Clients need out of hours access, but don’t expect firms to respond

The latest industry roundtables from Today’s Wills & Probate and Today’s Conveyancer have focused on the way in which technology has helped law firms to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In many ways, the pandemic has forced a rethink of the way in which the customer interacts with businesses and those who have traditionally had a high street footprint have struggled. The death of the high street has been on cards for some time but the closure of non-essential shops throughout lockdown has seen many organisations who are not geared up for digital, suffer. This has been particularly acute for retail and fashion.

The roundtables have highlighted a feeling in firms that Covid-19 has sped up the need to be “online,” with greater emphasis on managing client interactions. There is an array of tools to help lawyers onboard clients and manage transactional matters such as private client and conveyancing.

Organisations need to find ways to better cater for client’s changing preferences. 2019 saw the volume of Google searches undertaken on mobile exceed the number on desktop. Consumer preferences change; lawyers must change with them.

Research from InCase, which provides a direct link between practitioners and their clients through a phone-based app, looked at client behaviour around the usage of their app; specifically the instant messaging, electronic document signing, ID verification, electronic transfer signing and questionnaire completion tools.

The in-app messaging tool is being used between 7am and 11pm. Instant messages tend to peak during the working day, between 10am and 3pm, as clients and their lawyers interact. But messaging figures continue to be high into the evening, up to 9pm.

The document signing tool sees its peak around 4pm-8pm, a similar time to the questionnaire completions.

Across all the in-app features the peak period of usage is between 4pm and 8pm.

Commenting on the research Rob Hosier, Sales & Marketing Director at InCase says,

“Law firms have the option to adopt tools to help them engage with their clients out of hours. This doesn’t place any pressure on them to respond out of hours, rather it enables clients to respond quickly to requests for information at a time that is convenient for them.”

“The use of apps also provides an additional level of security over email, which is inherently unsafe as we continue to see millions of pounds siphoned off by fraudsters intercepting communications between law firms and their clients.”

“The message here isn’t about making people be available to clients for longer. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of taking a break from work and taking care of our mental health and well-being. This is about being more client-centric as an industry and adapting to changing consumer habits.”

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