Using technology to improve service delivery, work load management and improve client satisfaction

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Plot sales at Scottish firm Gillespie Macandrew is all about delivering volume activity and having status information immediately available for both national and small scale developers. A team of four full-time paralegals led by a young qualified solicitor manage this high-pressure work stream, processing over 1,100 sales per year – and making up 6% of the firm's £10m turnover.

"Like a lot of firms, between 2008 and 2013 we had to batten down the hatches," explains Chris West, chief executive officer at Gillespie Macandrew, "but we've emerged into today's extremely competitive ABS world reinvigorated and restructured, and more than ready to embrace technology to support the growth of our business." Plot sales is high-volume, lower-margin work area that is often fixed price but, says West, it also enjoys a relatively short debt cycle so it helps powerfully with the firm's cash flow. "We need to support rapid and effective delivery of this work – to say it's critical to maintain competitive position is not an understatement."

The firm's existing practice and case management solutions were unsuitable for the plot sales unit, so there was little technology in place to drive more efficiency in this process-heavy work stream. A number of team changes led to increased client pressure on service and made the existing way of working untenable. Consistency, plus the ability to work as a team rather than a group of individuals, was needed – urgently.

"We needed to mitigate the impact of team changes and show clients our commitment to their goals," says West. "Plot sales is a busy area – if people are away, backlogs can be quickly created. That means pressure on our people and the client relationship." So, the firm needed to find technology that would improve service delivery and increase efficiency to improve client satisfaction, workload management, completion timescales and financial forecasting.

"We were looking for a solution that would give us the ability to make workflow and document changes within the team, with no special IT skills, just reasonable aptitude that the team innately has to create and produce the system they need, not one designed by IT."

The design tools inside Linetime Liberate are easy to use, and it's simple to create forms and workflows within the software with no technical knowledge – one of the key reasons Gillespie Macandrew chose Linetime to work with. "Changes can be accommodated by the team quickly and easily, with no delay and we can be confident the changes have actually happened – because we're in charge of them."

However, to get a software implementation delivered quickly you need proper commitment from both sides of the table – provider and firm. This meant allocating people to the project and finding a partner with the same serious commitment. "We created a process model for all plot sales, and worked with Linetime to tailor the system specifically to the plot sales team's needs. In the development phase for the Scottish legal process, the Linetime people must have been learning some of this as they went, but it didn't show." 

 

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