Image of the award winners

Interview with Customer Service Champion Award 2022 Winners

As we prepare for the upcoming British Wills and Probate Awards, scheduled for October 11th 2023, we had the opportunity to speak with Simpson Solicitors, last year’s winners of the Exizent sponsored Customer Service Champion Award.

We spoke with Michelle Baden-Daintree, Associate Director, to learn about the significance of winning the award for her and her team, as well as why you should consider entering this year!

Deadline for this years award entries is July 7th, so make sure to submit yours without delay.

  1. As a winner of the Customer Service Champion award, what advice would you give to those who are interested in entering the award category in the future?

We know that everyone in the industry is just like us, trying to get through the day-to-day work, with a big caseload and unprecedented demand, and probably feeling too busy to take on anything additional but it’s so important not to forget the work that we do and what underpins it – the people we help each day.

Although many of us can’t see the wood for the trees at the moment, actually please don’t forget you’re helping every single person you meet and behind them their immediate family and probably other families too, so with that in mind it’s important to recognise the work we are all doing during a challenging busy time!

It’s so important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The British Wills and Probate Awards allows exactly that to happen, it’s the industry’s moment of celebration and encouragement to keep on going, in what’s been a difficult year I think for the industry as a whole and certainly for me personally it’s a definite highlight to look forward to with everyone in the same boat.

  1. What do you think the judges are looking for in a customer service champion, and how can applicants demonstrate these qualities?

The judges will be very aware of what the industry has faced during the last year and the HIGH demands many of us are experiencing. The resource struggle is an issue, our industry isn’t seen as the ‘sexy’ area of law and with that, students are encouraged into more corporate and commercial areas of law, meaning the demand on private client lawyers is higher than ever.

The biggest challenge therefore is in keeping the service standards high whilst completing the admin and momentum going for clients to act swiftly. For example, we’re experiencing a high number of end-of-life wills and each case is special in their own way and sad for everyone involved. We know we’re busy and probably at capacity, but we don’t want to turn anyone away, especially in these circumstances where they need the will in place.  We want to help everyone, especially at their most vulnerable time, if that means evenings or weekend appointments, as a team we make sure we can offer that. That said we are always looking out for our team to make sure they only take on work they have capacity for so we can look after their own wellbeing too.

Judges will be keen to see lawyers balancing client needs and relevant timescales with resources and maintaining high standards. Giving clients a good service in a timely fashion. Especially as more clients have more urgent needs and appear to be more anxious now than ever to get things in place. It is VITAL to give clients time and still balance the other things appropriately. Clients shouldn’t ever feel we don’t have time for them or that we are too busy to take their call or call them back and they are just another matter. If you can demonstrate that this runs through your team, you should be in very a good position to enter!

It’s really about showing that you can look after your clients, provide a high-quality service and STILL be kind and empathetic to their individual needs making sure they feel unhurried, safe and can go at a pace suitable for them without feeling rushed.

  1. What did it mean to Simpsons Solicitors to win the Customer Service Champion award?

Wow- having only been going for about nine years in Bristol (slightly longer in the Derby area) and to be shortlisted against some of the biggest names in the industry is quite a thing, let alone actually winning. Were still buzzing.  It’s a huge public thank you to our entire Bristol and Derby teams who are key in the operational aspects of the business and are completely united and devoted in our mission to help families seek clarity and peace of mind.

We’re really lucky as a firm that each and every single member of our team loves what they do, we all feel it’s an honour to help a family and that filters through to our clients. I recently had a conversation with a client where they told me they have never felt rushed or that we were reading from a script, and that we are genuinely there for them to answer any questions or just to listen. ‘Human’ and ‘normal’ are words that crop up often in conversations! That’s really good to hear as when you’re busy the danger is making a client feel rushed or on a clock and it’s heart-warming to know that our clients never feel that. That’s a huge win for me.

  1. Has winning the award changed anything for your practice?

Yes, it definitely has!

It’s such a prestigious award.  Winning the Customer Service Champion Award is a moment we will truly never forget. Clients are at the heart of everything we do and to be recognised for that is testament to the commitment and the passion that all our teams from front of house, admin, CET, finance, and operations, put into every single client.  It really is a collective effort not just the client facing advisors that deserve this too.

We use the BWAP winners badge across our materials such as emails, appointment letters, editorials and for people who read these and see us, it’s a glowing endorsement of the standard of service we provide to our clients so for any nervous people it helps give peace of mind they will be looked after and encourages people to cross our threshold, who may not otherwise do so or not know where to go to take advice.

  1. Finally, what message do you have for anyone considering applying for the customer service champion award this year?

Absolutely do it. The recognition does not go away, you still have the win for years to come and with it a level of service your clients will be expecting.

If you were to ask a younger me what my dream job would be I can hand on heart say I’m doing it right now. But had you told me that we would have won the British Wills and Probate Awards for doing what I love all day, every day – I’d have thought you were nuts! Just goes to show anyone who gives good service and can demonstrate that, should enter as I didn’t think we would end up taking the award! I think the photos probably captured my shock nicely haha!

Some client stories are sad, and some days you have to really focus on how you’re helping people often at very difficult times in their lives and so to be recognised by the industry and to be seen as going above and beyond is really quite special. It gives you that drive to continue delivering the high service levels to your clients.

As Customer Service Champions, we are aware that people expect a high level of customer service from us, it’s on our leaflets, it’s on our walls, we are proud to show we have been recognised for caring. Having won last year we haven’t sat still, we are still striving to raise our standards higher to continue to give the best client journey we can, given the sensitive nature of the work we do. It really is a dream accolade and we’re very lucky to have won. Good luck to all this year’s entries!

This article was submitted to be published by Exizent as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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