3 Reasons Law Firms Need More than a Rolodex to Track Relationships

by | Oct 18, 2016


If you listen closely, you may hear law firm marketing and business development professionals refer to their client relationship management systems as “glorified Rolodexes.” With this reference, some professionals are overstating their true beliefs – yet others are completely serious. While a Rolodex is an easy-to-use device used to store contact information, its limited capabilities have been far surpassed by computerized approaches to relationship management.

Most marketing and business development professionals realize the simple, yet elegant Rolodex design has been replaced by strategies and technologies that ease the process of relationship management.  Unfortunately, the busy professionals who compare their relationship management approach to the “Rolodex” may not utilize or even be aware of many of the cutting-edge relationship management improvements that can help their firm build stronger client relationships.

3 reasons you need more than a Rolodex

Customer information is a firm-wide asset that reveals the interconnections between people, companies, relationships, experience and expertise.   This customer knowledge allows professionals to leverage who and what they know to uncover new revenue opportunities, differentiate themselves from the competition and enhance client service – all of which help the firm achieve its goal to grow revenues.

While there are many reasons to relinquish your Rolodex, these 3 reasons help to explain why modern law firms need more than a Rolodex to track client relationships:

  • A Rolodex cannot automatically uncover new contacts,
  • A Rolodex cannot automatically update contact information,
  • A Rolodex cannot measure the engagement strength of relationships.

Client information your firm needs – delivered with ease

No matter whether the information is stored in digital or paper format, contact information is not as valuable to the firm unless the data is up-to-date and complete.   Since busy professionals struggle to find the time to perform manual updates and additions, a Rolodex rarely contains both “up-to-date” and “complete” contact information.   However, relationship management systems can help to automate contact information discovery and update.   For example, a modern CRM system helped one firm:

  • Uncover over 2,000 new contacts using the signature capture functionality in InterAction® IQ
  • Discover updated, more accurate contact information for over 2,600 existing contacts.

Now that modern technologies can help to provide clean, up-to-date and complete data you can trust, how can firms utilize this contact data to focus on the right relationships?   Since one firm has information for over 60,000 contacts, the task of prioritizing their efforts can be overwhelming.

That’s when you need the ability to assess the strength of engagement with each contact so you can focus on the right relationships that are likely to help grow the firm.   Understanding the level of engagement with each contact provides the insights you need to guide and focus your business development and marketing activities.    In addition, engagement strength scores can help you identify gaps in relationships and expose potential risks for your firm.   These insights help you make smart decisions to grow your firm.

Build better relationships to grow your firm

How can you utilize all this client relationship information to grow your firm?  Better information can help your firm build better client relationships.  The more an organization knows about its customers and the closer the relationships it can forge with them, the better it can serve their needs and the more it can sell.

While a Rolodex was an incredible tool in its day, the client relationship management functionality available today is a far superior approach to growing your firm through increased understanding of your clients.   And, whether you choose to manage contact information with a Rolodex or a client relationship management system, remember that either approach must be part of the firm’s overall strategy and commitment to build better customer relationships and grow the firm.


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