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To think this isn't on and I have no choice but to leave

136 replies

CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 07:49

I work in a firm of a solicitors handling conveyancing matters.

My company around a year ago introduced a phone system which to me is just completely ridiculous.

Essentially they have scrapped direct dials and put us all in a pool where all calls just bounce to various people in the office.

Very rarely these calls relate to a matter you are personally dealing with however we are expected to assist by looking on the system at whichever matter the caller is asking about which interrupts your own matters.

At first it was manageable. However, they have expanded so rapidly that I am taking nearly 70 calls a day on matters which have nothing to do with me.

It's not about feeling that this is below me or anything like that. But I find it really hard to work on my own things whilst being constantly interrupted to deal with other people's matters. Add to that the fact we are now absolutely berated if we don't answer all calls to our phone and have even started receiving emails to say 'CakeandTea you have been away from your desk for 15 minutes can you explain why and go back in the phone pool please'.

I am trying to run my own cases and manage my own clients expectations and do actual legal work which takes concentration. I'm making mistakes and missing things because of this and it's causing me stress.

However, they will not see it. There has been a surge of people handing in their notices recently and one of the management essentially told another member of staff that they will happily 'manage people out if they don't like how we do things'.

AIBU to think this is not an efficient way to run a business or a fair way to treat your staff. I've been loyal to this place for a long time but I feel like they have changed their attitude towards us so drastically recently.

OP posts:
FrazzyAndFrumpled · 16/10/2018 07:51

YANBU, that’s ridiculous. Even in call centres you’re usually given time off the phones to work through your case load. Have you tried talking quite bluntly to your manager, or even their manager, about how it’s affecting you and that you’re considering leaving?

Ignoramusgiganticus · 16/10/2018 07:51

Yes, I'd start looking straight away.

CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 07:54

FrazzyAndFrumpled yes I've spoken to my immediate supervisor who agrees but can't help as the decision comes from higher up and I've also spoken to our head of department asking how they can essentially change my job role. I'm told that they can do that if it fits with 'business needs'.

I just don't understand. Clients don't like it at all. They can never reach who they want to speak with and wrong updates are given all the time due to systems not being properly updated by the person dealing etc... It's an absolute shambles and I don't understand how they can't see it.

It makes me worried that it's just me if they really can't see how silly it is.

OP posts:
Atalune · 16/10/2018 07:55

You could try and speak to the manager about it but it sounds like their mind is made up.

I would log all the disruptions and how is adversely affects your work and come at it from the angel of needing further help/training?

Also can you opt out of the pool for short slots of time when you have something complicated to work on?

If you can afford to leave, then leave. I would wait until you have something else set up first.

kalinkafoxtrot45 · 16/10/2018 07:55

Absolutely idiotic way to run a legal office. Yes, I’d start looking for another position.

Girlsnightin · 16/10/2018 07:55

Do you think others are also taking their fair share of calls? 70 makes it sound like you are in an inbound call centre! There are many tricks to avoid calls. I'd ask mgr if the call distribution is fair.

Ohheyyy · 16/10/2018 07:57

I'd start looking elsewhere. No one like a conveyancers like that, they don't work for anyone other than the person who owns the business who takes on too much work for their staff to handle.

Pigsears · 16/10/2018 08:00

This sounds like another recent thread about a lady in a different type of office. People slated her on here. She was in admin. You aren't. I wonder if that is having an impact on the reaction of readers?

ivykaty44 · 16/10/2018 08:00

Leave, it’s not a case of not liking or the system not working but customers leaving will damage the business and you don’t want to be associated with a failing business

TheFatberg · 16/10/2018 08:01

Could you suggest that some clients complain? They might take it seriously from them.

AlexaShutUp · 16/10/2018 08:02

Aren't you the same poster who resigned by text because you thought that answering the phones was the receptionist's job and therefore "beneath you"? The circumstances sound virtually identical.

If it's you, you have already resigned from your role and it's time to move on to the next thing - give your CV a quick polish and start looking for another job.

LadyLaSnack · 16/10/2018 08:02

There was a not altogether dissimilar thread about this yesterday in a surveyor’s office. The OP felt strongly enough about it to leave:

CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:04

Apparently it came about because we were allowing too many calls to go to voicemail when we had direct dials. So now they've scrapped voicemail too so the calls bounce around until someone answers.

It's all calls as well so clients, estate agents, other Solicitors, lenders etc... They get quite frustrated when they speak to a new person all the time.

I can't speak for everyone but I think 50-70 is the norm for most of the people I speak with. Which on your own matters may be manageable but when you're having to come out of what your doing, put down that lease you've been trying to read through for an hour etc... To look up someone else's matter to update someone you've never spoken to it's very very disruptive and I can sometimes be getting another call before I've even properly got back into what I'm doing.

They have a system that monitors how many you take and how many you miss, how long you're away from your desk etc... So it all gets brought up if you miss too many or step away from your desk for more than ten minutes.

Admittedly I've started replying with a bit of sarcasm saying I was in the toilet having a shit (not those actual words but you see what I mean!) and things of that sort. But I've got so fed up of being watched like big brother! I'm an adult professional woman, I don't want someone monitoring how long I'm in the bog for!

They started asking us to set our phones to certain codes if we were getting up i.e. 'comfort break' for the toilet. We all refused.

OP posts:
CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:05

I did see that other thread, it's not me but it did make me write this one as I saw some similar things there.

I have definitely not resigned via text or anything like that.

OP posts:
GinIsIn · 16/10/2018 08:06

When you say you work in conveyancing matters, is that in an admin capacity?

CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:07

TheFatberg we get told that complaints are not our responsibility and to pass them to management if we can't handle.

OP posts:
CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:08

FenellaMaxwellsPony no, I'm not a solicitor but I run my own conveyancing matters. Or I am a 'fee earner' in other words.

OP posts:
DidIEatThat · 16/10/2018 08:11

As a client, that sounds stupid. If I called your office I'd expect the number provided to a) go through to reception who'd direct my call, with no comment on my case. Or b) go through to my actual solicitor. Or c) their assistant / secretary who could give me a non complex update or pass on a message for me.

I can't imagine a solicitors work is a quick 5 min email or outbound call to resolve after every phone call. It sounds like a call centre not a solicitors office.

Why have they put in place? Has there been clients complaining that their solicitor is never free to take their call, so now they have a "everyone answers everything" policy.

Also are all your colleagues taking 70 calls a day. How are any of you getting any work done? I don't even take 70 and I work in a call centre.

JW13 · 16/10/2018 08:12

As you say you're doing legal work I presume you're a solicitor or conveyancer/legal exec. As a solicitor I say run for the hills! There's no way you can focus on drafting documents when you're stopping and starting to answer the phone on matters you aren't even working on! Your management are crazy and it's a negligence claim waiting to happen. I wouldn't want you working on my property transaction in those circumstances! I'm relatively senior and will answer colleagues phones and take messages if they're away from their desk (I don't think it's beneath me!) but I couldn't do it 50-70 times a day. I'd get nothing done and I'm too busy as it is. Your bosses are completely unreasonable.

LittleBookofCalm · 16/10/2018 08:13

Can you take note of how many calls you receive and the result and the time?

ButtPlugInMyHalloweenHaul · 16/10/2018 08:15

Wow no. YANBU. So much of your job is getting to know the minutiae fo your cases that this system must wreck your head.
Just because they are management doesn't mean they can manage though does it?
I have a good friend that works in a branch of a very well known large company. The management left one by one for better jobs and due to the location and other issues the head office struggled to replace them. No one at the sharp end applied for a management role and this encouraged one of the warehousemen to apply. Crazily he was given the job but he had never actually worked on the shop floor and had no clue how the actual work was done, knew nothing about the machines etc. My friend has worked there 11 years and knows the place inside out and yet she is being managed by someone that has no clue how to manage people or do the job and it is causing massive issues.
Just because your management is called that OP it might be titulary only!

MaverickSnoopy · 16/10/2018 08:15

What's the business rationale behind this? Is it because calls were going unanswered and so the mindset is that this way someone will pick up? If so would they consider a divert system, where is person x is unavailable then it goes to person y as a back up. Although I'm not sure if that would entirely help you.

Personally I am very put off using companies who can't give me a direct number.


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BarbaraofSevillle · 16/10/2018 08:16

The situation is ridiculous. if you're answering 50-70 calls a day, you have hardly any time to do anything else. It's well documented that even a short phone call interruption to deskwork takes 10-15 minutes out of your concentration/thinking time.

The person who came up with this policy is an idiot. I assume they've done this because they think they can do without a receptionist or two? And possibly some people whose job it is to deal with quick/non techical queries like whether or not something has been dealt with?

If you're dealing with 50-70 calls a day, and you have colleagues also in this position, it stands to reason that you need an admin team to answer simple or administrative queries that don't need a lawyer to deal with and to field calls to the correct person. It's a waste of resources for higher paid people to be dealing with basic queries on top of their own work. It's also compleletly stupid for everyone to be answering each other's clients routinely.

Agree with the suggestion to ask customers to complain. Customers generally value being quickly put through to the same named person each time, who knows about their case straight away.

BarbaraofSevillle · 16/10/2018 08:18

Personally I am very put off using companies who can't give me a direct number

Direct numbers to a direct person only work if they are at their desk most of the time. We tried direct lines but it didn't work because people in my job typically spend 1-2 days out visiting clients and 1-2 days in meetings or at training events. So we are only at our desks for about half the week on average if that.

DancingForTheDog · 16/10/2018 08:23

How ridiculous, you can't work efficiently under those conditions. If you've brought this up and been brushed off and if management are actively saying if you don't toe the line they will manage you out, I think you have little option but to leave. I wonder what effect this call pooling is having on client feedback? Most people prefer consistency with complex matters such as conveyancing and to know the person they are speaking to is familiar with and up to speed with their case. We've used Premier Property Lawyers a couple of times and if our allocated conveyancer wasn't available it was always too much hassle to go through everything with someone unfamiliar with our case, so I always requested our chap to call me back. You can't win unfortunately, when someone high up has a patently ridiculous brilliant idea to increase turnover, they will stick with it no matter what the fall-out.

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