Access Legal: Bridging the gap between service and client expectation
Darren Gower, Sales Director at Access Legal, writes on the subject of how to bridge the gap between service and client expectation.
When caseloads are heavy, the pressure is on fee earning and time is at a premium, it can be hard for conveyancers to find enough time to focus on communication with the client.
There’s no doubt that as an industry, conveyancers in the UK are arguably busier than they’ve ever been – as the impact of the stamp duty holiday incentivising residential property sales and purchases continues to take effect.
According to the Office for National Statistics , the provisional estimate of UK residential transactions in January this year was at 121,640, 24 per cent higher than January 2020. This volume of transactions is only likely to continue as sellers and buyers look to take advantage of the stamp duty extension until the end of June – and end of September depending on the property’s price.
So we know conveyancers are balancing a high volume of cases while having to deal with a host of stakeholders, from estate agents to lenders, to fellow conveyancers. Yet for conveyancers who are measured on the fees they’re billing – taking the time to get to know clients might just be key to unlocking the door to upselling other services their firm provides, putting them at a commercial advantage.
Of course many conveyancers already put the client at the centre of everything they do. But there is a slight discrepancy between how conveyancers perceive their customer service and how clients view it, according to one report . It found 80 per cent of legal firms think their client service is above average, but only 40 per cent of clients agreed, while only 67 per cent of clients felt lawyers were good at listening. So how do conveyancers bridge that gap between service and client expectation?
The last twelve months have tested the resilience of conveyancers and have also shifted the way clients view – and what they want from their professional service providers. Clients are expecting a much more personal service from their conveyancers – which makes getting to know and understand clients’ positions and needs even more important. Clients also expect technology to play a key role as it has done in their home and work lives. And with the number of legal technology solutions increasing, the two go in hand-in-hand to help drive legal firms digital adoption forward.
Technology should be central to conveyancers’ forward strategy around client care and communications, if they wish to engage clients and remove limits on what services and support they can provide.
Conveyancing is embracing the future
The good news is many conveyancers are already embracing technology and the industry as a whole is too. The Home Buying and Selling Group  has recently come up with BASPI, a definitive list of information about every property on sale in the UK to help speed up traditionally slow property transactions – that when launched, will be able to be accessed by all in the property market who needs it.
The HM Land Registry announced this year its first digital identity standard to make identity verification safer and more convenient for anyone buying property in England and Wales. Also, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers released a paper  in January suggesting the conveyancing process will be completely digital by 2030. Experts like Legaltech consultant Brian Kennedy believe the key themes on the radar for law firms include, ‘AI, collaboration tools, big data and data analytics’. This is all good news for the future of the sector and will only help conveyancers to work smarter and quicker.
Yet fundamentally, conveyancers need to ensure client care is central to any forward thinking strategy – no matter what technology they invest in and how sophisticated it is. Getting to know the client really is back to basics but without knowing the client, conveyancers can’t understand what expertise and services they may need – like information around wills if they don’t already have one or if they are buying a property to rent it out, landlord and tenant solicitors could be of interest to them.
This means some firms have to reimagine how they communicate with clients. Self-service apps for clients that were once a ‘nice to have’ for a law firm are quickly becoming a ‘must-have’ to create interactive portals where clients can access all their case files in one place, track progress of their case and securely send, receive and fill-out digital documents.
On the flip side of course this also means conveyancers have a continuous direct line of communication where they can access all the info they need about their client in one place. Conveyancers are also using legal technology solutions to automate the mundane to avoid getting bogged down by admin tasks. It’s freeing them up to focus on understanding their clients and forming stronger relationships – which in turn leads to better results.
Getting to know clients to gain a more rounded understanding of their needs and background, can unlock commercial benefits for all conveyancers. They just need to ensure that it is central to client strategy at all times – no matter how heavy the caseload is.
Written by Darren Gower, Sales Director, Access Legal.
For more information about Access Legal, please visit: https://www.theaccessgroup.com/legal/.
Kindly shared by Access Legal
Main photo courtesy of Pixabay