I came across a press release for the latest version (5.1) of customer relationship management software InterAction by Interface Software.

One feature caught my eye and made me think about how law firms can try to extend their reach to clients. The press release describes a feature that can automatically verify contacts. The “new InterAction Contact Verifier module lets the organization request updates directly from their clients or contacts. The module allows organizations to send contacts customized communications that display core business card elements including name, company, address, etc. Recipients are directed to an editable secure Web page that allows them easily to update their existing contact details and submit any changes directly to the InterAction database for real-time automatic updates.”

It would be nice (and perhaps already possible, I’m not up on all of the technical product specs) to integrate this feature with e-newsletters that law firms regularly broadcast (or perhaps narrowcast is a better description). If each message contained contact data verification at the beginning or end of the substantive news, law firms might find it easier to maintain up-to-date contact information.

It’s not a great leap of concept to add one more feature to an e-newsletter, namely the ability to click on a link and add a new contact for a subscription to the same newsletter. This would allow an existing subscriber to add a new subscriber or, more likely, the recipient of a forwarded message to add his or her contact information. Some caveats are in order. First, one would have to manage the links and data so that a forwardee could not alter the original recipients contact information. And second, any new contacts added this way would be best vetted by someone in the law firm rather than blithely added to a central database.

I’m not sure that this would result in rampant viral effects of expanding the reach of newsletters, but it offers the possibility of using existing clients to help maintain their own contact information and to generate new contacts as well.