Anonymous businessman with paper bag on his head

By Trevor Hellawell 


One matter which suddenly seems to be all the rage is mystery shopping.


There is a lot of it about – some firms do it. Some firms engage others to do it on themselves or their competitors. Some organisations do it (full-time). Now the FT has published a new report based on 387 calls to firms and 100 interviews.


The results are much the same as what I found when I did it – very few bother to respond to their email forms. In response to a call the ‘conveyancing factories’ were better at following up than traditional law firms, but often the written product was below par.


The whole point of mystery shopping is to put law firms to the test when it comes to customer service and customer focus. How good are you at responding to potential future business?


For years we have been, as a profession, hopelessly bad at interacting with other human beings, let alone being at the forefront of customer service and value. Over the years, marketing has taken a hold and we have all printed off hundreds of leaflets which weigh down our cupboards. Latterly email has taken over and we now send thousands of emails into the trash folders of people who routinely empty them.


We’re lawyers, not salesmen.


But the market is very different now – speed and instantaneous access are the keynotes to successfully beating competitors to our potential clients. It is all about how the client perceives the impressions created by the business – its look, its feel, its speed, its familiarity with modern technology and its human face behind the tech.


There is much work going on in the support industry to equip the professional with everything they need to be able to impress a potential client – Brighter Law Solutions, for example, has technology that empowers a firm to issue quotes for conveyancing at the flick of a few switches AND enables clients to get their own quote when the office is shut. Cleverly, it also feeds management information to the firm about who has contacted it, and their contact details.


What it needs now is an instantaneous phone call to follow it up.


Imagine – you have obtained a quote from a law firm for your conveyancing. How impressed would you be if at 9.00am the following day (if not sooner) you had a call from someone at that law firm asking if the quote was acceptable, did you have any queries and wishing you all the best in your quest for a new home. If you want to instruct us, we are right here.


The message is one of concern and interest – and I think most genuine enquirers respond to a concerned and interested voice on the end of the phone. Many will have just been looking around speculatively – and that’s fine. But surely everyone deserves that kind of attention at the outset.


I query whether the fee-earners have the time or skill to do this kind of customer interaction well enough. But, what about a customer follow-up team drawn from within the firm? The report says you should choose the people who are best at it.


With every phone call being a potential new client, can you afford to miss out?

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