Sturdy systems: Why stability and responsiveness are central to great client service

It’s no question that the SME legal market, and wider legal market in general, is being hit with disruption and challenges – from client demands to demands from staff for improved legal services and means of delivery. Among all of that, law firms need to do more than just win the hearts of clients in order to be profitable.

Debenhams Ottaway’s goal is to keep growing – hoping to become a £10m business by 2020. Managing partner Susan Glenholme says that’s one of the firm’s main priorities and technology plays quite a big part in that.

“With Quiss, we have a provider that we feel can look after us. It is people-friendly, understands what we’re trying to achieve and knows how to deal with our users when something isn’t working.”

Stable and reliable 

She says Quiss is ensuring that there’s a stable, reliable environment to which Debenhams Ottaway’s systems are built. And having Quiss manage that for the firm means that there is a lot less downtime, which they used to have quite a lot of.

“When we went to the cloud five years ago, we wanted to make sure that people could work in a more flexible way and that we can service our clients better with technology. And that is still our aim today. “We brought Quiss along for that journey – we felt that it caters to firms of our size, which are looking to grow in the same way, and could cope with our systems and requirements. Quiss has great customer service and helps us better deliver our legal services.”

Glenholme says her firm is constantly looking at the technologies on the horizon. With the continued hype in the market around artificial intelligence, she mentions that there is some fear from lawyers about what AI’s capability means for the future of their work.

As such, quite a big challenge for the firm at the moment is recruitment. “We need to be able to offer our staff something that is different to what other firms have to offer. People want that flexibility and better work-life balance. And clients are similar as well – they want that flexibility and new ways of case delivery.”

Clients look at cost, quality and the flexibility of seeing a lawyer when and where they need to, she says – gone are the days where clients automatically use a lawyer that their parents used and only come into the office to see us.

“They’ve evolved their methodology. They search for answers and case studies online, double check information and negotiate costs. And it’s much more IT focused – they want service delivered in a different way. And Quiss provides us with that capability.”

A big part of keeping on top of client demands, Glenholme adds, is keeping on top of updates to technology, no matter how seemingly small. And, she says, Quiss updates the platform with the firm and advises them on how to keep on top of advancements and changes to systems and ways of working.

“Quiss opens us up to the different world that clients are now expecting. We can’t deliver work to them in a more streamlined way without the stable environment Quiss provides.

“Clients come to us because of the service we provide. What I found, particularly working on the private client side, is that it’s the technology that people want to be able to use and work on. We now offer Skype meetings. In order to do that successfully we need to know that there won’t be any glitches.”

At attention

Having a stable and reliable environment is the bread and butter for a law firm’s ability to meet client demands, and also the ability to attract and retain staff. But technology and tech teams also need to be responsive.

“Quiss is very responsive as well, which has been very useful for us. Having a close working relationship is very important to us and we feel that their ability to respond to our needs has definitely strengthened our relationship,” she says.

Glenholme adds that a key part of Quiss’s responsiveness comes from its understanding and relationship with the firm’s other vendors and applications.

She says Debenhams Ottaway is getting all the suppliers to work together where possible so that the firm can get a better service all around. “Quiss’s helpdesk has been a fundamental part of evolving our experience with technology and relationships with suppliers. They’ve been a huge help – very friendly and polite, but most of all, efficient.”

Quiss is always available when the firm needs it, she says, and they come to the office fairly regularly. Debenham Ottaway’s head of operations is monitoring the evolution of those relationships.

“We wanted to work with a firm that would look after our technology environment and that understood the legal market. A big part of why we chose Quiss was because it understands what lawyers are like.

“We want to work with people who do their job, while we do our job, and everyone works together.”

She says it’s also more cost-effective working with Quiss rather than providing everything in-house. Generally, Glenholme says the firm has been pleased to work with Quiss – it keeps Debenham Ottaway informed, provides a stable and reliable environment for their systems and is available when the firm needs.

This article appeared in LPM magazine. Download the full issue of LPM July: Who are you? here.

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