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Nigel Stott: The Client of the Future – Innovating around the Client Experience

Today’s comment on Alternative Insights pain point series for The Client of the Future – Innovating around the Client Experience, comes from Nigel Stott, Head of IT at Hudgell Solicitors.  Nigel argues that with the modern consumers expectations raised year on year, the convenience and speed experienced across these environments will define the expectations of the legal services client of the future…

Client experience (or “CX” if you prefer) drives the performance of every modern service business. Convenience and speed are ubiquitous as companies everywhere are clamouring to innovate in their industry space. In a world where we can apply for a credit card in less than two minutes or receive our groceries less than an hour after ordering them, the modern consumer has their expectations raised year on year.

For most consumers, the purchasing of legal services is something they do very few times in their lives. Their desired experience will be based on the countless other services they have interacted with and their expectations with law firms will be no different. In the legal industry, there is a huge opportunity to gain competitive advantage using the same convenience and speed metrics.

Many law firms are utilising or starting to investigate the use of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to improve their initial engagement process to reduce demands on resource.

However, there are certain dynamics for law firms that have to be carefully thought through before using AI and RPA.

For example, with PI and clinical negligence claims, there is a degree of complexity that goes into deciding whether a prospect has a case that can be won. Each nuance of the situation is relayed by the prospect in a communication style that is specific to them. Some people can be very clear and succinct about the specifics of their case, others less so. All this information must be assessed before a decision is made. If AI is to be used to speed up this process, the complexity of the technology to interpret information properly and make accurate assessment is significant. There is also the human empathy element in what we do. When a case is turned down, delivery of the decision in an emphatic way is important.

For me, this shouldn’t necessarily be a barrier to using technology for assessing the validity of legal cases prior to take on. The use of AI and RPA could lessen the strain on resources in this area. However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that people get in touch with lawyers as a result of incidents that have had a huge impact on their lives. Whilst a technology interface can provide the convenience and efficiency to make the quick decisions that both the lawyer and consumer strive for, is it the human element that really dictates the overall client experience? Do we place more value on the emphatic way in which our cases are dealt with or the speed by which they are processed?

CX can be greatly enhanced by technology, though the context of when and how it is used needs serious thought.

Nigel Stott

Nigel Stott

Hudgell Solicitors
In 2001 Nigel entered the legal IT industry working for Clarion Solicitors, becoming IT Director in 2007 until leaving the firm in 2015. Since then, Nigel has held various roles both in-house and on the supplier side. His main focus is ensuring law firms achieve value from their technology investments and delivering complex IT initiatives. Nigel is currently Head of IT at Hudgell Solicitors and lives in Leeds, West Yorkshire.