MALLESONS STEPHEN Jacques has been recognised for its development of an innovative client service technology program called PeopleFinder.
For the second year running, Mallesons was selected by the College of Law Practice Management to receive one of three InnovAction Awards, which recognise organisations that have shown “excellence and innovation in the management and delivery of legal services”.
PeopleFinder is an internally developed web 2.0 application that integrates much of the Mallesons’ existing communication infrastructure.
According to the firm’s executive director of business integration and technology, Gerard Neiditsch, it was developed to maximise the number of client calls that are directed straight through to an available lawyer who is able to assist and to reduce the number of calls going through to voice mail.
“The way the world has evolved, for most people, and particularly external people, it’s only really in those cases where they need something urgently that they use the phone. In other cases they just use email. And if you have something urgent it’s often quite frustrating to be put through to voicemail,” he said.
And it seems to be working, with an additional 10,000 calls a month now being answered by a person rather than going to voicemail.
The program works by allowing users to see each other’s status, which the system can determine based on information from BlackBerries and the firm’s intranet directory. This means that calls can be directed to the person most likely to be able to help the client on the spot.
“So if you have a window open for your team, when a call comes in you can see who in your team might be able to take the call,” Neiditsch said. “It’s very dynamic. It’s built on [identifying] what matters people are working on and which clients people are working with.”
Another key benefit of the program, Neiditsch explained, is that it’s easy for staff to use. “That has become increasingly important for us — because the people who are consuming the technology inside Mallesons generally have less and less time to learn,” he said. “So the reason the system took off so quickly is because it doesn’t require any training.”
PeopleFinder grew out of the firm’s “ClientFirst” initiative, which is a program designed to improve overall client service. “We have an objective to make sure that when clients interact with the firm in any way, not just [with] technology related [issues], that they get a consistently good experience,” Neiditsch said.
Mallesons was one of three organisations selected for InnovAction awards this year. The other two went to global firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and US legal service provider Novus Law LLC.