Is your reception too busy to say hello?

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Is your reception too busy to say hello?

In a bustling law firm, the reception area is the first point of contact for clients, visitors, and staff. Receptionists are the face of the firm, responsible for creating a positive first impression. However, when they're swamped with multiple tasks, it can be overwhelming for both them and the firm.

With Firms changing structures to incorporate hybrid working and other strategies, 64% of managers said that employees are given additional responsibilities in their roles. What knock on effect does this create? Stress and burnout causes sickness creating understaffed or inexperienced reception leading to disruption for clients.

Increased Stress and Burnout

Receptionists often have to answer phones, manage appointments, handle admin tasks, and greet clients all at once. This constant juggling act can lead to stress and burnout. Trying to excel in each role can be mentally and physically draining, affecting their overall well-being.

Multitasking makes it tough for receptionists to focus on each task effectively, which can lead to mistakes and oversights. With their attention split, they might struggle to give each responsibility the necessary attention, resulting in errors and reduced productivity.

Decreased Service Quality

When receptionists are pulled in various directions, they might not be able to give clients the attention they deserve, leading to dissatisfaction. Clients who feel neglected may question the firm's commitment to their needs and might look elsewhere, impacting the firm's reputation and client retention.

An excessive workload can make it hard for receptionists to respond promptly to client inquiries, affecting the firm's professional image. Clients expect timely communication, and delays can be seen as unprofessional, leading to frustration and potentially damaging the firm's reputation. "And for future law firms and their lawyers, the onus for satisfying the client’s requests will continue to lie with them, and that how services are delivered rather than service itself, will become the focus." With clients having rising expectations and lessening loyalty as referenced in Legal500,  a dip in the quality of service from reception could trigger a departure to a competitor and a big financial impact to the firm.

Negative Impact on Staff Morale

Being overloaded with diverse tasks can make receptionists feel undervalued and overwhelmed, decreasing morale and job satisfaction. When staff feel overwhelmed, their motivation and enthusiasm for work decline, leading to decreased productivity and higher turnover rates.

Constant multitasking can make it challenging for receptionists to develop specialised skills or advance their careers within the firm. Without the chance to focus on specific areas, they may feel stagnant and frustrated, lacking motivation to excel in their current roles.

Potential for Errors and Disorganisation

Managing multiple roles can result in conflicting priorities, causing disorganisation and confusion. Receptionists might struggle to decide which tasks to prioritise, leading to unclear workflows and potential bottlenecks in the firm's operations.

Increased workload and divided attention can elevate the chances of errors in managing client information and scheduling. Receptionists are crucial in maintaining accurate records and smooth operations, but being overwhelmed with tasks increases the risk of mistakes, which can have serious consequences.

Outsourcing as a Solution

Outsourcing certain reception responsibilities to specialised service providers can help alleviate the burden of multiple tasks. Delegating specific duties like call handling, booking reservations, and managing escalations to external professionals allows in-house receptionists to focus on personalised client service and in-person interactions. This approach not only reduces their workload but also ensures that each task receives dedicated attention from experts. Additionally, outsourcing can offer cost-effective solutions and flexibility in managing fluctuating workloads, enhancing overall efficiency and client satisfaction.

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Business continuity isn’t just for cyberattacks.  

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Business continuity isn’t just for cyberattacks.  

Why being prepared for the day-to-day matters

No company likes surprises (unless, perhaps, it’s a sudden stock price jump). Which is why it’s important to have strong contingency plans for when things go wrong. According to CityAm, cyberattacks on law firms have risen sharply over the last year, and this will likely continue as hackers recognise the potential value of sensitive client data. 

Most law firms have plans in place for worst-case scenarios – a serious client data breach, I.T. system failure, or legal liability. But despite the increase in ransom attacks, these incidents are still (thankfully) not day-to-day occurrences.  

However, business continuity is about more than just being prepared for a rare catastrophe. Threats to the continuity of your business operations are usually much smaller, more frequent, and easier to overlook, but their effects add up over time.  From a sudden bout of winter sickness to a power-cut to something as seemingly innocuous as a fire alarm, there are multiple scenarios that can render a law firm less able to provide seamless customer service for a short period. 

Given that up to 40% of calls to full service law firms are new business enquiries, even short periods of downtime can cost your firm valuable business. Preparing for day-to-day disruption is your best chance of remaining accessible and efficient, both for your existing clients and potential future ones. 

Here’s why being prepared for the little things can make a big difference for your firm. 

Daily disruptions are easy to overlook 

If you asked most partners what their business continuity strategy looks like, chances are their answer would mention cybersecurity, I.T. infrastructure, data recovery, or insurance, and would most likely involve a dedicated working team.

