'We measure ourselves against the best in UK'
Few companies are better placed to understand the challenges facing those who work in the property market than Wilson Nesbitt Solicitors - proud sponsor of the Deal of the Year category in the Belfast Telegraph 2015 Property Awards in association with propertynews.com.
Out of 500 firms of solicitors in Northern Ireland, when it comes to property matters, Wilson Nesbitt, which has offices in Belfast and Bangor, is the clear market leader, participating in one in every 12 local property transactions.
The firm acts for banks, building societies, developers, builders and private clients and has a reputation for pioneering innovation.
So, what is it that makes Wilson Nesbitt stand out from the crowd?
"We realised many years ago that property conveyancing could be progressed more efficiently if there was better communication," said senior partner Gilbert Nesbitt.
"We simply stripped the whole process down and built it back up, with a singular focus on communication, efficiency and client risk management.
This meant providing seamless communication lines for our clients, mortgage brokers, estate agents and other solicitors - giving direct dial phone numbers and providing email, SMS text and online case tracking. Estate agents and brokers particularly like the immediate access to information the case tracking provides."
The online case tracking is connected directly to the case management systems used by the property team and is updated each night, and the firm has offered it as a part of its standard service for nearly 13 years.
"We simply started very early," added Gilbert. "We've had customised case management systems designed and delivered by our in-house IT team for over 16 years now and we began a case tracking service as soon as the technology was available to deliver it. I wouldn't relish the task of having to start to do it all from scratch now."
Technology plays a huge role in the firm's work and ambitions. Wilson Nesbitt has made a considerable £1m investment in its IT systems over the last four years.
"We have an in-house IT team consisting of five full-time employees who work with the different departments, including the property team, to continually enhance the firm's processes and client experiences," said Gilbert.
"We measure ourselves against the best efficiencies and client service levels in the UK. The culmination of our recent investment programme will be the launch of our latest case management software update later this month. This will give us the most up to date platform available to solicitors in the UK.
"As a consequence, we will be able to start working towards further improved communication, including real time case tracking and online direct participation in the conveyancing process for those of our clients who wish to do so."
The 30-strong Wilson Nesbitt property team specialises solely in property conveyancing and do not venture into other areas of law that might otherwise compete for their attention.
Again, efficiency and communication are the under-riding principles of the team structure, and clients enjoy as smooth a process as is possible, underpinned by specialist knowledge and experienced risk and security management.
Gilbert is delighted to be part of the Belfast Telegraph's premier awards event for the property industry by sponsoring the 'Deal of the Year' award.
"As soon as we heard about the awards, we immediately wanted to be involved," he said.
"We've worked alongside so many estate agents over the years and we know just how hard they work to provide the best service to their clients.
"Property transactions are fraught with uncertainty, stress and pressure and it is no easy task to work under those conditions, day-in and day-out.
"We congratulate everyone who has been nominated for an award and recognise the achievement that it is to stand out in such a competitive industry." Gilbert is particularly optimistic about the future of the Northern Ireland property market.
"We've all come through the difficult years following the property crash and all the market professionals are now positive about the future. These property awards will help to reinforce that message," he added.
Entries for all 11 categories are open now, but hurry, as the closing date is Monday, November 2.
Full details of all the categories and how to enter can be found below.