We sat down with MinterEllison Acting Head of Legal Operations (Disputes, Competition & Insurance) Naomi Hickey-Humble and Legal Operations Graduate Nathan Whinray to discuss their Client Visitor Safety Bot, which was built on and powered by Josef.
Naomi: As we first started reopening our offices across the country [after the first COVID-19 lockdowns], we were asking visitors and clients to complete a hard-copy form to assess their health status upon arrival to Reception.
But this wasn’t optimal client service. For example, if a client’s answer to a question suggested a barrier to entry, we’d need to make alternate arrangements, which may inconvenience them.
The Bot allowed us to give clients and visitors an opportunity to answer our health and safety questions in advance. This means clients and visitors can now have a conversation with their MinterEllison host before their scheduled visit to make other meeting arrangements, if necessary.
“It’s sustainable, contactless and avoids paper use and it can be scaled.”– Naomi Hickey-Humble, MinterEllison Acting Head of Legal Operations (Disputes, Competition & Insurance)
We then added a QR code into the process, so if someone comes into the office without completing the questionnaire beforehand, they scan the QR code with their mobile device and complete the bot questions at Reception.
Naomi: It deals with our Workplace Health & Safety obligations, addressing the safety of both our front-line receptionists and staff in our offices, as well as our clients. It also aids contact tracing should this become necessary.
It does it in a way which provides a streamlined, efficient experience for clients and visitors. It’s sustainable, contactless and avoids paper use and it can be scaled. We are using the bot across all of our Australian offices and it will continue to be an efficient solution as the number of visitors gradually increase. It ticks a lot of boxes for us.
Nathan: It’s a simple concept: there are only 8 eight questions in the bot. If the client’s answers indicate that they are able to attend our offices without posing a health & safety risk, the bot provides them with an immediate response and they also receive a confirmation email for their records. If, for example, they have a cough or have travelled overseas recently, that’s a red flag, and we advise them to contact their MinterEllison host to discuss other meeting options.
Josef could be stood up quickly, helping MinterEllison respond quickly to COVID-19, says Nathan Whinray, MinterEllison Legal Operations Graduate
Naomi: Josef has enabled a lot of quick wins for us, particularly in this time of COVID-19. For this particular challenge it was all about responding quickly and building a solution which works for everyone. Josef has allowed us to do that.
Nathan: From idea to first prototype was a few days and initial build time was around an hour. One of the key considerations was that a Josef solution could be stood up really quickly. We could then iterate when changes to wording or functionality were required by the team or from the testing and feedback process.
Testing and feedback was key to ensuring the experience was as user-friendly as possible, as was considering the experience of the user outside the bot.
For example, it’s fine for people to go to the URL, answer some questions, and receive an email. However, what if the client hadn’t completed the questions before they arrived at the office? During the testing, we came up with a QR code so visitors could quickly bring up the bot on their own mobile device, receive the approval email while they are standing in Reception, show our staff and take a seat.
We also addressed an issue some visitors experienced in the first days of using the bot on-site where the confirmation email got stuck behind their firewall, or internet speed delayed it’s receipt. Client feedback enabled us to supplement the email with an immediate ‘stamp’ delivered via the bot that the client could show to our reception team.
Nathan: It’s been in place for a few weeks now, and already we’ve had over 500 people use it all over the country.
Naomi: The client feedback so far has been largely positive. Anecdotally, some people have been quite excited – ‘Oh this is nice! A QR code, and it all gets delivered onto my phone!’ – and it was important that it improves our clients’ experience when coming into contact with our firm.
Josef enabled a lot of quick wins during COVID-19, according to Naomi Hickey-Humble, MinterEllison Acting Head of Legal Operations (Disputes, Competition & Insurance)
Naomi: We have a very clear digital roadmap and digital transformation strategy. Our Legal Operations function is an important piece in that, which includes our market-leading Legal Operations Graduate program. We identify optimisation and continuous improvement opportunities in our legal teams and across the firm, and where it’s sensible to do so we make use of a range of products and tools, including Josef, to develop the right solution. But ideas are also generated from within teams and we link into these, empower ownership, and help bring them to life.
The democratisation of Josef is the beauty of the tool: it’s for everyone. We’re about empowering our graduates and lawyers to think with an innovation mindset and bring new ideas to us. We’ve got a lot of users in the firm who love it. Partners, juniors, paralegals; they’ve all had a go.
Nathan: Most of our people at MinterEllison have probably interacted with or built a Josef bot at some point. Josef is unique in the sense that it’s available to everyone in the firm. There are so many exciting use cases for this type of technology across the firm, internally and for our clients.