms that suffer from it. These tend to be the firms who change case management systems every few years because they can never seem to get good reports, or find things easily, or effectively manage case and/or user activity very well. That’s the most common representation of the old adage “garbage in = garbage out.”
Here’s the fix: A) Set expectations, B) Provide adequate training to meet expectations, C) Inspect what you Expect, and D) Hold people accountable. If you missed it, you can read my previous blog, Managing Your Case Management Software, here: http://www.prevail.net/blog/managing-your-case-management-software.