Panel Interview: True Solicitors

"The important thing is that we're asking the right questions and helping the caller"

- Caroline Houghton, operations manager at True Solicitors


True Solicitors is a multi-office firm of a size where the number of inbound enquiries means it needs to have a dedicated first response team.

Newcastle-based operations manager Caroline Houghton, who also heads the RTA claims portal team, says the process has evolved considerably in her 16 years with the firm.

Putting training into action

The first response team has been trained on how best to engage with clients, and is regularly monitored to ensure that its members are putting that training into action.

That means she and other managers regularly listen to recordings of calls, especially those where clients don’t want to use them.

“Do we ask ‘why’? Yes, if we can get more information on what’s stopping them wishing to engage with us, you can sometimes re-engage with them. The important thing is that we’re asking the right questions and helping the caller.”

Generally, Caroline says, callers do not insist on speaking to a fee-earner, which is a testament to the training and ability of the first response team – but if they do, or the team member thinks it would in any case be a good idea in the circumstances, then that will be accommodated.

Decision-making and targets

What the first response team does not do is make the decision to take a case – that is for her, the managers and partners to do within 24 hours, but the firm keeps in contact with the client during that time.

“The first response team has basic criteria of what would be rejected at the initial call – for example a very slight injury, a claim where the limitation period has expired etc. Following completion of the call, the client is then informed that we will be back in touch to advise the next step. 

“We would never offer the information to the client that the case will be reviewed to potentially reject it – that would not be sensible from a commercial point of view. If the client asks the specific question, then they are advised a member of staff with more experience in the field will assess the case and return within the following 24 hours.”

All web enquiries, meanwhile, are forwarded to the first response team manager and a partner. During working hours, the target is to respond within half an hour.

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