By Legal Futures Associate Legl
Legl helped the firm move closer to its vision for making it easy and instinctive for everyone in the firm to deliver excellent client service.
“Our clients started using Legl’s payment request links almost immediately. Our finance manager who deals with debtors found that many paid more quickly than they would have otherwise. Legl implementation and in-house debtor recovery tactics have seen our debtor days drop from 34 to 26.” – Julia Taylor, Director of Client Services
As Director of Client Services, Julia Taylor ensures the Debenhams Ottaway client experience is seamless from initial contact through to matter completion and beyond: “My role in the firm is to deliver that excellent first impression, uphold client expectations, and support the lawyers to be as accessible and responsive as possible.”
Julia explains, “My overarching goal is to oversee and understand how people choose us, how they use us, how they pay us, and why they stay with us.” As Director of Client Services, Julia was unwavering in her approach to ensure the Debenhams Ottaway’ 100-person-strong, multi-service law firm set its focus on the client experience. From a background of working in law firms for over 30 years, Julia’s role at Debenhams Ottaway is to form and maintain the foundations of exceptional client service across the firm.
The aims for Debenhams Ottaway included:
- Having the majority of client payments made online.
- Allowing clients to make payments without involving admin time, and allowing the client to pay when it suited them.
- Improving cash flow for invoices and monies on account.
Why did Debenhams Ottaway partner with Legl?
- Legl has an “excellent client services team who took the time to suggest how Legl could work specifically for our firm.”
- Legl is a LawNet preferred supplier.
- “It was really simple for our finance manager to pick up and roll out to the rest of the team.”
Debenhams Ottaway pride themselves on being accessible to their clients, but it meant that the team were spending too much time taking an old-fashioned approach to client payments – “We still had people wanting to pay their invoices at reception or by cheque.”
Prior to using Legl, the firm took client payments via BACS or card payments over the phone, often taking 5-7 minutes to take each phone payment. These un-client friendly methods meant the finance team and receptionists were spending time handling manual finance transactions, rather than adding value to clients and the business.”
Julia explains, “Clients could only ring up and pay their invoices with cards between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, which wasn’t offering them a convenient way to pay.”
Julia received a letter from a healthcare provider which offered a link to click and pay. Although Julia had been considering the idea of a digital payments solution for some time, this was the pivotal point that prompted the change, “I knew we needed this for our law firm.”
Although Julia was sold, she faced concerns from the law firm’s partners that a tech-enabled payments solution would potentially cause clients to pay incorrect amounts; thus heightening their compliance risk exposure.
A chat with the Legl team quickly put their minds at ease. The finance team receives a notification when a client payment is made – enabling them to easily check the payment source, amount and compliance. The built-in grace period of 6-12 hours allows the firm to deny a payment if there are questions as to the source or amount of funds.
After gathering reviews from other satisfied Legl customers, Legl became Debenhams Ottaway’s solution. “What I really liked about Legl was that upon enquiry, the client service team gave me examples of how other firms use the platform and how to get the most out of it, which was a big selling point.”
“What I really liked about Legl was that upon enquiry, the client service team gave me examples of how other firms use the platform and how to get the most out of it, which was a big selling point.”
“The automated reminders and payment links have really driven the speed in payments, especially for overdue invoices. We now take 47% of client payments outside of office hours, and with payment request links get paid in 21.6 hours on average.”
Through Legl’s platform, Debenhams Ottaway also now includes an email link within its invoice for easy payment and uses the pre-populated payment request links via email for overdue invoices. “Clients started using payment links almost immediately, and our finance team found that many clients now pay more quickly than they would have otherwise. In fact, we’ve saved 60-70 hours across 600+ payments.
The feedback from our clients has been positive, too, with one commenting that, ‘Wow, this is amazing!’ with regard to paying online.” Julia explains, “He was really impressed with the fact that he could pay online, whenever it suited him, and in whatever way he wanted to do it.”
Initially, Julia felt that Legl’s platform seemed tailored to a younger client base, but many of Debenhams Ottaway’s clients have picked it up really easily, “The automated, bespoke reminders and payment links have made it easy and really driven the speedy payments, especially for overdue invoices. Legl delivers our clients an easy way to pay their invoices which is great for them and us.”
Julia is delighted to note that, “Legl implementation and in-house debtor recovery tactics have seen our debtor days drop from 34 to 26 days.”
“Legl has been really easy for the finance team to be trained on. And Legl’s client service team has answered all of our questions really quickly.”
Julia advises any law firms currently evaluating Legl’s pay solution to “get on and do it! In terms of helping the clients and being efficient internally, it’s a little bit of a no brainer.”