William Zauner – JAMS
- Written by: Mary Raitt Jordan
- Produced by: Zachary Brann
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
In an age when giant tech companies like Upwork and Uber pop up in rapid succession and employees hop from one job to the next, William Zauner is frequently asked what’s kept him working at JAMS for 29 years.
“It isn’t one company, it has been many different companies over the years,” Zauner, the CIO at the international mediation and ADR provider based in Irvine, California, says. “As JAMS has grown to meet industry’s needs, we have pushed our business forward. In our field you evolve your service over and over and over and you keep getting better and better and better.”
The key to successfully handling 15,000 legal disputes globally each year, Zauner says, is that JAMS—now celebrating its 40th anniversary—has embraced modernization and change. To that end, the company is focused on two new customer-centric projects this year, including a new client portal and a customer feedback project called “The Voice of the Client.”
Without a hassle
In the design phase now, and scheduled for completion within the next eight months, the portal project is being led by a portal development expert. That designer has worked with partners such as platform and services providers Crownpeak, Hyland and Konica.
How will the portal work?
Zauner says it will integrate with the JAMS website, allowing clients to log in 24/7 to interact with their arbitration teams. Features include document management, scheduling, billing, payments and messaging.
While most companies operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Zauner says clients of JAMS such as lawyers and insurance adjusters don’t necessarily work traditional hours. Needs can be different in mediating conflicts around the clock and in different time zones around the world.
“We’ve seen digital transformation in different industries taking place in the past two years and wanted to make sure we are out front. We think our customer engagement will go up by staying ahead of the trends before us,” Zauner says. Especially, he emphasizes, with a younger, tech savvy generation of attorneys and businesspeople as emerging clients.
The Voice of the Client
To know what projects to modify, or which projects will create a better customer experience, Zauner is going to the source to gather feedback.
Using surveys with new questions and categories, Zauner plans to capture clients’ experiences in his or her own words in a new project called “The Voice of the Client”—a platform coming online later this year. The surveys distributed after every settled case will generate data from the feedback and will be analyzed and linked to computer algorithms to help segment the feedback into actionable data.
“Putting a new system in place to monitor feedback from clients helps us turn that data it into actionable programs and processes to continually up our game in industry,” Zauner says.
JAMS is known for its attentive service in its resolution centers—ranging from friendly front desk associates and welcoming staff, to video conferencing, and providing food and beverages. JAMS also learned, as an example, that it can improve client experience at off-site locations by providing better Wi-Fi, creating easier ways for clients to work more comfortably and offering translation services.
Fits like a glove
Not everyone can say they graduate from college, get their feet wet with an initial job, and then go on to find a position they truly love and stay at for decades.
But Zauner can.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in management information systems at California State University Fullerton in 1987, he took his first job in a programming position at Teledyne Controls in 1988 for a couple of years. In 1990 he found JAMS and never looked back.
Known as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services when it was first formed in 1979, the company merged with another provider that was not entirely composed of judges. Now simply calling itself “JAMS,” Zauner says the team—and its mission—suited him well.
“The people here all really believe in the mission of ADR as an important service to all the communities we serve. We all see getting disputes resolved quickly so people can move on in their lives as important,” Zauner says. “Looking to the future, we are not resting. We are looking for better ways to do things. Our challenge here—like everywhere else—is realizing that things are constantly changing and evolving and to get better we need to evolve, too, at lightning speed.”
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