Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Vendor/Customer Communication

I feel something like a voyeur reading Chris Smith’s weblog, “How do you know that?” (Thanks to Denise for getting us in touch.) You see, Chris isn’t just another guy interested in the intersection between law and technology. Nope – Chris is also (*gasp*) a prospect. It seems that someone at my company annoyed the you-know-what out of Chris and his colleagues at Chris’s large law firm (since Chris keeps the name of his firm private, so will I). (Side note: the person on our end is no longer with us.)

In any event, reading Chris’s site on a regular basis will be instructive for me. He’s documenting the very real challenges he’s facing on a number of issues (the last few days covered extranets and justifying a CRM investment), and what he’s trying to accomplish. It’s instructive because I’m a vendor (I hate that term). My company, Interface Software, sells to firms like Chris’s. And understanding the challenges faced by folks like Chris is key to our ability to solve those challenges.

Of course, there’s risk involved. Chris is banking on the fact that I won’t abuse this open communication by trying to use his posts as fodder for my own efforts to convince him to buy our software. (I won’t.) This kind of open dialog is exactly where weblogs can foster better understanding among complementary groups. To work, though, there has to be restraint.

Who knows? Hopefully it will work both ways. Chris might learn something from me. Seeing life through the eyes of someone selling into the legal market might shed some light on his own challenges, and/or identify some solutions he hadn’t thought of. One thing is certain – I am thrilled to see the number of sites blossoming in our corner of the weblog world. (Go to Denise’s site for an exhaustive list.) Who knew there were so many tech-savvy lawyers?!

Coming up soon – I’m going to respond to Chris’s post about measuring ROI on CRM.

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