Frequently asked questions
How does outsourcing work?
We work with your dictation system (we’re compatible with almost all) and discuss with you how you currently route your work and how we can best mirror your working practices. We aim to cause you the least disruption as possible and make change easy for you and your teams.
Do I need a dictation handset?
If you don’t already have any dictation system or equipment then we recommend a dictation app for smartphones. There are many available and we have our preferred choices but let’s talk about you before any decisions are made on the best way of working.
How much does it cost?
The cost depends on the length of dictation, and is charged per dictated minute. We use this model because you always know up front how much your dictation is going to cost … and you never have to pay for a slow typist.
What apps are there for smartphones?
There are two apps for smartphones. NCH Express Dictate has a one-off licence cost and allows you to dictate as long as you like and send directly from your phone to our ScribeManager workflow. Alternatively, you can use our SpeechWrite app which has a small monthly per-user cost, and sends directly to the SpeechWrite server.
How does the work get to you?
Each of the apps works largely in the same way. Once you hit “send” on your phone, your dictation goes to a server which sends a message directly to our secretarial team to let them know that your work is ready to be typed. Once the typing is done, the work is uploaded back to the server which then sends you a message letting you know it is ready for you to download.
Can the work be returned to my secretary for review?
Yes, depending upon the workflow system that you ultimately choose, work can be routed to a chosen destination. We work with you to find the best workflow that suits your business.
What's the turnaround time?
We want to be better than what you’re currently experiencing and for that reason we offer a 1-hour priority turnaround as well as our 4-hour standard. Most jobs can be completed in that 4-hour timeframe but we usually know straight away if more time may be needed, and we will advise. This would include large document reformats or recorded meeting notes with multiple speakers.
How is quality guarantee?
Our team are trained to work as your secretary would work. We recruit only experienced legal secretaries and all work is proofed before return. But we aren’t robots and mistakes can happen. We ask for client feedback and have procedures in place to ensure that any errors are not repeated.
How big is your team?
And we would ask, “how big is your team?”
We recruit, train, develop learning and quality assurance processes for the team that you need in your business. You train us up once and keep a single point of contact updated. That way you outsource your knowledge base too and you never have to worry about scaling up or down with a secretarial resource.
Do you have the expertise for our type of work?
We recruit secretaries who have proven experience in many practice areas of law, including family, corporate, finance and property. Some of our team have experience in fields other than law, including medical, financial and chartered surveying. Our vetting, testing and ongoing training and quality assurance will ensure that you always have the expertise matched for your needs.
Can you access our systems?
We work in a variety of client management systems like Leap, Proclaim and ALB. Sometimes it is only possible to provide us with one or two logins which also means that only one or two of our team can work in your system at the same time. All we need is a tour around your system, and we will provide training for our team.
What security do you have in place?
We have strict security controls and policies in place to protect our client information.
Our security starts with our recruitment and induction process as we accept only those who are competent and legally able to work within the UK.
Our IT platforms have a number of security controls in place to ensure access is only by authorised people.
Our workflow systems are audited to ensure compliance with our policies and protocols.
This is a complex question to answer briefly here so please contact us for more detailed information if you need it.
Where are your secretaries?
It is our policy to produce all work within the UK. Our secretaries work from home connected to our secured technology, tested and vetted for compliance and quality purposes.
What does "document fix & format" mean?
When a document needs fixing, you will know about it. Sometimes it means that you are not getting the number you want, or the formatting goes awry. There are reasons for these things and we know how to spot them and fix them quickly.
Formatting a document means taking an old document and creating a fresh new document in your house style and with your formatting preferences. We can do the same with any PDF document.
Can you fix any document
We can fix any document, whether that is an internal document or one from other company. If the document needs to be kept in its original format, we can still fix it so that it works without interfering with the integrity of the document. All we need is some basic instructions and if we have questions, we will always ask.
What is house style?
A house style is a set of formatting rules that represent your brand, and includes things like your font preference and size of the text. We use your house style to ensure that every document we produce for you is consistent and error-free.
Do we need to have a house style?
This is easy to set up and just means that the Bluebird team know your rules and preferences for how to prepare your documents. If you don’t have a house style, we can help you create one.
Can you do track changes and compare documents?
We recommend using Word Compare rather than Track Changes. It means we can work in a clean document and produce for you a clean version and a redlined version. The redlined version works the same as a track changed document in that you can accept and reject changes.
Can you create PowerPoint?
We can create and amend Powerpoint slides, and also work in other Microsoft apps like Excel and Visio.
Can you help with training?
We can train a variety of packages. However, training is not a one-stop “cure-all”. We recommend training as part of an overall solution for good management of documents, and following principles of best practice. We will meet with you to discuss what solution might best fit your firm.