Still Organic and Customer Service Savvy After 22 Years

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01May2009

Still Organic and Customer Service Savvy After 22 Years

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By Barbara Lynch, Staff Writer

Atkinson-Baker OfficesThe Fast, “Needed-It-Yesterday” Climate of Litigation

Litigation is a demanding practice as we are the most litigious society in the world, with a lawsuit being filed in the U.S. every few minutes. It’s the litigator’s job to steer through the legal system and provide the best legal counsel so that their clients get fair treatment with the best result. Litigators are under a tremendous amount of pressure because large sums of money, a client’s livelihood, and/or their freedom are at stake.

Within the high pressure cooker environment of litigation, every minute counts and every detail is of utmost importance. Anyone working in litigation, attorneys and support staff alike, by nature already has the personality and disposition needed to take on detail-driven tasks. So when they utilize resources such as a court reporting agency, that is also detail-driven and organized, it can be a harmonious match.

The business of litigation is very “need it now” driven: no time to waste, court dates needing to be secured, calls for immediate scheduling and juggling of tasks. All of these are ongoing.

Ask any legal professional about the peace of mind that comes with a vendor they can trust and rely on, and they will tell you it’s something they relish and don’t take for granted. That’s because they count on vendors to put things in place and to act as the “glue” by having them make sure everything sticks. Vendors who can be counted on relieve a lot of stress and save a tremendous amount of time for legal professionals – which is priceless in a litigation environment.

One of the First Nationwide Court Reporting Agencies

Alan and Sheila Atkinson-Baker founded Atkinson-Baker Court Reporters twenty two years ago and have continuously remained at the helm as CEO and President, respectively.

Over the years, the company hasn’t strayed from its initial goal of filling the need for immediate, top-notch court reporting services both locally and nationwide.

Sheila was a professional court reporter for over twenty years, five of which she served as a reporter in the federal district court. Through her extensive experience she recognized a major need in the legal community for last-minute and nationwide deposition scheduling. Realizing that speed, responsiveness and accuracy were the only ways to meet this need head-on, Ms. Atkinson-Baker formed an agency and staffed it with the finest court reporters available in the business.

President Sheila Atkinson-Baker recognized and started meeting the court reporting needs of litigators over twenty years ago.

“We know how pressing the demands of the legal profession can be. With any court reporting service you need compliance, not questions. Above all, you need dependable, professional results. We’ve always made one promise to the legal world: one call to us and we’ll do the rest.”

Since the beginning, Alan and Sheila have ensured that the company grew at a pace that has stayed right in step with how the litigation environment and litigators’ needs have evolved. They didn’t allow the company to grow too fast which would have caused spending past the company’s means or filling employee positions that turned out to be unnecessary.

It paid off.

As one of the first court reporting agencies who offered services nationwide in the early `90’s, law firms throughout the country took notice and saw a real competitive advantage in scheduling with them nationwide and for last-minute emergencies. Atkinson-Baker has grown from a handful of employees to a staff of over 160 and a court reporter base that exceeds 1,300.

Today, with their organic roots stronger than ever, Atkinson-Baker is still keeping right in step with what firms need in court reporting. Their technological advances and stellar customer service has won them awards and the future is looking to be just as promising.

Alan and Sheila are still tough and full of the same determination with which they launched Atkinson-Baker two decades ago when there was only a handful of court reporting agencies to speak of. They are committed for the long haul and, unlike many other privately-owned firms, they won’t give in to the hungry conglomerate litigation service companies who want to swallow as much as they can, trying to be number one.

The only number Atkinson-Baker cares about is the number of their satisfied clients.

Continuing to operate from one’s own original roots is a rare thing today, and that is one of the things that sets Atkinson-Baker apart. It’s what fuels, not only Alan and Sheila, but their dedicated executives and staff who, with tenacity and diligence, are collectively taking extra care of their clients in a very competitive market.

A Well-Oiled Machine

For the last twenty years, I personally have worked in many service-oriented industries: legal, restaurants, tourism and retail. These included corporations and non-profits as well as family-owned, privately-owned and public companies.

Because of this experience, I’ve been exposed to many types and levels of specialized customer service over the years and I recognize what is needed for successful customer relationships.

Having been an employee of Atkinson-Baker for over two years, I can easily say with conviction that Atkinson-Baker’s customer service really sets them apart.

With a third of their staff interfacing with clients on a daily basis, you’d think that the work flow environment at Atkinson-Baker would be chaotic and disorganized with something bound to fall through the cracks.

But it’s quite the contrary.

Atkinson-Baker on the inside behaves like several cogs rotating on the outside of one wheel, with all the grooves fitting tightly as the wheel turns. Because each department (cog) is responsible for part of the final product (wheel), the company has structured the grooves to fit into each other so uniformly that nothing slips by.

cogThe intricate way the departments work together is a big reason why everything runs as smoothly as it does.

Contributing to the brilliant coordination is the way the departments are physically situated throughout the floor plan. The departments flow one step to the next, from scheduling through transcript delivery. This guarantees a seamless product at utmost customer service levels.

Both as an employee and as a consumer, it’s utterly impressive to see a multitude of right hands simultaneously knowing what the left hands are doing.

It reminds me of when I was a kid in school, holding a small, U-shaped magnet over a pile of steel shavings and the shavings having no choice but to fly up a couple of inches and stick to the magnet. Atkinson-Baker’s team is the magnet that takes control of all the hundreds of details that come in every day all piled up and, with ease and finesse, sorts them out and gives top-notch customer service without complications and confusion.

Remaining Steadfast In Changing Times

With our country’s business landscape changing quickly and in unpredictable ways, it’s hard to determine what we can hang onto in the business world that is solid and reliable.

As a consumer, in the middle of this changing business climate, it’s wise to take closer looks. Here is a company that has been solid for twenty two years.

Atkinson-Baker knows that their ability to stand alone allows them to continue to serve their clients in the best possible way, and that is one of the big reasons why law firms keep them in their camp.

After all, I would only hang a swing on a tree with very thick, long roots that also consistently produces lush fruit – even in harsh weather. Wouldn’t you?

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