conveyancing firms

Conveyancing firms must adapt to survive market downturn – claim

With indicators pointing to a slowing down of the recent property boom, conveyancing firms need to use this breathing space to overhaul their customer journey and improve the experience for clients and employees, according to insight6.

The conveyancing sector has been subject to intense criticism over the past couple of years. An unexpected property market explosion brought an influx of work to an industry already struggling to attract and retain talent.

According to Landmark Information Group, the average time for a property purchase to reach completion has hit 133 days – the longest on record.

insight6 say a study of 256 companies across the UK looked at 500 new enquiries across four principal types of professional services firms. Out of the sectors analysed, the Legal sector performed worst with an NPS of -54, a sharp decline from the pre-Covid days of 2019 when it scored -15.

Interestingly, it is not the quality of the work that gets clients most riled, but the most basic of day-to-day interactions. The report reveals a catalogue of basic and avoidable errors that caused a breakdown of the customer journey, including a lack of responses to voice messages (43%) or emails (37%).

The CEO of insight6 Jonathan Winchester stated:

“Not enough staff, ongoing new enquiries and out-of-date processes and technology have brought the industry to an interesting precipice. It needs to undergo major reform of how it communicates with clients – or it could face a crippling decline, a loss of talent and a race to the bottom on pricing to secure business.”

But it’s not just the clients who suffer from a broken system; the mass exodus of solicitors from the sector has been fuelled by the poor employee experience. Winchester added:

“Conveyancing firms need to up their game when it comes to protecting and supporting their staff practically and emotionally. Reports of conveyancers being verbally abused by clients and estate agents are common. The process is sometimes out of their control, but the customer journey is well within it, and if it isn’t working, both the customer and the employee experience will always be compromised.”

There is much work to do in streamlining and digitalising industry processes. Still, individual firms can quickly improve the customer experience by reviewing their existing customer journey, says Winchester. Enabling a firm to view the company through its customers’ eyes, CX Reviews (more commonly known as mystery shopping) can identify areas for improvement, map out different scenarios and put contingency plans in place for if, and when, problems arise.

“If we continue to see a downturn in the property market, conveyancing firms will have to work harder to secure every bit of business” said Winchester. He concluded that “Those firms who don’t review their systems and processes or seek feedback in order to improve things for staff and clients will be left exposed to a slower market”.

This poll is no longer accepting votes

What issues are you commonly experiencing with lenders? [multiple answers accepted]

4 Responses

  1. Agree with the conclusions here based on 2 very different experiences with lawyers on property transactions over the past 18 months. It’s great that many now have digital onboarding technology in place, which has been a big improvement both internally and for clients – but now is a good time to review the softer side and detail of that onboarding process – make probably a lot of small changes and tweaks, but then also keep it under review to constantly improve.

    There is another opportunity many firms are missing out on – to use digital media and traditional marketing to nurture reltationships with the large number of new conveyancing clients that conveyancers have introduced in the last 2 years. Aiming to reach not just them but also their family, friends and work colleagues for wider private client business that will sustain firms when the conveyancing market calms again. This can also be incorporated in that review of digital communications.

  2. One of the core problems is that many solicitors qualified to practise law, not merely to turn handles as part of a ‘customer experience’.

    The article above is unfortunately one-sided and I have been the victim often enough of ‘a lack of veracity’ on the part of SOME estate agents to know all too well the reasons why clients normally get riled.

    You cannot simplify conveyancing merely by digitisation and politicians are constantly making matters worse by interfering with property law. The Building Safety Act 2022 is nearly 400 pages long!

    Try selling property in Spain. I used to work closely with a Spanish lawyer.

    Lets have a proper debate

  3. I got an email the other day from this company. I was about to delete it but then decided to take a look. Its something called wiggywam.co.uk the name put me off. But actually there is something in this. Why as an industry don’t we know about services like this that are out there? CAn you not collate solutions like this for us? This wont cost our firm much to sign up

Want to have your say? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more stories

Join over 7,000 conveyancing professionals – Check back daily for all the latest news, views, insights and best practice and sign up to our e-newsletter to receive our daily and weekly round ups

You’ll receive the latest updates, analysis, and best practice straight to your inbox.