By Legal Futures Associate Moneypenny
With almost two fifths of UK home buyers losing out on property due to mortgage delays and a country-wide remortgage rush putting even greater pressures on conveyancers, brokers and lenders – the industry needs to be ready for a deluge of calls from concerned customers chasing progress.
Bernadette Bennett, head of the legal sector at leading outsourced communications provider Moneypenny warns conveyancers, brokers and lenders to revisit the efficacy of their communications channels now, in order to avoid a reputational disaster and ensure they are contactable when it’s needed most.
Bernadette said: “The rising cost of living is putting extra pressure on an industry that has been consistently in high demand for the last couple of years. The rush to lock-in interest rates for remortgage and new mortgage applications, is creating a real sense of urgency, yet the time being taken by lenders to produce offers is taking longer.
“People simply cannot afford to just wait for an answer and we’re already seeing them pick up the phone to chase conveyancers and brokers about progress. Concerned customers are typically more persistent, which means more calls to conveyancers and brokers, and in turn more calls from brokers to lenders. Even with case tracking systems providing real-time information, there is still a need for great accessibility and support for brokers in particular.”
She added: “I know of a few instances where recorded phone messages are still blaming call handling delays or shorter opening hours on the pandemic. The public expects businesses to have solved their resource challenges and offer excellent customer care and responsiveness by now. Anything less is just an excuse for poor service at a time when existing and prospective homeowners are desperately seeking help, advice and cost certainty.”
Useful tips from Bernadette to help conveyancers handle increased call volumes and ensure a positive customer experience, include:
- Updating auto attendant messages so callers can find the option and department they need quickly
- Adding overflow support to handle any extra call volumes, particularly outside traditional office hours
- Using dedicated phone line numbers to channel specific customer requests to specialist teams
- Ensuring lawyers have access to lenders via separate numbers and teams, so they’re not stuck in queues
- Updating phone messages to manage expectations about response times and/or call backs
- Ensuring that Covid related recorded messages have been removed
- Harnessing live chat so that enquiries can be triaged in real-time online, without the need for a call
- Revisiting call handling practices to ensure that empathy and efficiency are in plentiful supply
- Providing additional training to support staff to ensure they’re confident in call handling
- Updating website FAQs to ensure to provide online support to enquirers and divert traffic from phone lines
Bernadette concluded: “It’s well known that buying and selling houses is stressful at the best of times. With rising costs and growing financial uncertainty, the pressure is rising for everyone involved in the house buying journey.
“Buyers and remortgage clients are demanding information from brokers and lenders, who are often at the mercy of others within the chain. It’s taxing but doesn’t mean customer care should be under par – in fact, you should be more accessible than ever. Otherwise, you will lose customer good will, business and ultimately reputation.”
If you need call answering support or would like to know how live chat can help keep deals moving, visit: www.moneypenny.com/uk/legal-answering-services/