How We Survived Lockdown (And How We Will Do It Again) 2 Nov 2020
Ben Davidson, Managing Director
On 23rd March 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK would go in to a local lockdown, with communities having to stay indoors and businesses closing their doors. This week, Boris has announced similar measures to try and manage the second wave of the Coronavirus.
At Simply Conveyancing, we were prepared for the first lockdown and even more prepared for the second one. We want to take this opportunity to explain how we survived the first lockdown and how we will do it again.
In the weeks leading to the national lockdown in March, we began preparing for worst case scenarios. As a technologically driven and advanced organisation, we already had many of the IT infrastructures in place to move all of our colleagues from an office to a home location. The majority of our lawyers and their assistants already had laptops, our servers were prepared and our systems were developed and built to provide optimum communication to our clients and agents; so no service levels would be effected with this substantial move. A crisis plan was created, additional equipment such as printers, scanners, computer screens and IT hardware was purchased. As a businesses, we knew exactly where every member of staff in our organisation would be working and what individual pieces of equipment everyone would need.
At Simply, we are committed to keeping our clients safe from cybercrime and we had already passed Cyber Essentials Plus the previous year; ensuring that no matter where our colleagues worked, they and our clients would be protected and safe from cyber-crime.
As Covid-19 cases rose, I took the decision to close our London branch in Islington. Colleagues moved their working lives to their homes and the switch was instantaneous. Our systems are so advanced and robust that a lawyer simply needed to plug a cable in to their router and they would have access to our internal systems, phone lines and IT platforms. It was as simple as switching a switch. All 80 London colleagues were working from home within a few hours.
Milton Keynes and finally Daventry were moved to home working by the end of that week and it was thanks to preparation and the resilience of our incredible colleagues, that the move to home working was a complete success.
On the announcement of a local lockdown, we knew that clients’ circumstances would change. We therefore contacted every client who had already exchanged prior to the announcement and triaged them – categorising them from 1 to 10; 1 being “move on hold” and 10 being “ready to move”. We could therefore focus our efforts and attention on those clients who we knew wanted and had the intention to move home, despite the lockdown.
Our clients were offered a suite of options when it came to their home move, with Simultaneous Exchanges and Completions (where the property exchanges and completes on the same day), long stop completions (where the property exchanges but the completion date is set for an agreed period of time; usually several weeks to months down the line) and conveyancing riders (clauses in contracts that had agreed terms should the property sale/purchase fall through due to Covid). No matter what the circumstance, our clients were given all the options so they could weigh up what the best course of action would be for their situation.
The key to our success in lockdown was communication to clients, agents and colleagues; ensuring that everyone knew exactly what was happening, by who and when.
Providing clients with all the information they needed and reassuring them in a scary and unnerving time. We are conveyancers – we deal with similar tricky problems every day and it is our job to manage these problems so our clients have a stress free move. Our exceptional service to our clients meant that throughout lockdown we received nothing but 5 star reviews on our Trustpilot and Feefo review pages.
Teams were able to socialise and communicate with each other via Zoom meetings and our investment in to Facebook Workplace. As our internal phone network was able to work in our colleagues homes, there was no disruption to communication with agents and clients and we continued to get people moving home which was an incredible achievement.
We retained all of our colleagues throughout lockdown – and we continue to thrive. We increased the number of lawyers we have at Simply by 45%; all having their IT equipment delivered and installed to their homes around the country, and their inductions taking place virtually. We continue to recruit, further expanding our Daventry, Milton Keynes, London and Home Working teams (all of which are currently working remotely).
We survived the first lockdown and we will survive this one. We are even better prepared. Our IT systems continue to be robust and safe. We are recruiting more lawyers and taking on more files than ever before. Your clients and your pipeline are safe and secure with us.
Can you say the same thing about your current conveyancer? If the answer is no, then why not have a chat with us? You can visit our website to find out more about what makes us different at Simply and if you like what you see, why not get in touch and we can arrange a Zoom meeting to discuss our services further. There is no obligation, no contracts to sign and upon your first completion, we will thank you with a bottle of Bottega. You can email our Sales and Marketing Director, Vicky Quinn-Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or email us at email@example.com to book your appointment.
Think fast. Think Future. Think Simply.