Brisbane-based McCarthy Durie Lawyers (MDL) has reported significant year-on-year staff and customer retention levels following its rollout of Avaya Cloud Office® by RingCentral. With access to Avaya (NYSE: AVYA) technology, the organization has also safeguarded itself against potential compliance and security issues and laid the groundwork for richer access to local legal services in regional Queensland.
Founded in 1978, MDL is a law firm with 70 employees that offers a range of legal services spanning conveyancing, property, commercial, and litigation via its two Brisbane offices. According to CEO Shane McCarthy, the organization’s long-standing reputation is fuelled by its personal approach towards clients and partners. In 2020, however, this came under threat.
“Our team is known for being contactable and able to quickly resolve our client’s issues, which is critical when it comes to time-sensitive legal settlements,” he said. “However, in 2020 the patchwork of communication systems we had in place was proving unreliable, and we lost around one day per month to the phone system is down. Our team would revert to unsophisticated workarounds, but ultimately a lot of calls died or didn’t go anywhere, meaning we lost clients.”
The need to remedy service availability, along with enabling hybrid work arrangements in a way that balanced staff productivity and wellbeing, was MDL’s catalyst for change. MDL rolled out the cloud-based Avaya Cloud Office platform, giving staff access to ‘office in a pocket’ capabilities, so they can call, message, meet, and video conference within one environment and across physical locations. McCarthy said staff productivity has now improved significantly, reversing negative customer sentiment.
“Our lawyers have been much more productive and collaborative. They no longer feel compelled to chew into their personal time to make up the hours lost to technical shortcomings, and can better work in a way that suits their life,” said McCarthy. “The issues with the previous system are gone, and we no longer experience downtime with our phone systems.
“Staff have fully taken advantage of the messaging and video-calling functions to support each other with day-to-day activities. This has boosted morale and increased service availability because the reduced number of internal calls means clients can get through to our staff much quicker. Since the start of our transformation, the improved quality of work life has seen our staff attrition rate fall to a record low, and our spend per client increase in tandem.”
McCarthy said Avaya Cloud Office helps the law firm remain compliant and avoid security concerns pertaining to clients’ personal information, as well as ensuring continuity of service should there be unforeseen disruptions or team members leave the company.
“We’ve seen great adoption of the chat function and are very comfortable that it’s happening through an approved platform. Employees aren’t tempted to resort to consumer apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, and other third-party tools, ensuring sensitive client information remains within a protected environment to prevent any intended or unintended compliance breaches,” he said.
“We’ve also got assurance when it comes to the continuity of services. For example, when an employee who has been using their own device for client communication departs from MDL, there’s a risk they’ll take the clients and sensitive information with them. With this contained within the Avaya Cloud Office app, an appropriate fence is put around the information and we can maintain continuity of the client relationship.”
Bringing local legal services to regional Queensland
McCarthy said access to a reliable, centralized communication system has given MDL the confidence to bring city-quality legal expertise to regional communities around Queensland.
“People across the state expect and deserve a Brisbane-quality law firm, which means they have to spend time and money traveling to the city for meetings,” he said. “Avaya Cloud Office enables us to provide depth of expertise to clients no matter where they are, so those companies and individuals aren’t limited to the services of smaller law firms physical near them. Whenever the staff in these regions require expertise or resources to handle additional cases, we can collaborate and share the load across the business.”
MDL implemented Avaya Cloud Office with consultation and support from cloud communications firm and Avaya partner, Captivo, which completed the system integration over four months.
Peter Nejaim, Director at Captivo Australia said: “Relationships between legal professionals and clients are based on trust and reliability, which means the communication channels underpinning these pillars need to work on time, every time. Our work with MDL has allowed the team to quickly remedy the previous gaps, yielding significant improvements in service delivery, and building the foundation for more personalised customer experiences in the future.”
Jeremy Paton, Team Engagement Solutions Lead Asia-Pacific (APAC) at Avaya, said: “Some of the biggest challenges small businesses are facing across Australia is attracting and retaining customers and staff. MDL astutely tapped into the fact that this is contingent on understanding and elevating their interactions and experiences with your brand. The MDL story is another example of how access to reliable technology results in more productive employees and satisfied customers, and we’re keen to see where this solid digital backbone takes them next.”