In the year that firms battled to move forward from the pandemic, Plume PR were faced with a new set of challenges – political turmoil, energy hikes, labour shortages and a cost of living crisis. Consumers have needed answers and continued to reach out for support and as a result, the change in communications behaviour that they experienced throughout 2020 and 2021 has stuck around.
When people get in touch, they expect 5* service and this provides an opportunity for law firms to stand out and prove they care. With that in mind, Bernadette Bennett, head of legal at leading outsourced communications provider, Moneypenny, shares the 2022 stats that you can’t ignore as you shape your 2023 client care strategy:
- 45% people spend longer on the phone to firms than they did 3 years ago and callers are likely to have more urgent, complex and sensitive needs.
As a result, the calls we do make are getting longer. These are the calls that firms really can’t afford to miss. Those that appreciate the fact that inbound calls are driven by a specific need and give callers the time they need to find a solution, are the ones who will have happier, more fulfilled customers as a result.
- The phone still comes out on top as consumers’ favourite method of contacting a firm, 35% of people prefer this method of communication.
People want real conversations with real people and aside from face-to-face meetings or video calls – which people are quickly tiring of post-lockdown – only the phone will do.
- 90% of people get frustrated when firms don’t include a phone number on their website.
Too often, businesses attempt to discourage people from calling by purposefully omitting a phone number on their website. For others, poor website design makes it hard to find. Either way, it tells clients that accessibility is limited. This is a huge source of frustration to consumers and should be actively avoided. Being accessible, approachable and personable is the first step to delivering.
- Over the last three months cold calls to all sectors are up 23% on the same period last year.
With cold calls on the increase it can be difficult for businesses to filter out the noise so they can focus on the calls that really matter – namely those from clients and prospects. Businesses need measures in place so that even when switchboards are busy, customer care is not compromised.
- Following a badly handled call, 36% of people will take their business elsewhere, 34% will make a complaint and a quarter will leave a negative review
A poor call experience can trigger a number of different reactions – all of which are detrimental to a firm’s bottom line and reputation. First impressions count and bad ones can be difficult – impossible even – to recover from.
- 75% of people say good client service is a powerful differentiator.
By mastering the art of call handling, firms can make their phones ring and boost the bottom line in the process. With the right knowledge, telephone communication can be transformed into a vital tool to improve the client experience, drive revenue and get ahead of the competition.
- Poor client care habits continue to irritate consumers – with phone calls not being answered (43%) and annoying hold music (34%) topping the list of gripes.
Further phone annoyances include:
- Complex automated phone messages 30%
- Being told to check the website 30%
- Having to leave a voicemail 23%
- Feeling rushed and not listened to 21%
- Background call centre noise 19%
- 46% of our chats occur outside the 9-5.
If you’re failing to offer 24/7/365 service, then you could be missing out on serious business. The ability to capture and handle enquiries outside of office hours and at the weekend can transform a website’s ROI.
- Live chat technology generates six times more website engagement.
Live chat encourages visitors who wouldn’t otherwise take the time to email or call, to engage with you.
Through live chat, agents can start proactive conversations with personalised auto-prompts that are tailored to your FAQs or specific pages. This encourages interaction and nudges web visitors into enquiring and sharing their details.
- Generally Tuesday is the quietest day for an enquirer to call a company, and 11:00 is the least busy time, followed by 08:00 and 17:00.
Client communications is a 24/7 consideration through and it’s simply not good enough for clients to be left hanging on the line at any time of the day or year. There are many cost effective solutions available to ensure enquirers can get through to companies whenever suits them.
- Cold calls to law firms are increasing – they now account for 3% of calls.
Cold call volumes have been increasing steadily in the legal sector since 2020, although they’re not yet back to pre-Covid levels. Among Moneypenny’s clients, which include 75 of the top 300 legal firms, cold sales calls accounted for 67,000 of legal firms’ calls in 2020, 70,000 in 2021 and 72,500 in 2022 (to date) – compared with 82,000 in 2019.
- Almost a quarter of all calls to legal firms are now new enquiries. January, February and June the highest for new enquiries – which accounted for 24% of calls compared with 21%, 22% and 21% respectively in 2021.
For legal firms, many of whom may already feel inundated with work or be struggling with recruitment, this signals a need to really revisit and reinvigorate their customer service and communications practices so they’re efficient as possible and able to keep up with demand.
Bernadette added: “Quality client service inspires trust and builds loyalty, so in 2023, take the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your clients and solidify your reputation as a company that cares.
“Consistency is crucial. Quality of service should never depend on the employee that answers, time of day or situation. Firms must set a standard and stick to it – always striving to exceed expectations where possible.”