Lockdown has provided a catalyst for major operational change within the legal sector. The firms that put robust plans in place to adapt to change quickly have thrived; they have embraced remote-working and many are now considering how to become truly digital.
Bernadette Bennett, Commercial Manager for Legal at Moneypenny, which handles more than 2 million legal calls and live chats each year, said: “Even though lockdown measures are beginning to ease, many law firms have decided against rushing back to the office and are looking at how they can enhance their recent digital experiences in order to become even more agile, effective and efficient.”
Here, Bernadette shares her tips for a successful digital transition.
- Communicate effectively
A skeleton team taking messages or giving out mobile numbers during lockdown may have provided a temporary fix to remote working, but it’s not an appropriate long-term solution. Lawyers need sophisticated telephony systems, call answering support and other tools, such as phone system mobile apps, outsourced switchboards and live chat, to run a virtual office successfully and maintain a positive client experience. Do not underestimate the importance of accessibility and communication.
- Rethink front-of-house
Embracing the virtual office means rethinking the relationship with the workplace. In time traditional reception spaces might be replaced with more virtual solutions such as ‘check in’ kiosks for visitors, complemented by off-site call handling teams to manage calls. A virtual office requires a virtual front of house experience and that means seamless communication wherever your team and your clients are. Calls can be diverted using digital switchboard solutions, telephone answering services can provide overflow and out-of-hours support and live chat can make accessibility even easier for clients
- Consider culture
For firms suddenly catapulted into remote working, maintaining a positive and motivating company culture has been a challenge. A virtual office still needs culture, which requires two key things – communication and collaboration. Supporting effective interaction, regularly checking in with staff, encouraging teamwork and continuing many of the virtual social events that took place at the height of lockdown will enable firms to make the shift to a virtual office while maintaining a motivated and engaged workforce. A happy workforce equals happy clients.
- Ask the experts
A global pandemic has accelerated the appetite for outsourcing as firms realise the value of additional help, expertise and guidance in order to navigate a changing world, streamline processes, save money and ensure business continuity. Leaning on the expertise of outsourced partners will help to ensure a well-considered and supported virtual legal office.
- Tool up
Enforced agility has shown just how important investment in new digital tools is to business continuity. Secure document sharing, communication and case management tools are all necessary in the virtual legal office. It’s important to find out which ones best support your agile vision and that people know how to use them. Cloud-based software and file storage systems as well as collaborative platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, will equip your team with the best tools and ensure the best client experience.