• December 16, 2002
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

CRM in Action: Avoiding Cross-Sell Snafus

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The Challenge: Integrating information silos The Solution: It's bad when employees consider a sales tool to be ineffective, but worse when it is considered an embarrassment. That's what Nicola Webb, e-business director of London-based Osborne Clarke, says of her law firm's previous sales contact tool. "We've had situations where people from different offices were pitching the same client for new business, only they didn't know it," Webb says. "There were also instances in which we'd call on a client to cross-sell additional services, only to discover that we were providing those services to the client already--but from a different office." The problem was information silos. The previous solution could not scale to more than 20 users--a significant problem considering there are 400 lawyers at Osborne Clarke, says Paul Askew, one of the firm's IT project managers. Instead, "People were capturing data in a variety of formats, whether it be their Microsoft Outlook contacts databases or in their offline diaries. Their personal assistants were also accumulating contacts," he says. For an award-winning midsize law firm trying to compete against larger competitors that use sophisticated technology, a communication breakdown of this magnitude was not acceptable. To resolve the problem Osborne Clarke selected Interface Software's InterAction software. According to Askew, Osborne Clarke was impressed with its capabilities for the legal arena, its scalability, its ability to minimize duplicate records, and that other top law firms in the United Kingdom had already selected it. Now Osborne Clarke's lawyers write postvisit reports that are disseminated to other lawyers through the system. This enhanced interaction capability enables lawyers to compare notes on clients, which Webb says has already garnered the company more business.
The Payoff: Based on Osborne Clarke's success with the product, Askew expects to launch a company-wide roll out of InterAction that will integrate with the company's Microsoft Outlook, its iManage document management system, and its practice management system. Additionally, Askew expects InterAction to play a major role in the company's internal portal implementation. --David Myron
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