Post by Yvonne Hirons, Global CEO and founder of Legal Futures Associate Perfect Portal
In my last blog, I wrote about the new rules requiring lawyers doing certain types of work to publish prices and details of their service.
But I believe the transparency agenda is much more than the figures you put on your website; it all comes back to communication, the root of so many lawyers’ problems if you look at the types of complaint that go to the Legal Ombudsman.
According to the Home Moving in the age of the Consumer study earlier this year, clients’ expectations have changed, whilst the meaning of service has evolved. Over 55% of home movers highlighted their frustration with the method and lack of communication from their conveyancer.
Clients’ preference to receive online communication is growing fast compared with traditional methods of face-to-face and phone calls. In fact, 79% prefer to receive updates about their transactions via methods such as emails, online portals or instant messaging.
This demonstrates both clients’ real perception of transparency and how law firms should be thinking.
Ultimately, law firms need to consider a transparent service throughout and not just on sending the initial quote and the final invoice. Transparency is not just about publishing what you charge but managing client expectations.
This means updating any changes to your quote, and in general considering how you can continuously communicate the value of your service.
This might seem like a lot of effort compared to how you have long practised. But research shows that most solicitors agree that they need to change traditional ways to meet growing client demands, and that attracting and retaining business is one of the significant challenges faced by their firm. Nowadays, you have to work harder than ever before to win clients.
This is why it is important to embrace the new rules, rather than comply grudgingly. If your firm’s website doesn’t convert visitors into clients, then you are potentially missing out on a lot of new business. A website is no longer just a business card for your firm – it is a sales conversion tool.
Transparency provides value and builds trust, which increases repeat business as well as client referrals. Perfect Portal clients on average convert over 70% of their new business because their clients have all the information provided when they want it. They no longer need to wait two days to receive a quote or a follow-up call.
Now is the time to embrace the transparency rules and to consider what you need to do to take advantage and win more new business.
It’s about communication from first to last, but you start that process by setting potential clients’ expectations and then delivering them.