How caseloads impact the working life of a case manager

There is no denying that conveyancers have had a tough time of it over the past two or three years. The pandemic and the sudden introduction of the stamp duty holidays put many case managers and support staff under so much pressure that many left the industry – and customer service suffered as a result.

For many years, it has been the rhetoric of the industry that we need to speed up conveyancing times, but to do that something has to change and the interaction of case managers with customers is one of the keys to that. However, if case managers are feeling under pressure then they will hardly be able to give their best to the customer.

This has led to some of us, such as ONP, reviewing the whole process by surveying customers, intermediaries, and case managers themselves. The biggest standout from this is that, as an industry, we have to go back to basics. Case managers are at the heart of the process: they are key to communication with the customer, the speed of the transaction and, ultimately, to the levels of customer satisfaction.

We all need good case managers in order for the industry to thrive, but for that to happen it needs to be a career of choice and that means they need to be treated correctly.

The demands placed on case managers, and the size of their caseloads, can significantly impact their working life and overall wellbeing. It is therefore essential to explore ways to create a better working environment for case managers, one that prioritises their mental health, fosters productivity, and enhances client satisfaction.

Maintaining manageable caseloads is crucial for case managers to deliver quality service and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Setting manageable caseload limits is therefore key. At ONP, for example, we’ve now reduced caseloads by 30%. We have found that introducing caseload limits that are below industry standards allows case managers to provide unparalleled attention to detail, prompt communication with clients, and comprehensive support throughout the process. By establishing caseloads that prioritise quality over quantity, we believe that conveyancing firms can enable case managers to excel in their roles.

However, we also need to work smart and enable technology to do the heavy lifting where possible, to allow the case manager to do what they do best and enable that personal interaction. Adopting cutting-edge technology can streamline operations and empower case managers to work more efficiently. Digitising core back-end processes not only increases speed and accuracy, but also frees up valuable time to focus on client care. By leveraging technology to automate routine tasks and enhance communication channels, firms can reduce administrative burdens and create a more seamless working environment.

Personal development is also key. Most people want to know they have a career path and room to grow. Therefore, investing in the growth and development of all staff is crucial for their success and overall job satisfaction. Establishing clear career pathways, providing continuous learning opportunities, and offering professional development programmes demonstrate a commitment to the well-being and advancement of conveyancers. These initiatives not only contribute to the retention of top talent, but also foster a culture of continuous improvement within the firm.

It is not always easy to implement all of these changes while also ensuring productivity as a firm remains high and profitability remains sound. For firms with enough scale to do so, it may therefore be worth employing a dedicated capacity planning function to really study and improve workflow management. By evaluating processes, considering case manager training and preparedness, and assessing overall workload capacity, the capacity planning manager should be able to optimise resource allocation. This strategic approach should help prevent staff burnout, ensure client needs are met, while maintaining a healthy work environment.

The impact of these changes should be undeniably positive, yielding remarkable outcomes. Any firm adopting such an approach should see customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) soar, and any customer complaints should be significantly reduced, which not only helps the firm implementing it, but the reputation of conveyancers in general.

From our experience at ONP, the true significance lies in the profound effect on the well-being of team members. Case managers report decreased stress levels, heightened productivity, and improved workload management, creating an optimal work environment for their success.

It is our responsibility to prioritise the well-being and effectiveness of the brilliant people we hire by creating optimal working environments.

By championing these principles, firms can shape the future of case management and contribute to the advancement of the conveyancing industry.

One Response

  1. Surely a qualified lawyer should be at the heart of a transaction? Someone properly and adequately trained who can give good advise, weigh up a situation and act appropriately?

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