Shifting Mindset in Conveyancing Towards Customer Experience and Engagement
Conveyancing: It is a fact well known that purchasing a property is potentially the most expensive and stressful experience that many people will ever go through.
It is an emotive issue, as Property Lawyers, we have long been used to our customers giving us their direct feedback as they experience the highs and lows of their move. We now live in a world though where customers can not only give us, and their friends, that feedback but they can post their experience of a service online, literally within minutes to the entire nation. Review sites like Trust Pilot are often preferred by the tech savvy consumer to a recommendation from a friend to determine which firm best suits them and where they might get the best experience.
With new free transparency rules and a commercially savvy consumer it is no surprise then that most conveyancing teams say that fees and cost remain a number one concern for them, but many are now waking up to this second pillar of supreme importance – that of customer experience.
Best practices of successful conveyancers
There is a distinct shift in mindset in the way the most successful conveyancing practices are approaching the delivery of conveyancing services. They have of course invested in adopting best practises supported by tools and technologies to delivering a cost effective, profitable and streamlined service, but they are also now focused on providing the best experience aided by that technology. A helpful side effect of removing routine process from skilled individuals is to give them more time to nurture crucial customer relationships. The key becomes to balance human interaction and automation across the lifecycle of a transaction to deliver the best experience possible.
Take the onboarding process – every firm will have one, it can be tedious and time consuming and no client has ever felt it was something they wished to pay for, but in a time of increased regulation it must be done correctly. As part of the ‘Know Your Customer’ you will be checking identification, carrying out conflict checks and making sure that terms of engagement are approved and signed. You will be sending out forms and ensuring they come back completed, taking monies on account and contacting counterparts, agents and lenders. From a customers’ viewpoint, the smoother, painless and hassle-free the process, the better their experience and journey but potentially the higher your cost on things that require no legal expertise.
So, the more astute conveyancing firms are adopting technology solutions to make the onboarding process extremely simple, seamless and in real time. They are striking the balance between automation and human interaction – with each appearing at the right points in the transaction lifecycle so that alongside the mundane aspects, lawyers can convey expertise and insight, but also empathy and an understanding of a customers’ personal situation. Managing the client contact points and making them pre-emptive rather than reactive is a key area of service improvement. An example of this is the adoption of automated dialling. This is where the case management system alerts the lawyer when phone calls needs to be made at specific intervals in the conveyancing process, providing the customers’ contact number exactly at the point of need within the solution. And if the phone isn’t answered, the call gets rescheduled, so nothing gets lost.
From a communication perspective, email is the default communication tool, but it isn’t designed for customer engagement, to build trust or to resolve client issues. To ensure timely communication and updates, some firms are offering apps and intuitive web portals that customers can download or log on to to facilitate a real time view of how their case is progressing – for instance, updates on property searches or receipts of documents. For those that prefer texts, messages are sent updating customers as key stages are met, without the need for human intervention. This has reduced unnecessary and intrusive personal communication and means that the lawyer choses when to reach out.
Fundamentally, good service needs to be underpinned by meaningful engagement; and technology platforms such as case management can to a large extent facilitate it. This said, case management systems are akin to cars – all cars essentially have the same components, wheels, a chassis, suspension etc, but the technology that underpins a Ferrari will be vastly different from say a Honda Civic. Conveyancing firms therefore need to have a good understanding of how they want to approach customer engagement and then develop a case management system and strategy that lends itself to achievement of those areas. Case management isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution and the successful firms have identified how to leverage the right tools.
Following a global survey of consumer behaviours, PwC coined the phrase ‘return on experience’ and identified the need to act during ‘magic moments’. This concept applies to consumers of conveyancing services too. Consumers are looking for a frictionless experience and firms need to innovate to continuously enhance the experience of customers in the ‘magic moments’ to make timely and deep connections with the clients that will positively impact perception, brand and reputation, well into the future. So, whilst firms can’t add more hours in to the day, they can use great technology to give hours back to their staff to provide those magic moments through unique human interaction and experience.
Written by Simon Farthing, Commercial and Marketing Director, LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions
Kindly shared by LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions