Friends Legal is truly driven by its mission “to be a market-leading Scottish Law firm that our customers choose for our excellent results, and outstanding client experience”. While the message resonates with their existing core audience, the company saw this wasn’t the case within the afterlife legal services. They saw an opportunity to make things better.
Launching their new By Your Side initiative, their aim was to make the professional legal services for bereavement more accessible, affordable, and transparent for bereaved families. Tony O’Malley, Friends Legal Managing Partner, witnessed complicated processes currently in place for afterlife services and the varied costs charged within the industry. He knew it was time to make a difference:
“If you visit any number of solicitors’ websites, it can be extremely complicated to work out what you will pay, if you find fees mentioned at all.
“It needs to change, and the interests of bereaved families put first.”
Adopting Advanced Technology
Tony and his team knew that to provide the best customer service at affordable rates, early adoption of technology would be important. Reducing time spent on repetitive work and maximising profitability through efficiency was key. They started seeking the use of advanced technology to help keep costs down and reduce time spent on administration and lengthy asset discovery. Despite the industry being very traditional in their methods, Friends Legal saw the substantial benefits of adopting technology such as Exizent in the early stages to provide an improved service for their clients.
Without Exizent’s technology, Friends Legal decided it would be very difficult to offer their clients the service and costs they are able to now. From a business perspective, the traditional methods of performing probate are very costly. Manually posting letters and documents between firms and contacting all parties through varying platforms is unrealistic and unsustainable. Friends Legal strived to be able to manage everything from one location and reduce the unnecessary back and forth between institutions.
“Managing our clients probate through Exizent’s online platform is of course beneficial to us, but actually it is highly beneficially to our clients as well. It allows the team to spend time with our clients, which is particularly necessary with afterlife services.
“Dealing with the loss of a loved one is tough. Bereaved people are vulnerable, often feel short of time and energy, and bad choices can result.
“That’s why it is vitally important for us to have a transparent service, communicating with our clients at every single stage of the process so that they know exactly what is going on, what the price is and are never in the position where they don’t have clarity.”
Amy Wardrop, Senior Solicitor at Friends Legal, leads the By Your Side afterlife service department and has a vast amount of experience within estate and trust administration.
It was important for Amy and her team to be working with an organisation that shared their values. It was equally important to make the right choices for their business and starting with the right technology for the job:
“I love the intuitive nature of Exizent’s online dashboard, the ability to click an asset as completed to show visually it’s done makes the administration of large cases that bit easier. As a team of lawyers who were not particularly tech savvy, the speed in which we have got to grips with the platform is very much testament to the ease of use.
“There hasn’t been anything the platform can’t do and working alongside the Exizent team has been fantastic. I’ve already saved so much time through the integrations with the likes of Zoopla and we are excited as a team to continue our relationship with Exizent and watch the continued development of the platform for the better.”
Exizent believe in working closely with their customers and this was a feature that brought Friends Legal to the platform. It is this relationship that allows Exizent to be responsive to their clients’ needs and prioritise features that they believe are essential. Tony commented on Friends Legal relationship with Exizent:
“The partnership works well on both sides as we are also assisting them in developing solutions when they arise in live cases.
“Exizent share in our beliefs. New technology has the power to connect people and data to perform more efficiently, quickly and securely. We are looking forward to working with the Exizent team, and to an improved service for our clients.”
Technology at the forefront
Technology is becoming more accessible and easier to use. Friends Legal saw the benefits of investing in technology such as Exizent and believe it has been instrumental for their new By Your Side afterlife services function.
Friends Legal have had a great response to their fixed price offering, better than initially expected and growing quickly. With plans to continue to grow the team in the future, Friends Legal believe that with the assistance of the Exizent platform they will be able to continue to provide a high-quality, dedicated customer service to their clients.
The current traditional methods within the probate industry are slowing processes down. Friends Legal have highlighted the need to invest in online platforms to speed up the current procedures and allow more time for clients who within the afterlife services are going through one of the hardest times in their life. Competing against the online ‘do it yourself’ platforms has meant many probate departments need to look at being innovative and customer focused. By adopting technology such as Exizent, they can compete against these organisations and provide a sought-after customer service in a timely fashion.