Keeping clients happy while increasing efficiency

Gloria Perry (General Manager, Associated Reporters, Las Vegas, NV), a long-time RB user (since its DOS days) presented her company’s story about converting their transcript production to RB PDF transcripts at this year’s Team RB conference. She is what we would call a sensible “early adopter”:

“At Associated Reporters, we’re constantly trying to find new ways to streamline, save time for our employees, and make the most of the resources we have,” she says. “And when RB comes out with a new service, I’m always excited to see if it will provide a more efficient solution for us.”

Her process of evaluating and implementing RB-PDF transcripts was typical of her combination of speedy implementation and caution.

The set-up

“We were using e-Tran[script] for transcripts, but it was slow compared to RB PDF. There was a lot of typing of information and not many archiving options through e-Tran. We couldn’t really store many transcripts in it, so we had to use something else for archiving. We were spending a lot of time not only creating the e-Transcript, but also jumping from application to application.”

In January 2007, OMTI released the free RB8 update that included the RB-PDF transcript creator.

“The second we got the update, I started testing it out,” Gloria said. “Within a day or two, I was able to come up with new procedures and gave them to our production department for implementation. Very quickly, we could see how much time it (RB RDF transcripts) would save us.

“After our archiving person used it for a short time and saw that it would save her so much time, she said, ‘I don’t want to go back to e-Tran. Please don’t make me’.”

The benefits

Gloria and her production team are sold on RB-PDF transcripts and RB8’s central repository: “There’s no typing, you can archive the PDF transcript and your ASCII in RB8 along with the job,” Gloria said. “We scan in worksheets, corrections from witnesses, letters to attorneys and witnesses, and copies of payment checks. Everything is there at our disposal.”

Gloria likes the efficiency of RB8’s central repository and uploads all job-related files to it, so they can be quickly and easily retrieved. In her presentation, she listed all the types of job-linked files she keeps in the repository:

  • Notices/Captions
  • Transcripts
  • Exhibits
  • Condensed transcripts
  • Word indexes
  • Delivery slips
  • Correction pages
  • Signature letters
  • Copies of payment checks

In-house, RB’s interconnectivity speeds the entire job process: Job information is entered once — whether by a client requesting a job, a reporter turning in a job, or in-house staff processing a job — and it flows wherever it’s needed. In e-Transcript, they had to type in job information for each transcript. As Gloria pointed out, “Typing is slow, and you might make mistakes. With RB, we can create the PDF transcript with the click of the mouse, with no typing if the info was correctly entered earlier — the job information is already there.”

They have found that converting ASCII to RB PDF transcripts is twice as fast as to e-Transcripts.  And before RB PDF transcripts, they were creating transcripts in e-Tran, archiving the ASCII in another directory, creating signature letters in RB and billing in RB. Now they use one piece of software for converting, archiving, and managing transcripts and jobs instead, so they save time not having to jump between applications. Plus, the RB PDF Transcript creator is included free in RB8, versus e-Transcript’s on-going subscription cost.

They knew they had to get their clients to switch to PDF transcripts. “It really made a difference in our production department. It saved us so much time that we knew we to convince our clients to go with this instead of our clients convincing us to go back to what we had been using.”

To sell attorneys  on the benefits of RB-PDF transcripts, Gloria prepared a list of advantages, which she gave to her reporters to use when talking to clients. For example, the fact that with RB-PDF transcripts they wouldn’t need third-party software to load transcripts into trial presentation software, such as Sanction or Trial Director, is a huge advantage for attorneys at trial time.

The drawbacks

The first problem was simply getting attorneys to change. People in general don’t like change, but with the mandate coming down from the federal courts to use PDFs for electronic filings and archiving, there was already a reason to change. Giving attorneys a list of advantages helped persuade them to try PDFs.

The next problem was that, as an early adopter, Gloria and her team were using a version 1.0 application so they encountered bugs, which they had to work around. Their feedback was worked into newer versions of the transcript creator so now, “Someone could do this (convert production to PDF transcripts) overnight if they already used e-Tran & RB8,” Gloria said.

Some problems still exist. For example, even though RB-PDF transcripts offer exhibit linking, “We can’t use exhibit linking because it’s too time consuming,” Gloria said. “Although, we didn’t use it with e-Tran either. We could provide exhibit linking on a client-request basis, but we could not offer it as a free service. Realistically, it’s not possible to do with every transcript.”

Plus, RB PDF Transcript creator had problems creating condensed pages that contain single-spaced ASCII. Gloria’s solution was to create two ASCII files, then delete pages from the one she made condensed that contain single spacing and should not be condensed, such as the cover, title and appearance pages. She then condensed the file and added back in the full-size pages and attaches a full-sized word index. (This problem was resolved in a later update of RB8.)

The results

None of the problems Gloria encountered dimmed her enthusiasm for RB-PDF transcripts. Because much of Associated Reporters’ work involves complex litigation cases, involving multiple parties, lots of documents and numerous depos, PDF transcripts have a particularly strong appeal to their clients because 1) Associated Reporters can provide image files for importing directly into trial presentation software, and 2) attorneys can search across multiple files at once, saving considerable time over e-Transcripts in cases with high volumes of files.

So far Associated Reporters has converted all of their clients, except one. That one client still insists on getting e-Transcripts; however, with only one client seriously objecting, Associated Reporters has forged ahead with RB-PDF transcripts and has been able to significantly reduce the amount of time, money and errors previously incurred in preparing, distributing and archiving transcripts. And their production staff is very happy.

Promote your company’s PDF transcript service with the RB-PDF transcript flyer available in the Team RB section of our website. It includes Gloria’s list of benefits, explains RB-PDF transcripts to your clients, and provides instructions for using them.


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