Numerous conveyancing companies are still reluctant to embrace AI and automation, despite the huge benefits digital transformation can unlock.
Process and workflow automation increases efficiency, reduces cost, minimises error and improves the experience for customers and employees. All of this inevitably leads to increased revenue and profit.
In this blog, we’re looking at some of the opportunities for digitalising people-based tasks, with a specific focus on the legal sector.
When it comes to digitising onboarding forms, organisations must understand that it isn’t just an easy and effective way to increase efficiency. More importantly, it improves client acquisition rates by providing a better customer experience.
Dynamic forms can be created using intuitive software with built-in error-proofing to improve the ‘right first time’ completion rates.
Inputting data manually is time-consuming and often unnecessary. Data can be automatically extracted from physical and digital documents and recorded in the relevant places ready for downstream processes. The original documents can then be categorised, stored or archived.
This reduces the backlog of data input and increases the delivery speed, allowing staff to spend more time providing customer service or carrying out billable work.
Even though many companies already use contract templates in some form, these templates often require a significant amount of time to populate and are susceptible to human error.
Digitalisation allows you to generate contracts and forms using templates with editable fields, and options to include, remove or amend specific clauses with ease. You can pre-determine rules for each contract template to reduce the risk of error and ensure related documents are included when the contract is sent.
Contracts can also be signed electronically, significantly speeding up case processing.
Cloud computing allows you to store and archive data, documents and information securely without taking up storage space on your own IT equipment or in filing cabinets.
You can then perform document extraction from a cloud-based account to an internal repository based on pre-defined criteria. This covers a wide range of legal needs, from checking a single contract to satisfying audit requirements.
Automated complaint handling can include sending automatic responses to clients, categorising complaints and escalating cases to the relevant department or person. Automatic prompts can be sent when a required action has not been completed, ensuring regulatory deadlines are not missed.
Invoicing and payment processing
Automated workflows can easily be set up to include invoice generation and payment processing. Once a specific action has been completed, this will automatically generate the invoice. As soon as payment is recognised, the next action in the sequence will be triggered, making the whole process far more efficient.
Automation and digitalisation benefits
The list above is only a small representation of the many opportunities for digitalisation and automation in the legal sector.
Any process or workflow with defined steps can be automated, whether it’s case management, marketing, sales, HR, finance or customer service.
Those companies that embrace technology and use AI to move toward complete digital transformation reap the benefits.
Increased efficiency and capacity
This is the most obvious benefit for businesses embracing automation. By streamlining and automating repetitive or time-consuming tasks, you become more efficient. As a result, the people who once had to carry out these tasks now have the capacity to do other work – work that makes money.
Reduced waste, errors and cost
When something isn’t done right the first time, it causes unnecessary rework later down the line. Combined with human error, misplaced or incorrectly filed documents, incomplete hand-offs and missed deadlines, the time and financial cost of not automating tasks can be huge. Workflow automation eliminates human error, prompts action and significantly reduces waste, error and cost.
Better customer experience
We live in an increasingly fast-paced world, where instantaneity is becoming the expectation. Through digitisation and automation, you improve accessibility, speed and reliability for customers. A better customer experience gives you a competitive edge and increases customer retention, referral rates and review scores.
More engaged workforce
Redoing work, waiting for approvals, inefficient processes, and mundane admin tasks cause frustrations for employees who want to spend their time doing work they enjoy. Remove these frustrations, and you have happier employees who are more engaged and productive.
Digital transformation helps organisations improve compliance and satisfy regulatory requirements in numerous ways. Reduced errors, greater data protection, less risk of data loss, enhanced cybersecurity, managed backups, meeting SRA reporting obligations – the list goes on.
Higher top and bottom lines
If you increase efficiency, reduce waste and cost, improve customer experience and increase employee engagement, you will inevitably see a positive effect on your top and bottom lines, with increased revenue and profit.
A lot of businesses take a big jump into the digital world hoping they find the holy grail of technologies that will quickly transform how they operate.
However, the importance of using Lean methodologies first cannot be stressed enough. Lean enables businesses to conduct deep process analysis, simplify tasks, increase workflow and reduce time spent on wasteful non-value adding activities.
Colin McArdle is founder and Managing Partner of Time Consulting Group and has worked with conveyancing organisations to develop their operational efficiency. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB) with deep expertise in digital transformation, operational excellence and business process re-engineering. He has developed a unique approach to finding and unlocking capacity for conveyancers by using a combination of task simplification, digitalisation, operating model redesign and operational management best practice.