Charlotte Parkinson, Modern Law Magazine, spoke to Dolores Evelyn (pictured); Eclipse Legal Systems, about how technology can help small to medium sized firms retain competitive advantage following the emergence of ABS giants, since the ABS Act was passed through parliament at the end of 2011.
It has been just over a year since the ABS Act cleared its final hurdle and was conceded through Parliament and already some big players within the legal services sector have began to emerge. The appearance of ABS firms such as BT Law, Quindell, The Co-op, Thompsons, Admiral Law, Ageas Law and Stobarts, has left many smaller law firms wondering how they can streamline their service offerings in order to retain competitive advantage and avoid their clients being swallowed up by these new ABS giants.
While it is feared that many of these newly emerging industry heavyweights will begin to swamp the market, some consumers feel as though firms of this size can lose the personal aspect of service which can often be instrumental to success in an exceptionally competitive market. The client may be afraid of being subject to endless options on an automated telephone service for example. Although there are some larger corporations, such as NatWest, breaking the mould with their innovative NatWest Mobile Branch Banking, which creates an accessible service for its customers in rural areas by providing them with access to banking without having to travel to towns and cities, many larger firms have neglected the personal aspect of customer service.
A pro-active approach
So, what are the ways in which the smaller law firms can remain at the fore of the market now that these huge ABS corporations are in play? The average person will use a lawyer four times in their life and this will broadly be across four consumer areas of law; conveyancing, probate and possibly family and personal injury. As it will be a necessity for most people to use these services at some point in their life there is certainly the demand for the service, so it is the competitive edge for the small to medium sized firms that is vital.
Technology has advanced beyond recognition within the last 10 years and has changed the scope for possibility within the legal sector. Many firms are therefore looking towards their technological service providers to aid in giving them the competitive advantage and market share and while some of these firms are being pro-active in the way they approach market uncertainty and change, there are some firms where this much needed pro-active nature is lacking. They must listen to their service providers in these times of change as they can help them remain slick and efficient and give them the advantage they so desperately need.
Dolores Evelyn, Sales Director at Eclipse Legal Systems, comments:
“One technology recently revealed – which perfectly fits this ‘service’ ethos – is Eclipse’s own TouchPoint client self-service portal. TouchPoint provides a secure, online, device independent way for clients and customers to manage their own cases. The TouchPoint ‘experience’ and client journey has simplicity at its heart, and carries the none-too-small advantage of providing great savings in administrative costs.
As the market changes, clients will demand a different ‘type’ of service – one that is ‘always on’ and provides the most hassle-free way of staying in contact. TouchPoint is open to firms of all sizes, enabling smaller operators to really level the playing field and provide a ‘big firm’ self-service portal experience.”