Telephone answering specialist Moneypenny has conducted its second quarterly legal call review of 2015 with results showing a marked upturn in `like for like’ conveyancing call numbers since the General Election.
Call data, of firms using Moneypenny throughout the period, was examined for 54 days leading up to the election then compared to the equivalent number of days from May 8th (the day after the General Election) to June 30th – the final day of Q2.
Findings highlighted an 8.35% rise in conveyancing calls handled by Moneypenny’s legal receptionists over the latter period. This compares to a pull-out of figures from the same `before and after’ date ranges in 2014, which showed a slightly lower increase of 7.77%. Across the UK, law firms have experienced a post-election rise, with telephone calls answered up 6.88% overall.
In total, more than half a million calls were answered by Moneypenny on behalf of firms of all shapes and sizes, either on an overflow or fully outsourced basis between 1 April and 30 June. Call numbers across the sector for the whole of Q2 were up by 1.30% on Q1.
As expected, the busiest day of the quarter was Tuesday 26 May (the day after a Bank Holiday) with Tuesday 1 September 1 predicted to be the busiest of Q3.
The results from Moneypenny reflect the findings of industry reports which suggest that conveyancers’ confidence is rising as workloads increase. The Conveyancer Sentiment Survey (SearchFlow) reports that 66% of solicitors have seen their volume of work increase so far this year as compared to 52% at the end of last year. They also fit with figures from high street banks which suggest the largest rise in home buyer mortgages since 2009.
Ossie Swaine is a partner at residential property specialist Bishop and Sewell LLP based in Russell Square, London. The firm engaged Moneypenny to handle all its overflow calls in 2009.
Ossie describes his firm’s experience: “In the period of uncertainty in the immediate lead up to the election, we saw a slowdown in conveyancing enquiries and clients proceeding on purchases, although sales were not affected.
“After 7 May the market recovered pretty quickly to what it had been a few weeks prior to the election and during June we saw a marked improvement in sales and purchases for properties in the price bracket of £2.5 million and below, notably flats and apartments. By contrast however, in the higher-end category of £3million+ properties, we are experiencing a slow-down.
“Many of our clients are from overseas, for example Italy, France and the Far East who still see investing here in London as a safe market. Undoubtedly the situation in Greece will affect the market going forward as investors wait to see what happens.”
Sarah Haller is head of conveyancing at Yorkshire based Chadwick Lawrence. Moneypenny has been supporting the firm since 2008. She said: “The election effect is a difficult one to call. We are always busy at this time of year and this May and June were no different really to the same time last year. That said, we did see a downturn in new instructions from mid-April to the election, but post 7 May, activity bounced back up again quickly.
“In a fast moving, growing conveyancing market, telephone calls are understandably on the increase. These are from clients, agents, brokers and all parties with a stake in a property transaction. In a people driven, service business it is crucial that all calls are taken and either dealt with immediately or messages passed to the correct person for a call back. Service is everything in conveyancing – clients will instruct elsewhere if they do not get the service they expect. We have a policy of calls being answered quickly and where we cannot deal with the volumes, Moneypenny picks up the excess.”
Moneypenny’s legal commercial manager, Bernadette Bennett, says: “Our quarterly call volume index continues to offer us useful insights into the state of play in the sector, helping us to provide a seamless service to firms, ensuring they never miss a call, deliver the best customer service and capture every business opportunity.”