Alistair Howard, Finance Director at Lodders Solicitors describes how essential Katchr has become to the firm in the 2 years they have been a customer.
Here’s what he had to say in an interview with our Head of Customer Success, Samantha Holden.
Some of the highlights:
Sam: How essential has Katchr become to your business in the last 2 years?
Alistair: It is unimaginable how far we have come to be honest. Two and a half years ago, yes there was data available but I did feel as though I was working in a vacuum as far as having something truly available to make some informed decisions.
Just at the moment in the current crisis that we’re facing with covid-19, there has never been a more important time for the management team to be really on top of the numbers and the performance of the firm.
We use something that we call the ABC analysis, which is Activity, Billing and Cash: three of the fundamental key performance measures in a law firm, and the front page, that home page on Katchr, provides me with everything I need for ABC. I start at the firm level, see how we are doing every morning, and then start drilling down to the practice groups, and if needs be right down to the fee earners.
It enables me to then give a call to a head of department to say “trends are tailing off a bit here. Is it because you’ve got a problem, is it because staff are unwell under the current situation, is it because they are really struggling to work effectively and efficiently at home? And we’ve all obviously had to adapt to that. Or is it actually a real downturn in the market?” So that we can respond to that and act accordingly.
And then its really by having that information at your fingertips, that enables you to look at one set of numbers, drill down and get to the bottom of the problem.
I do often find that as you get more and more information, what it creates is more questions, but I know I can answer those questions with just another click, or two clicks, and then you understand the cause of any changes or trends in those numbers.
The way we rolled Katchr out to the fee earners was in a piecemeal approach. We didn’t force it on anybody. It didn’t take very long for fee earners to say “hold on, I’d like a bit of that”. So there was actually the requirement, or the desire, for them to have that information, rather than it being thrust upon them.
It is a change to look at your performance on a self-service approach as opposed to receiving monthly reports, but when you see how valuable and how easy it is to access your stats, and those of your team, then the appetite was there, and they wanted it, so I was very happy to train them up.
So yes, a very good uptake.
Sam: What would you say to anyone considering working with Katchr?
Alistair: Two years ago we made the move to have Katchr installed at Lodders, and the driver for me personally was about the information I had available at the time. Did it actually satisfy my requirements.
Some of the things I was facing at the time was: I had some reports but they were very slow to run; could I look at more than one thing at a time? No, I had to run separate reports.
Could I export those reports to Excel? You know, finance directors like to play around with numbers, however much is available, yes you do like to download and start manipulating some of them. I couldn’t do that.
The reporting that we had previously, promoted a paper-based reporting system, and we were wanting to move away from that and have more electronic document management.
The board were asking me questions that I couldn’t really answer immediately. It used to take me a long time and to do a lot of analysis to be able to answer those to the sort of level of quality that I wanted to do.
And there was a time when a previous boss of mine said “Alistair, I want information, I don’t want data” and I really did see that’s all I could provide using the old system. And so when I saw a demonstration of Katchr, just how much information was available, to enable us to make informed decisions about performance of practice groups, teams, the firm as a whole, it was a no-brainer really.
Just to be able to have something that was very visual for a user group that generally are not numerically literate – they are very literate, but not numerically literate sometimes,. So to have graphical images, to display trends in performance was just fantastic.
So I would say, if you are in two minds, think about what you’ve got, is it addressing your needs? Have a look at what Katchr can offer, and I think you will find that will be able to address all your needs.
Sam: How has Katchr supported the firm’s opportunity to maintain and improve client service?
Alistair: That’s a really interesting point because I think, as you say, a high level of service is just so important to us and it really is key. We really want to maintain that and ideally improve on it where we can.
And so I think something like Katchr that enables us to actually focus on the client, rather than the back office information, is just so valuable to us.
As an example, like many other law firms we are Lexcel accredited and there are many things we need to look after in the background; make sure we are on top of those statistics. Whether it is about the number of matters that we have open even though we have completed that matter, have we actually closed those matters on time?
Just to have a dashboard that enables us to see very quickly, real time, where are we. The fee earners and secretarial support team can look at that on a daily basis, make sure they are on top of that so that they don’t need to worry, it’s not building up and becoming a problem. It leaves the fee earners to focus on what is important – delivering that client service to our clients. Because as I say at the end of the day that is the most important thing.