Very few would think about what their firm would do if, for instance, there was a fire alarm in the building. Assuming that the reason for the alarm is somebody burning toast in the office kitchen and not an actual fire, this incident might sound trivial – but there are still business continuity implications to consider.

For example, who is answering your phones in this scenario? Will you be relying on voicemail to pick up any potentially important calls that come in during the half-hour before your teams are allowed back into the building?If so, it might be worth considering if this is the right solution for your firm. According to our research, around 60% of people won’t leave a voicemail if they don’t get through – meaning clients will probably pick up the phone to a competitor instead. The impact is also felt by those employees who are working remotely, where friction and frustration from the disruption can impact their own roles and effectiveness.

And it’s not just fire alarms. Everyday disruption also comes in the form of:

  • Staff sickness
  • Staff holidays
  • Power cuts
  • Travel chaos
  • Flooding and Snow days
  • Facilities incidents
  • Retirement planning

These are the ongoing small-scale challenges faced by facilities managers and front of house teams as they strive to efficiently resource and deliver great service to clients.

A 2023 BBC analysis of National Rail data showed that nearly half of UK train services were delayed or cancelled in the first half of 2023, with cancellation rates as high as 13%. This means the prospect of front of house teams not making it into the office without disruption is on the increase. Firms simply cannot resource their switchboard in person for every fluctuation and unexpected event, so these everyday challenges are becoming a greater drain across the business.

For these scenarios, an external switchboard provider offers protection against downtime on your phone lines, with automatic failover to pick up calls during disruption – which could be the difference between a new client and a missed opportunity.

Hybrid work creates more demand from remote employees

Nobody could have predicted the pandemic. Many companies were able to adapt quickly to the challenges of remote working, but with hybrid working here to stay, companies must consider whether the hybrid policies they implemented during the pandemic are the most efficient ones for the long term.

With more staff working remotely and choosing flexible office hours, there is a greater demand for remote support for employees. To avoid friction, staff should have access to:

  • Resources and documentation
  • Reliable tech support
  • Secure Wi-Fi or server connections
  • Data security training
  • Cybersecurity awareness

One of the benefits of an external switchboard service is that you can minimise the friction of remote working. It’s not just knowing that your phone lines are covered at all times – but also that staff can navigate access to support which can be escalated appropriately and efficiently, that messages are taken and followed up, and that detailed call data is captured so you can plan your hybrid working strategy around your firm’s specific needs.

Accessing your knowledge base

For most law firms, your knowledge base includes client case files, research resources, training materials, contact lists and marketing plans – all the documentation that is essential to the day-to-day and long-term operation of your business. These resources are the beating heart of the firm – without them, it would be simply impossible to conduct business as usual.

A significant part of that knowledge base is the contact information and operational details to keep the firm running.

But if your central contact repository becomes out of date, inaccessible, or the data stored in it becomes compromised, even the most basic of client requests become unmanageable.

However, outsourcing your switchboard to a trusted supplier provides an extra layer of business continuity in the case of disruption. Suppliers such as ComXo will be able to maintain access to all contacts, office connection information and operational resources to allow communication to continue even during emergencies. So you won’t lose any time (or potential new business) due to the disruption.

Maintaining a professional outlook

Even if unforeseen circumstances have affected your ability to carry out certain elements of day-to-day business, it’s important to make sure that customers, suppliers or other parts of the company have confidence in reaching you.

An outsourced switchboard service can be indispensable in this area. With a switchboard outsourcing service like ComXo, you’ll have a team of professional, empathetic call handlers who understand your business, ready to receive 24/7 enquiries, provide updates and information, and reassure your clients.

Looking for a flexible switchboard solution? Here’s how ComXo can help 

ComXo are industry-leaders in transformational switchboard and business support services, committed to redefining the switchboard for law firms. With a combination of technology and great people, we help you deliver exceptional experiences more flexibly, and maintain peak productivity as you adapt to the challenges of hybrid working. 

Our 24-hour switchboard service keeps you up and running when things don’t go to plan, so you can maintain your professional reputation. Our dynamic workplace helplines allow your team to feel supported and confident, while minimising the business disruption risks of the hybrid world. 

Why not talk to our team about how we can support your firm to ensure you’re always covered? 

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Say it with flowers

  • Company Culture
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Say it with flowers

ComXo Founder and Managing Director Andrew Try is also Chairman of the Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society, run by a team of passionate volunteers.

The society’s charitable remit is to encourage the enjoyment of gardening, nature, cookery and traditional crafts as a community, and something which Andrew is hugely passionate about. Andrew first got involved with the Royal Windsor Flower Show 13 years ago. Although it was a Royal Show founded by Queen Victoria, the show had fallen on hard times and was in danger of being lost.

Slowly, over the last decade, a committed, passionate and skilful group of local Windsor people have resuscitated the show and have created the best boutique Flower Show in the country. Horticultural guru and RWRHS Honorary President Alan Titchmarsh commented

"What you have witnessed here today is the very best of English tradition, in the heart of Windsor countryside!”

More importantly every penny generated by the Royal Windsor Flower Show feeds into the Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society’s charitable fund that works with homeless charity Centrepoint, to springboard young disenfranchised people into the gardening and landscaping industries. The society also supports the schools gardening initiative.

This year ComXo proudly sponsored The King’s Garden, the great showpiece maze at the centre of the event. The garden was designed and produced by Chelsea Flower Show legends Alan Williams and Mark Gregory, and reflects our new King’s passions and celebrate this new Carolean age.

The tale of the show’s revival, its hard-won success and its focus on sustainability, the circular economy, and as a charity that is changing people lives, aligns perfectly with ComXo’s values.

Andrew says of the show's success:

"ComXo are proud to support an event which has been reinvigorated and with the investment of time, money and passion, helped to create a show with purpose and in doing so changed lives for the better in our community."

Why is sponsorship of the Kings Garden so important to ComXo?

  • We’re passionate about actively supporting our local communities with virtuous circles
  • The funds raised from the show’s success enable the Royal Windsor Rose and Horticultural Society to provide charitable support to others.
  • It brings together people with a shared love of nature.
  • This year’s ‘Kings Garden’ designed by award winning Alan Williams of Landform UK, is a glorious celebration of our new King and his love of the environment.
  • The garden design uses recycled and sustainable materials which aligns with our own commitment to looking after our planet.

The show took place in Windsor Great Park where ComXo guests and some of our team celebrated in a shared love of all things community and gardening.

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Top Tips to protect your business during a cyber attack

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Top Tips to protect your business during a cyber attack

Following our experience and learnings gained in supporting a major Global law firm who were severely impacted by a cyber attack, here are 10 top tips how you can prevent an attack paralysing your business.

Protect your brand at all costs. Perception is reality

It is unacceptable for a customer focused firm to be unavailable for any length of time. Being able to demonstrate that regardless of the situation, you are open for business and capable of maintaining high service levels builds trust, customer loyalty and professional respect.

Enable your teams to focus on the crisis

When a crisis hits, you will require total focus, concentrated effort and coordinated teamwork to survive. Create space and mitigate risk by ring-fencing the front line experience. Triaging internal services, information updates and escalation requests engenders an atmosphere of uninterrupted calm and control, and puts you back on the front foot.

Provide a serviced virtual meeting place for stakeholders

Continuous communication is the single most important factor during a crisis. An easy-to-use voice conference room that can be accessed at any time is key. A managed audio conferencing service can facilitate requests to ensure agility and fluidity as the situation develops.

Keep your staff informed. Duty of care is essential

Defined, well-rehearsed communication channels minimise confusion and insecurity amongst stakeholders and staff. It is vital to have access to up-to-date stakeholder and staff contact lists for consistent communications (e.g. text, email, voice, hotline). These comms can be invoked through a managed service in the cloud.

Ensure access to your knowledge asset

Having an external switchboard provider that understands your processes could enable you to maintain access to key information and business services even during a crisis, ensuring ongoing efficiency and information flow.

Keep your IT help desk functioning 24/7

Minimising confusion as a crisis unfolds is vital. Getting and keeping key IT capability up and working is a pivotal step to achieve this. ensuring clear lines open to your IT help desk gives your workforce assurance that the situation is under control. Using a triage capability to answer calls and service requests; fact find, prioritise and escalate - enabling your own IT staff to focus on the higher level problems.

Provide your staff with the right tools for remote working

By providing alternative, company sanctioned and network independent communication tools, staff can stay productive rather than having to second guess the company's risk, security or compliance regime, A BYOD (bring-your-own-device) technology that's simple to use and allows easy billing will encourage staff to continue communicating.

Think global

For global corporates a cyber-attack could mean that all world-wide communication becomes disrupted. Do you have global resilience plan in place for communication? It is tested around your key risks and invoked on regular basis?

Create strong supply chain relationships

When a crisis hits, relationships with key operational suppliers become even more important. Maintaining strong connections with the right people in these organisations will help ensure your problem is prioritised. Share your BCP plans with your supply chain and include them in your scenario planning.

Protect new business opportunities

Industry statistics show that up to 55% of switchboard calls to professionals service firms are existing or new business calls. A crisis hits customer confidence and keeping lines open to answer questions, escalate requests or give advice will ensure your customers do not seek out new suppliers.

We are trusted by top Global firms to provide outsourced support, including crisis lines and helplines which can be initiated during a cyber attack. To learn more about our work, contact our consultants today.

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