Case Study: Dechert Trades Help Desk for Keno Kozie

I originally wrote this case study for Law Technology News. Keno Kozie liked it enough to repurpose it for its own IT Insights magazine.

Original PDF: “Dechert Trades Help Desk for Keno Kozie”

Mike Shannon says that efficiency has been a priority since he started his tenure as Dechert CIO a decade ago. For example, Shannon says that Dechert uses videoconferencing more than most law firms. “We do about 200 multipoint video conferences per month, and it makes sense because our lawyers might have to be in three different places in a given day,” Shannon says.

Efficiency motivated Dechert to outsource its first-level help desk services to Chicago-based legal technology services provider Keno Kozie. Dechert began outsourcing its help desk to Keno Kozie in the summer of 2009, and Keno Kozie has already resolved an average of 80 percent of help desk calls.

“We need to have 24/7 help desk because the sun never sets on the Dechert empire,” quips Shannon, adding that the firm has 19 offices throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. “The call experience at 2 a.m. EST should be no different than at 2 p.m. EST. You want the same level of expertise at any time, including the weekends.”

Staffing and maintaining an in-house coterie of help desk experts isn’t feasible on either a cost or talent level, according to Shannon. Keno Kozie has been providing legal help desk and other legal services for over 20 years. “They do not follow the typical escalation philosophy, where calls are first answered by first-level support technicians,” says Shannon. “All calls are routed to the senior members of the team to maximize first-call resolution. This has resulted in our first-call efficiency exceeding 80 percent and FCR ratios close to 98 percent.”

TESTING THE EXPERTS

Before deciding on Keno Kozie, Shannon and a few Dechert colleagues went to Chicago to visit Keno Kozie’s facilities. “We didn’t want to get sold on a sales pitch [but] on real analysts supporting real law firm applications like Autonomy’s iManage and Sage’s Carpe Diem. We asked them to give us three analysts so we could ask each of them sample help desk calls, such as, ‘How do you do this in [iManage]?’ or ‘How do you style this Word document?’ Then we chose three random analysts, which made [Keno Kozie] a bit nervous, but they did fabulously, too,” Shannon says.
Shannon says that the analysts’ expertise in all the applications Dechert uses sold Shannon’s team on Keno Kozie’s capabilities. “My level-two help desk manager can trip up some good analysts, but he had a hard time tripping up [the Keno Kozie analysts],” Shannon says.

According to Shannon, Keno Kozie hires analysts with ample experience either working in law firms or supporting them and then provides them with in-depth, hands-on instruction from professional application trainers. In addition, Keno Kozie analysts get more specialized training whenever they join a specific client team and as applications and technologies evolve.

For example, all of Keno Kozie’s analysts either have Microsoft Office Specialist Certification or are in the process of getting their certification. “There are so many nuances in Word with regards to tables, formatting, and so forth that it’s difficult to learn them all,” says Shannon. “The [analysts] at Keno Kozie understand the specific way Dechert styles its documents, and Keno Kozie analysts are expert with the use of styles and know our specific needs.”

Shannon says it helps that Keno Kozie is a full-service law firm support organization that includes engineering staff, Citrix specialists, document management experts, and advanced applications support. “Keno Kozie has a depth of legal technology experience that cannot be easily found in other support organizations. When complex calls come into the help desk, the support analysts have extensive resources and experts that they can consult with or bring onto the call in support of users,” Shannon says.

TRACKING THE ISSUES

Keno Kozie’s technology incorporates a fully integrated incident management system, a contact routing system, and real-time reporting that Shannon’s team can access. “[It] ensures that all [Dechert] contacts, whether by phone, e-mail, or web, are immediately routed to the proper analysts, automatically recorded in the incident management system, and are available for tracking in the real-time reporting system,” Shannon says. “The metrics are also integrated into [Keno Kozie’s] phone system which is where we get our answer time.”

Shannon says that as part of its service, Keno Kozie analyzes types of calls and call volume, so that Shannon’s team can understand why Dechert employees are calling and as a result, get a root cause analysis of any problems that may be widespread within the firm or are especially troublesome. According to Shannon, Keno Kozie has two analysts assigned to the Dechert account, one of which is dedicated solely to Dechert. “The manager in charge of the Dechert account is in touch with us on a weekly basis and is integrated into our management meetings,” he says.

In addition, Keno Kozie analysts know exactly who from Dechert is calling and can immediately access past call tickets associated with that person. “If I make a call, from my home or cell phone, they know it’s me. We have an automated feed set up so that when we add new people to our HR system, all of their numbers become available, and all of the fields automatically get filled out, including call history, so that they can just say, ‘What seems to be the problem?’” Shannon says, adding that the reporting is so detailed that Keno Kozie analysts know how the person on the other end prefers to be addressed.

WHAT THE NUMBERS SAY

Shannon says testing involved migrating one of Dechert’s offices two weeks early to see how Keno Kozie worked within the system. “Then we just went live – and the first month we used them – they solved 78 percent of our calls. Prior to that, we never had a month [where more than] 68 to 70 percent of calls were resolved,” Shannon says. In April 2010, for example, Keno Kozie was able to solve 3084 of the 3856 calls that it received for a first-call efficiency[1] of 80 percent, 15 percent higher than what was stipulated in the service level agreement. And this percentage took into account calls that Keno Kozie was not in a position to solve, such as hardware failures, issues with desktop images, and other desktop services issues. “That’s pretty efficient, especially when you consider that [Keno Kozie] is resolving those calls in under 10 minutes,” Shannon says.

For the same month (April 2010), Keno Kozie solved 2535 out of 2632 calls in the initial call for a first-call resolution[2] of 96 percent, 16 percentage points higher than what was stipulated in the SLA. And Keno Kozie was successful in answering e-mail queries quickly and efficiently with an e-mail answer time of just under 100 percent, 10 percentage points higher than SLA requirements.

According to Shannon, Dechert is paying on average $19 per call based on current call volume. However, Dechert negotiated a 5000-call per month cap, so that anything over that threshold is free for the firm. “If we were to field 6,000 calls, for example, the cost per call would drop to $14.50 per call,” says Shannon.

Now that Keno Kozie is capably managing Dechert’s Level 1 help desk needs, Shannon’s 50-person IT team is free to work on more pressing IT issues. He estimates that his department’s efficiency has already risen by more than 10 percent – and given his obsession with efficiency, Shannon says that choosing Keno Kozie has, in just a short amount of time, been a huge win overall.


  1. First-call efficiency is calculated by dividing the number of calls resolved in that initial first-level help desk call into the number of total calls. Those total calls include the calls that an outsourced, first-level help desk is unable to solve, such as those requesting toner cartridge replacements and other desktop-level services accomplished on-site.  ↩
  2. First-call resolution describes the ratio between the number of calls that can be resolved by Keno Kozie’s first-level help desk on the very first call and the total number of calls that Keno Kozie resolves.  ↩

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