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Talbots – ETSOS Case Study

30th September 2011

The Firm: Quality Solicitors Talbots is one of the West Midlands’ best-known law firms. It offers a broad range of services to both individuals and businesses from its six regional offices. Conveyancing has long been a core practice area but the current partners regularly evaluate their offering and the operation behind it, keen to continuously improve working methods, client satisfaction and competitiveness. The 25-strong department is currently handling some 3000 matters a year, and has invested significantly in online search and case management technology to secure greater efficiency, economy and quality.

The Rationale: Talbots’ managing partner Martyn Morgan: “Until December 2010 we were using a service provider that gave us the two things we needed – an easy to use search ordering portal supported by helpful people at the end of the phone. It worked extremely well and became a fundamental part of our streamlined conveyancing process. When that provider left the market, we were concerned that we would have to make a lot of comprises when selecting a new search provider, which wouldn’t have given us the fit we were after.

However, I was fortunate enough then to be introduced to ETSOS. A meeting with the team and a demonstration of the free online portal quickly confirmed that here was an alternative provider who could tick our three ‘must have’ boxes. We needed:>

1) An intuitive tool that our staff could just pick up and run with 2) Knowledgeable and responsive customer support 3) A supplier committed to its clients and the wider market

The experience: Initially, the most important thing was the transition. It was effectively seamless, so there was no real disruption to proceedings and all the staff felt immediately at home with the user-friendly interface. Indeed, ETSOS was soon outperforming our previous system, with useful features like the ‘Favourites’ giving us the option to buy our usual searches in one bundle rather than separately. The free boundary marking tool is also a great innovation and the portal generally allows lawyers to work in the way that suits them or a particular matter. For example, you can choose to review each search as it comes in or all together at the end.

Day-to-day, the real stand-out aspect of ETSOS is the account management. As a business, we’re very much in favour of developing ‘old-fashioned’ relationships where there’s plenty of face-to-face contact, and we’re not just some anonymous group of professionals, but people with names and personalities. We do it with clients and suppliers so the ETSOS principle of dedicated account managers, who stay with you and get to know your firm and its lawyers and how they work, that’s very attractive to us. And it matters everyday, as we chase up a search, or query a result, or look for flexible pricing – we know that on the end of the phone we’ll find experienced, reliable and affable people who understand the pressures we’re under and will work with us for a resolution.

Long-term we already know that this is a partner with whom we’re only going to grow. Before we finalized our decision, I needed to be sure that here was someone that not only would deliver confidently, but would also demonstrate real commitment to the conveyancing sector. Someone who would listen to feedback, enhance existing products, and develop new ones to help add value not just to the ETSOS proposition but their clients’ offering too.

Take the recent launch of the free ETSOS Quotation and Referral system for estate agents, brokers and IFAs as a prime example. Something that brings parties closer together and makes life easier for everyone, with on demand conveyancing quotes available even on the move via smartphones, you surely have to see that as a win-win. It’s illustrative of the philosophy and outlook of the management team and this is exactly the sort of company we want to be working with.”

The difference: Although we were long-time users of a very good online search tool, the arrival of ETSOS has still had a very positive impact on the firm. It’s allowed us to make further process efficiencies, to increase capacity, and to deliver a better, faster, slicker service to our clients. It’s made light of one of conveyancing’s real chores and I have the happy lawyers to prove it. It gives us flexibility on pricing, which can be the difference between being competitive enough or not. And it’s allowing us to plan for strategic alliances with estate agents through the use of a common platform, to the benefit of everyone involved.

For a firm that never wanted to have to switch, we’re very glad that we did.

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