Only two days after I reported the end of evening and weekend Reference Attorney coverage, a representative from Thomson Reuters reached out to me to report that the policy was being reversed. This was no doubt the result of the sputtering disbelief and outrage expressed by the law librarian community across the US.
Here is a statement from Thomson Reuters:
On Jan. 3, 2022, we adjusted how the Reference Attorney service is offered. We studied the issue and felt this adjustment of shifting resources to core business hours would reduce customer wait times and provide improved response times when 95% of customer contacts were being received.
From the start, and as with any change, we committed to monitoring customer feedback, analytics, and other data to evaluate if the adjustment was appropriate or if additional changes may be needed. In conversations with customers at the end of 2021 and over the last few days, we have heard their concern regarding the change made to the Reference Attorney service. To ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers, we will reinstate the 24-hour/7-days-a-week Reference Attorney service on Jan. 18, 2022.
As we still have a need to reduce our customers’ wait times, we are also looking at creative ways to increase our capacity, increase talent retention, attract a broader talent pool, and move faster to fill our open roles to help realize the reductions in wait times we forecasted as part of the original decision.
I am glad the company was able to quickly rethink this policy. Over the past few days I have received dozens of emails from readers across law firms and law schools expressing a broad range of concerns about TR customer support. I will defer an examination of those issues to a later date.
The fact that the policy was rolled out at all, suggests a disturbing disconnect between the executives at TR and their customers. I can’t help but think that policy to ends 24X7 support came from an executive in a back office who had never met a customer and had never looked “under the hood” to appreciate the complexity of the Westlaw products which the Reference Attorneys are supporting. In either case it is time for some soul-searching at TR.