FIRMS MUST ADAPT TO CHANGING CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR

By: Today’s Conveyancer| 14 March 2019

There was a time when a consumer’s purchasing opportunities were restricted: Sunday meant that the shops were closed and by the time the sun had set on another day, so had the ability to shop. Business and shopping hours were finite and limited.

With technological advancements, our shopping experience is now 24/7. Consumer expectations have increased, therefore as to what is available to them. Through the exponential explosion of online services, we now live in a fast-paced, internet savvy, media consuming, on-demand culture. Instant information is a consumer expectation. We no longer stroll to Blockbuster video, we directly download or stream film when it’s convenient to us.

Our instantaneous information, box-set binging mentality has become the cultural shift of the 21st century; law firms must adapt, or they will perish. Consumer habits will not change when it comes to choosing a law firm. Consumers have enjoyed price comparison sites for too long to allow legal service providers the privilege of providing opaque and clouded information. Research supports this view with 70% of consumers looking for conveyancing quotes online.

Yvonne, Hirons, CEO of Perfect Portal, said: “Home movers have evolved in their behaviour which is actually driven by technology. If you consider how we consume things today for example, we want information up front.

“If we take the example of the company Uber; they provide an accurate and immediate price. Whereas other forms of taxi services, especially companies around our area, require you to call and ask; even then the response is just an estimated cost. Uber has grown all because of the technology they possess. It gives instant answers. This technology and the desire for people to have this fixed information from the get-go has permeated into all industries, all professions, including the legal market.

“The main challenge is to continue thinking ahead and helping firms to remain relevant. We need to give them the tools to succeed. It is easy to stop listening and observing; once you do stop, you can quickly become irrelevant.

“Again, we have seen companies outside the legal sector find themselves guilty of this. Toys R Us and a variety of other high street retailers in recent years are becoming irrelevant because they are not changing the way they do business to meet the growing consumer behaviour. We observe and listen constantly to our clients’ needs, which is why our platform has seen so many new features added all the time.”

Price and service transparency should no longer be viewed by legal firms as a compliance regulation, they are a fundamental, non-negotiable consumer requirement. Consumers search for houses online at a time that bests suits them. Estate agent portals have adapted to this need by providing house details, images and videos to the consumer. It is therefore logical to ensure that legal services are also easily available. Failing to embrace this change will result in your business being overlooked by the consumer.

Yvonne, Hirons, CEO of Perfect Portal, continues: “If we look at how price transparency and technology will attract new business, clients are looking to find and book legal services outside of business hours, especially evenings and weekends.

“The first thing the home movers will do after finding a property is look online for a conveyancing quote. If a firm has not got the cost and service information readily available on their website then the potential client will move on to the next firms website who can provide that information. In fact, our research shows that in the recent years 59% of home movers are searching online for conveyancing quotes as instant price transparency is important to them.”

Adam Cheal, Managing Partner at Fletcher Longstaff, commented: “A lot of firms are missing out on new business. We have always had a pricing calculator on our website to attract new business out of hours because, unfortunately, no matter how many clients that want you to work twenty-four hours a day, you can’t be there all the time.

“Technology and the use of web calculators, like the one offered by Perfect Portal is beneficial for a number of reasons. Firstly, it adheres to the new regulations in terms of having instant pricing for clients from the website at any time of the day which helps us attract new business as we can add associated documentation to it and give a quote instantly.

“We are able to track consumer trends. A lot of our business comes through between seven and eleven at night, sometimes even later, because this timeframe fits in with the client work-life balance. When we are not in the office, that sort of technology is able to assist and enable us to pick up additional work.”

Additionally, firms that ensure technology is used to improve the user experience still need to convert the enquiries they receive. Recent surveys have found that often consumer enquiries are not followed up by law firms as they lack in sales experience to handle inbound calls. Law firms often have marketing departments to generate leads, but their fee earners are not sales driven themselves. It is important to train all staff to deal confidently in selling the business effectively, so no opportunity is missed; technology could help in this respect.

Yvonne said: “Firms using Perfect Portal are converting, on average, 70% of their leads to sale. According to the quote calculator, just in the past few months alone we have law firms that are generating 50% of their new business from the website calculator.

“We find those that are performing well are those that actually provide transparency throughout the transaction. They will use Perfect Portal’s key stage features that keep all parties updated throughout the transaction. This then provides them with a real experience rather than just a service.

“Research suggests that by 2020, consumers will select providers based on experience over product and price. Perfect Portal allows a firm’s clients to enjoy transparency and engagement from picking up the phone/laptop and requesting a quote, to completion of the case.”

If you are looking for a technologically driven way to remain relevant, adhere to transparency regulations and improve conversion rates, then your company deserves the service that Perfect Portal can provide.