QualitySolicitors is to launch its ‘QS Price Promise’ in September, combined with a national TV advertising campaign, the network has revealed.
The concept, announced by QS founder Craig Holt in December , has been piloted in two phases since August last year.
Eddie Ross, chief executive of QS since the start of this year, said the promise would not mean, as originally envisaged, that hourly rates would be dropped completely.
“We will outline extremely clearly what things are going to cost and why,” Mr Ross said. “We will offer customers a fixed fee, but will explain in some cases why it might not be the best idea and let them decide.”
Mr Ross said the price promise “must be embraced by firms” for it to mean something to customers. “Of course, people like things to be cheaper, but the main problem for them is lack of understanding.”
Mr Ross said he could understand why the QS 2012 TV campaign ‘For whatever life brings’  was popular with lawyers, but he wanted the latest adverts to be “about pinpointing customers and bringing them in”.
In a departure from previous comments from QS, which suggested that local law firm brands could eventually disappear in favour of a single QS brand, Mr Ross said this would be “contrary to my strategy and belief”.
Instead he said that firms that joined QS network would not in their first year have to feature QS in their firm name at all.
Mr Ross said QS currently had 100 firms in 200 locations, down from 120 firms in December last year.
However, he said QS was holding discussions with a “significant number of firms” about signing up, and he was hoping for 30 to 35 more to have joined the network by the end of the year.
Mr Ross said QS had been on a “bit of a journey”. He went on: “The fundamental idea has not changed – “let’s create a brand that consumers recognise” and delivers a better offering.
“What has changed dramatically is the way we’re executing this. We need to be clear about what we do and don’t do and careful not to make any great claims or say we have the answer. To a great extent it’s about each law firm realising that it is a business.
“The strength of QS is in our firms, not some kind of magical central organisation. The firms are the ones that have to provide a fantastic service. Our hope is to help them.”