After months of discussion, debate and at times confusion, Price Transparency is nearly here. I want to talk about the opportunity it could possibly create for your firm. I’ll try and stay away from the regulations, templates, averages and doing the bare minimum and look at the key subliminal message I think is sitting in these changes.
By now the subject has been talked to death across the profession but I think it’s important to start with the fact that price transparency changes are here to help consumers. This is about consumers and giving them more informed choice. It’s not about creating a race to the bottom and it’s not about creating disruption to the market. If you can keep those thoughts to the forefront of the changes you make, then success, in my opinion, will be inevitable.
So that subliminal message I mentioned, what is it? I think it’s the ability to understand what your firm is good at it, what makes you different, what does your typical customer look like and then being able to deliver that in the appropriate way across your business. Delivering that may be via your website, on the phone, in marketing collateral and across each touch point your customers interact with you.
Let’s look at the start of those touch points of which I think there are 3:
3) Walk in
Starting with your website. How many law firms’ websites do you see stating how old the firm is and how many staff they have? The customer doesn’t care! They want to know what type of services you offer, the cost of those services and how you deliver them. Too often this information gets lost. The bit I want to focus on is the how you deliver part. If, as a business ,you have invested in technology to improve the client facing side of the legal process, then tell your customers this, it could be the difference to them making the call to you or another firm. Put it on your homepage, explain when they are on that first phone call that you have an app or portal that they can upload documents on. Talk them through how the journey looks.
This theory applies across the board. I was speaking to a firm last week at a seminar who were telling me how they offer a really personal touch of home visits for elderly clients who struggle with the ID side of things, I went on their website and not a single mention of this, yet it’s a differentiator for them. It’s likely that family members will be involved in the decision making process for elderly clients so painting the picture on your website could be crucial to securing more clients and frankly who wouldn’t buy into that style of service?
Let’s say you’re a traditional high street firm. A potential customer had an offer accepted over the weekend, the agent is pushing them to instruct their conveyancer but the customer works in the town and would like to be able to pop in to see you. It’s a First Time Buyer. The customer calls up at 09:05am on a Monday morning and the secretary answers the phone. She’s got 43 unread emails since Friday and the post has just landed, the pile of post reaches the top of the desk. This could be a long day.
The secretary quotes the client by taking some basic details and giving him the figures, she asks if he would like the quote by email and emails it across and that’s that. She’s dealt with the call in under 3 minutes and can start with those emails. Now I’m a big believer that you can only control the controllables – therefore, what happens when the agents recommendation calls the customer? The opportunity here has probably been missed. Let’s look at how it was missed. If the secretary had engaged with the client, she would have found out that he only works around the corner, maybe they could’ve dropped his paperwork round to him during his lunch and she would’ve found out that he would of quite liked to have popped in. All of which would have helped win the instruction. Would the client have been wiling to pay a bit more for this? I certainly think he would. 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience according to a recent survey from EConsultancy. The key take away here is that price regulation is not all about price, you can win more business by understanding your demographic and your clients. You can only do that by engaging with them and asking engaging questions.
The final touch point is the walk in. Probably the least common out of the 3, however it is the opportunity which provides the greatest conversion opportunity. Let’s be honest, if you can’t get them to say yes whilst they are under your roof, then that’s not a good sign.
The first thing to talk about here is that a walk in suggests the client wants their hand holding, face to face interaction and is reaching out to you for help. Here you’ve got a great opportunity to really map out your client’s journey and paint the picture of your service. You can even get them to provide ID and start completing some of the documents. It’s important that you ask for the business and give them a positive experience, try not to keep them waiting too long, make them feel welcome and engage with them about their buying or selling experience. There’s often other work that can be derived from this type of engagement such as wills, trusts and probate. If this is how the majority of your business is won, then you need to sell this story. A great example of this is a simple video on your website, guiding them through the door, into a meeting room, speaking to a friendly face, filling out some documents and a good firm hand shake on the way out. Your future clients can then really feel that experience. Visual communication is proven to be the preferred medium to gain knowledge and has numerous other benefits.
I’ll leave you with one final thought, to enable yourself to embrace these changes you need to really understand your firms customer profile and target market. Have you ever asked that target market what they would have wanted from their first touch point with you? You might just be surprised…..