Website Fee Estimate Tools increase enquiry rates eightfold
An impact study completed in November with the support of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers has demonstrated an eightfold increase in the number of enquiries a conveyancing website generates when an instant fee estimate tool is added.
The study was completed by Tonic Works and supported by OneSearch Direct, and is believed to be the first study of its kind to assess the impact of adding an instant fee estimate tool to a firm’s website.
In December 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published its final market study report into the supply of legal services in England and Wales, finding that competition in legal services was not working well for consumers. As a result the CMA asked regulators of legal services to revise their regulatory requirements to set a new minimum standard for disclosures on price and service.
In response to the study, in September 2017, the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) along with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) proposed a framework for the firms they regulate to provide an accurate cost estimate for sale and purchase conveyancing transactions.
The framework suggests law firms publish a schedule of fees or provide an instant conveyancing estimate tool on their website in order to produce a transparent cost estimate for consumers. The impact study utilised the framework in order to create an instant estimate tool that captured the information deemed necessary to produce an accurate cost estimate instantly.
The results of the study clearly indicate that having an instant conveyancing estimate tool on a website generates a much larger volume of enquiries than having a website without a tool - good news for law firms who may be concerned about publishing their prices on their websites when the new price transparency regulations come into force later this year.
According to research published by the Legal Services Board (LSB) in November 2017 in Prices of Individual Consumer Legal Services 2017 only 11% of firms currently advertise any prices for conveyancing services on their website, and although 9% were planning to start advertising prices, 74% had no current plans to do so.
Stephen Ward, Director of Strategy and External Relations at the Council for Licensed Conveyancers said:
“This study provides useful evidence as the legal sector regulators continue to shape our responses to recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority on making more information available to help consumers choose their lawyer. It is an eloquent proof that the new transparency regime will hold opportunities for innovative firms.”
Matthew Pennington, Director of Tonic Works and author of the impact study said:
“Law Firms who are not currently offering instant fee estimates through their website are clearly missing out on enquiries - new business that is likely going to their competitors instead. With conveyancing referral fees in the spotlight as a result of the DCLG call for evidence on the homebuying process, conveyancers should seize the opportunity that the new fee transparency regulations will create in order to win more business directly from consumers through their own website, and sleep soundly knowing they aren’t reliant on third parties to supply their caseload.”