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Are conveyancers good at what they do?

One of the most frequent criticisms of the home buying and selling process is about legal delays – slowing down the conveyancing process, causing chains to break, creating frustration and fury. Is it all the law firms’ fault?

The Negotiator

Broken property chain image

One of the most frequent complaints from buyers and sellers is that while the agents may be doing everything they can to agree – and complete a sale, the legal machine is so slow and erratic, that sales are delayed and even lost, usually unnecessarily. So is that true?

Shopper Anonymous recently conducted the largest ever UK Mystery Shopping survey, called, ‘The Client Journey Project’. This project involved 85 law firms across the UK. The purpose of this activity was to explore a client’s journey when requiring services from law firms.

The Client Journey Project involved a series of mystery shopping methods using walk in office enquiries, website enquiries and telephone enquiries.

The project explored a variety of basic scenarios including property purchase, rental agreements, wills and probate and commercial business structure.


Highly trained mystery shoppers were asked to walk into a firm and seek help with a legal issue. They found:

  • 65 per cent of clients would contact this firm in the future
  • 60 per cent of clients would recommend the services of the firm
  • 35 per cent of client received an ‘added value’ experience

The findings highlighted that on many occasions law firms could be missing out on potential business due to a lack of customer service and attentiveness.

In 71 per cent of instances, the mystery shopper spoke with a solicitor or conveyancer within the practice yet surprisingly only seven per cent of queries were followed up.

50 per cent of receptionists provided the name of the contact that clients would be seeing, however, 49 per cent of firms did not use the client’s name during meetings. In only 25 per cent of cases did the solicitor maintain contact with the client to gain future business.


As our society continues to become more reliant on digital services and clients increasingly use the web as a first point of contact when seeking new services, it is important that businesses take advantage of this powerful marketing platform.

When exploring queries through law firm’s websites, the mystery shoppers found:

  • 59 per cent of clients would contact the firm again
  • 59 per cent of clients would recommend the firm
  • 25 per cent of clients received an ‘added value’ experience

Although 88 per cent of firms responded to the original query, only 24 per cent actually spoke to the client and just six per cent of queries were followed up by firms.

How businesses represent themselves online, whether it be through content or visual aids, can make the difference between a client making contact or not.

In 71 per cent of ‘walk-in’ enquiries, the mystery shopper spoke with a solicitor or conveyancer – just 7 per cent of those enquiries were followed up.

All websites investigated included contact details, but not all mentioned information such as where they were located. This can be particularly important in property law, when clients on many occasions prefer to use a firm local to them.

Approximately a third of clients felt that emails were not personalised. Additionally, a fifth of clients noted that emails were poorly written, including spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It was also noted that some firms used irrelevant or inappropriate visual aids to sell their services online.


While conducting over four hundred calls during and after opening hours, Shopper Anonymous found:

  • 57 per cent of clients would contact this firm again
  • 56 per cent of clients would recommend the law firm
  • 32 per cent of the time the client received an ‘added value’ experience

Over 50 per cent of clients were happy with the customer service they received, noting the solicitors to be helpful, polite and professional. However the report did highlight areas of improvement for some firms.

In telephone enquiries, 57 per cent of solicitors didn’t ask for the client’s name and only 6 per cent of telephone enquiries were followed up. With voicemail enquiries, 45 per cent of law firms didn’t call back.

For example, just 43 per cent of receptionists asked for or used the client’s name. Only 31 per cent of receptionists told the client who they were speaking to and just under half of firms took contact details from the client. It comes as no surprise that just six per cent of telephone queries were then followed up.

Additionally when calling a firm out of office hours mystery shoppers found five per cent of firms did not even have an answerphone for clients to leave a message. When leaving a voicemail, 45 per cent of law firms did not call back the client.

Providing useful information such as confirming the company name, the services on offer and the benefits available when using your firm can encourage a client to call back. Over a third of firms did not mention the advantages of their services on their answerphone. All of which provides the client with the opportunity to consider other alternatives.

Overall this report provides useful information for law firms to consider when reflecting on customer service, communication strategies, as well as powerful sales and marketing tools to help generate business and stand out against competitors.

For more information about any of the products and services from Searches UK visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. Alternatively call them directly on 0800 043 1815 or email them at [email protected].


Searches UK is one of the UK’s leading search providers, specialising in a full range of professional conveyancing services for both residential and commercial properties. With a team of industry professionals and expert search agents, providing a fast, reliable, accurate and cost effective service is a priority. In addition to conveyancing searches, Searches UK offer unique products, indemnity insurance policies and free CPDs to provide clients with all the tools and knowledge required to lead a successful and professional business. For information about our products and service on the move, download the free Searches UK App from the Apple & Android App store.

For more information contact:
T: 0800 043 1815
E: [email protected] 

February 3, 2017

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