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The CRM Marathon – and the Data Dash


Along the CRM implementation route, data quality issues are a common hurdle for every organization. Here’s why: during a law firm CRM rollout, thousands of shared contacts quickly flow into the system from users. Some of these records contain incomplete or outdated information. Others are shared by multiple users, which will create a considerable number of duplicate records.

Attorneys are trained to notice errors, so if bad data is not addressed promptly, it will lead to distrust of the system. This is why preparing a data quality plan to manage user expectations from the start is essential. Adequate data quality resources must be engaged early, and the cleanup effort must be ongoing because data will continue to degrade over time.

Some firms also find it beneficial to incorporate incentives to encourage internal staff members to assist in the initial data cleanup before and during the initial rollout. Contests and rewards can get them engaged, and don’t forget to leverage one of the great motivators in a law firm: food. Here are a few ideas:

  • Breakfast / bagel breaks for meetings and trainings
  • Brown bag lunch and learns or meetings
  • Data cleansing cookie breaks
  • CRM cocktail receptions or happy hours

Other incentives can be used to encourage participation from assistants and attorneys:

  • For the data ‘cleanup,’ offer house cleaning services
  • For enhancing contact ‘details,’ provide auto detailing
  • For data ‘massaging’ such as deduplication or categorization, offer chair massages or massage gift certificates
  • For ‘boosting’ contact information with industry, business or news information, offer coffee or gas gift cards
  • For longer term projects, offer raffle tickets for achievement of incremental goals and award a valuable gift for the winner

While internal resources may help with the initial cleanup, many firms have now realized that they are not a viable long-term solution for data quality. Admin staff are not often trained in data quality and research and they typically have more pressing or even billable tasks to attend to. As a result, these strategic firms are relying on outsourced data quality professionals for initial and ongoing cleanup. Outsourced data quality professionals are trained in CRM, data quality and research skills and can often be engaged at a cost that is less than utilizing internal data staff – while eliminating the hiring, training and management headaches.

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