McKeowns is one of the UK’s leading claimant personal injury practices, employing 120 staff at its offices in St Albans, Milton Keynes, Newry, Belfast and Omagh. The firm was founded by Diarmuid McKeown and throughout its history has served an impressively full range of clients, from the ‘man on the street’ through to large institutions such as RAC and Endsleigh Insurance.
Chris Stevens, Head of Operations at McKeowns, talks us through the firm’s experience of Eclipse and Proclaim.
McKeowns has been a client of Eclipse for around 20 years, and we are very proud to be the second firm that adopted an Eclipse case management system. Diarmuid first became aware of Eclipse through an introduction from Peter Scott of Scott Rees Solicitors, who had just opened a branch office in Watford. After researching the other systems on the market at the time, he was extremely impressed by what Eclipse could offer.
We duly implemented Eclipse’s ‘Chase’ (as it was called) system many moons ago, and 20 years on here we are using Eclipse’s current generation of software, Proclaim. The ease of use of Eclipse’s systems has always been the key factor for us, and the way in which we can shape our day-to-day business processes around the software is critical.
Eclipse has always been extremely proactive in terms of system tailoring and taking onboard client suggestions. We have been delighted to see several of our suggestions implemented within the current version of Proclaim, and it is this level of collaboration that brings a great deal of value to our relationship.
As the practice’s leader and Managing Partner, Diarmuid McKeown has always been very pro-IT and realises that effective use can really help in providing the very best levels of efficiency and customer service. For McKeowns, it is all about what we term the ‘client journey’, and it is this ethos that must always be at the forefront of what we do.
Proclaim’s ‘workflow’ toolkit means that we can automate all non-value adding procedures, reducing the time that would otherwise be spent on things like manual data entry, standard document creation, and so on. Our fee earners can use their time more wisely, and can manage higher volumes of cases with absolutely no dip in standards. In our experience, it’s the administrative things that wear solicitors down, so the ability to automate these tasks results in two big wins – greater accuracy and happier staff!
Proclaim includes its own toolkits to tailor and configure pretty much any element of the system; be it screen appearance, data fields, reports, workflow steps, and so on. This built-in flexibility provides a system that continues to work around our fee earners and business needs – not vice versa. As just a small example, fee earners do not need to update our legal expense providers at key milestones in the claim; Proclaim does this automatically for them (via the channel of their choice, e.g. email, fax, etc).
We are very proud of the system we have in place and how we have tailored it to our needs. Proclaim stands out as truly future-proof, and gives us the confidence that any developments we have planned on the horizon can be catered for.
Data intelligence and the ability to analyse trends is of vital importance to us. In our sector, there is a strong need to manage high volumes at a relatively low ‘margin per case’. We have therefore invested time tailoring Proclaim to enable us to measure performance and build in customer service targets.
Proclaim’s inbuilt automation features really trim administrative work and keep our ‘cost per case’ low. But it’s not just about cost cutting, we have to ensure that service levels remain impeccable – this is Diarmuid’s key ethos and is of course filtered throughout the entire organisation. To this end, we have used Proclaim’s integrated ‘Report Writer’ toolset to create a library of management reports that tell us everything we need to know about the business. These do not just relate to the direct running of cases, we can – for example – actively monitor staff who are perhaps not being as efficient with electronic communications as they should be.
Our exciting new marketing venture, Accident Hero (www.accidenthero.co.uk) is proving testament to the diversity of Proclaim and the information it can provide for us. In analysing our TV marketing campaigns we can drill down into response detail to track which campaigns are proving successful, and which ones need to be configured or reconsidered. We are able to leave no stone unturned!
Better Business Relationships
Because we deal with volume caseloads, many of our files are received directly from claim referrers and business partners. Rather than having staff manually key in new claim data (which is time-consuming, expensive, and prone to error), we utilise Proclaim’s import / export facilities.
A batch of several hundred (or thousand) cases can be imported automatically, subject to pre-defined checks, and full cases are created in seconds with all relevant fields and data completed. No manual intervention is required. When it comes to ‘export’, we can arrange for files to be drafted for costs by exporting the details electronically and instantaneously, meaning no printing expense and no postal delays. These automatic links keep our business partners happy (who doesn’t like a fast and seamless transfer of information?) and enable our fee earners to get on and do what they do best.
We have some exciting developments planned to further improve our client journey, and we see Proclaim as absolutely integral to the ongoing success of our practice.