The Clio Payments Journey – Executive Summary
Clio is a professional service company delivering cloud-based practice management technologies for lawyers around the world.
- Purpose of this case study: This discussion provides insight into the payments strategy decision process and use of a payments partnership to increase customer satisfaction.
Our discussion can be divided into four sections:
- Reason to explore payments
- About the journey and process
- Best practices
Reasons they explored payments
Robert Froment, Clio CFO, stated that payment processing was not his #1 priority. But he knew he wanted to make it as easy as possible for their customers to include payments. So the goal of the initiative was defined: make lawyers’ lives easier and provide a better experience to clients.
About the journey
3 months- to decide … 9-12 month implementation
Because payment processing is not their main business, it took a couple of years to identify this as a strategic initiative. They deliver cloud-based practice management technologies for lawyers!
From the Clio perspective, the payments topic was confusing. And this was for good reason.
- Pricing information was difficult. Even with statements the detail was not clear, i.e. the additional cost of loyalty cards.
- ACH appeared cumbersome. Specifically, providing bank account information for ACH seemed onerous and why would customers pay a fee?
- Debit cards had similar obstacles
So, with a lot of questions, Clio set out to provide the convenience of card payments and be cost effective. Their major concern was customer satisfaction.
On to set a goal and identify the characteristics/objectives. Law firms have unique requirements for billing. When investigating available options for payments, they found standard payment processor offerings would require work-arounds to be compliant in their industry. Froment was concerned that this would be an ongoing headache.
One example are Trusts. This is a real concern as Trust accounting violations are a common reason for disciplinary action. Because Trust accounts must be kept whole, transactions are deposited in full. Fees are then separated into the proper accounts.
This type of “industry specific” requirement is a significant reason Clio decided to use a partner. They chose LawPay as a payment partner because their payment solution is designed for their industry. This achieves the goal of making it easy for customers to include payments.
Robert Froment cited several points as best practices from his experience
- Have a strategy with a clear understanding of the goal
- Keep your customer focus. A payment strategy can help increase customer satisfaction with your product and/or service.
- Consider partners who have done this before. The right partner can
- Stand up the project quicker
- Leverage experience to set you up for success
When asked what he would do differently, Froment said they spent too much time validating LawPay. To highlight the customer benefits of an industry specific payment processor, Clio identifies payment processing “by LawPay”.
- Clio found their customer satisfaction increased as evidenced by reduced turnover.
- Shorten the receivable cycle reducing customer stress. (Law bills on 90-120 days. Therefore, a reduction in “financing” the customer’s business is welcomed.)
- Credit cards are new in this industry as checks are standard. Clio was concerned about adoption, but are experiencing high adoption rates.
- Strategic customer satisfaction was the driver, but the increased revenue is “gravy”