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Kris Clark, Product and Operations, Tracy Burtwell, Sales Director and Katriona O’Hare, Customer Experience Manager, SearchFlow
Industry View from
If you’ve ever bought a property, you’ll understand just how complex the process can be. The government has, however, pledged to improve the way transactions are handled, and there is a lot of work happening behind the scenes in the industry to make this a reality.
Consumer expectation has changed, and in today’s digital world, they expect to be able to monitor property transactions in real time, access quotes for legal services online at any time, or contact agents or solicitors when convenient to them. This is creating pressure on law firms to provide a more modernised service.
With this in mind, the way solicitors and conveyancers manage property search requirements is also changing, and they are turning to technology to help streamline the process. At SearchFlow, for example, a significant transformation programme has been undertaken, resulting in a new online ordering platform that responds to the changing times.
Led by Kris Clark, SearchFlow’s former Head of Product and Interim Head of Operations – who has since transitioned to Head of AI for SearchFlow’s parent company – the programme focused on bringing the service model in line with the product roadmap, creating opportunities to re-engineer processes and to run a leaner digital-by-default customer operation. The aim of this was to speed-up and simplify the ordering and delivery of property searches for solicitors, using advanced mapping and an intuitive dashboard.
“SearchFlow is a complex business, working behind the scenes in what is a very busy, time-pressured housing transaction market,” Clark explains. “Yet it provides over one million searches and legal reports every year, supporting around one in every four property transactions.
“By the very nature of property transactions, SearchFlow needs to act quickly to minimise any delays in the process.”
The results of the transformational programme has led to the firm winning two UK Customer Experience Awards: a gold award for Best Contact Centre – Small, and silver in the Transforming the Customer Experience category.
“Outwardly, things seemed okay, but when we scratched below the service we found our team was struggling to keep up with a host of issues resulting in a backlog of work,” continues Clark. “We recognised that we needed to relieve pressure on the team and create a solution that would prevent issues from reoccurring.”
A new search ordering platform has launched that gives SearchFlow’s customers full visibility of transactions online. Case progression can be tracked with hands-on support from the team.
Katriona O’Hare, Customer Experience Manager, adds: “Our service delivery model now aligns to market segments – this gives everyone direct ownership and responsibility for specific actions. The service is more seamless and streamlined. There are no gaps, everyone is aware of their role and we have a motivated team as a result.
“Utilising Microsoft Power BI to bring together all our different inboxes, we created dashboards that provide real-time performance management. We can monitor orders, track KPIs and benchmark all activities against SLAs, even using our mobile phones.
“Now, we go home every day with the satisfaction that all work queues are cleared, we’ve hit KPIs and the board is showing green.”
Tracy Burtwell, SearchFlow’s Sales Director, confirms: “I think it is fair to say we transformed the customer experience from a reactive call centre to a proactive order fulfilment model. Our online ordering platform has the back-up of exceptional customer care from the team and we have empowered staff by reducing areas of responsibility and providing training to improve overall competency and retention. Most importantly, it is delivering what our customers need – the right search, at the right time.”
SearchFlow is now spending 40 per cent less time on support calls, responds to emails faster, and internal escalations have reduced by 80 per cent.
“To win two UK Customer Experience awards is an achievement we are all proud of,” Burtwell concludes. “It recognises our efforts in transforming our approach, using technology, people and better processes.”
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