You never know who’s on the other end of the line…

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We recently conducted our ‘secret shopper’ survey into communication between law firms and their clients for the third consecutive year. The results were as fascinating as ever, showing improvement in some areas but not in all, by any means …   

As technology experts, working with many legal firms to improve their marketing and communications, we have witnessed at first hand the considerable changes in the legal market over the last few years. It’s been interesting to see how some firms have embraced technology to tackle these initiatives and improve client relations, while others are in danger of being left behind.   

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How does the survey work?   

We called 30 leading law firms on three separate occasions and at different points in the day to find out how they each responded to incoming enquiries. These calls were carried out by an independent leading secret shopper service, Shopper Anonymous. The calls focused on employment, conveyancing and will writing and aimed to obtain a quotation for work in those areas. Call time, hold time and time to answer were all tracked using the latest communication technology. It was also noted whether contact details were requested and if follow up communication occurred. As well as scientific metrics in each category, firms were given an overall score out of ten.

The survey said…

So what did we find? Many firms set a requirement that the phone is answered after three rings but then don’t have a means of measuring whether this is in fact happening. The results of the survey revealed that:

  • the average time to answer the phone was 7 seconds

  • the phone rang for 10 seconds or more on 29% of calls

  • the phone rang for 20 seconds or more on 8% of calls

13 firms had individual calls which took more than 10 seconds to answer. This suggests that the three ring rule is being broken by at least 43% of firms at one point or another. However, 2016’s data does compare favourably to 2015, with the average time to answer having reduced from 12.6 seconds.

But this was just one of the categories tested. The survey also looked at the length of time on hold, call routing to someone who could help, whether contact details were requested and if post-call actions took place. A telephone number or email address were actually asked for on a surprisingly low percentage of calls. It’s sobering to reflect on how many opportunities are being missed to speak to someone who could have turned out to be your most valuable customer.    

Don’t miss out  

The full results of the survey, with its wider business implications, have now been published in The Legal Services Communications Report 2016.  

Although there have been some improvements since last year’s research, there is still evidence of a culture where incoming client enquiries are not as highly valued as they could be.

The purpose of the survey, as with all our work, is to help you sell more, grow faster and serve your clients better. Just think how much potential business currently being lost could be captured through small, systematic, customer-centric changes…

Don’t miss out: see how your firm compares and download your free copy of the results here.