"Now is the time to reflect and review processes though, as it’s clear there are many things we can improve as an industry and improving communications between all parties is a priority high on that list."
The number of exchanges between clients and conveyancing solicitors spiked last month as the rush to meet the stamp duty holiday increased communications pressures on the industry, the latest analysis from Moneypenny shows.
Sales progression calls were up by 20% in June compared to the previous month as clients panicked about missing the extended deadline and risked being overlooked for the tax break.
Over the seven days running up to the deadline of 30th June, there was an overall call volume increase of 5% in comparison to the week before.
Before the pandemic, it is estimated there were a minimum of six inbound calls per week, per case from stakeholders including estate agent, client, vendor’s solicitor and mortgage broker.
Moneypenny's research shows that the increase in requests for updates on transactions has affected productivity and customer experience, as many firms failed to get a handle on changing demand.
Customer expectations were further complicated by estate agents forecasting optimistic exchange and completion times, as well as lenders, search companies and surveyors all experiencing operational difficulties.
Bernadette Bennett, head of legal sector at Moneypenny, said: “The stamp duty holiday deadline combined with an industry-wide shift in working style has created pressure on an already groaning system, with consumers relying upon conveyancers operating remotely, many without effective communication technology.
“With the prospect of hefty savings on offer, clients were understandably desperate to reach their conveyancers and push transactions along the chain. As a result, a law firm’s ability to respond requests became more important than ever. Quality of call handling, speed of response and efficacy of message taking have all been placed under scrutiny.
“Now the stamp duty holiday deadline has passed, conveyancing businesses are learning from the experiences of the pandemic and exploring ways they can protect their staff from experiencing the same pressures in future.
“Consumers will continue to place high importance on client care and now’s the time for firms to invest in support with the ability to future-proof their operations and give them an edge on competitors for years to come.”
Karen Rodrigues, sales director at eConveyancer, commented: “These figures are no surprise and the fact that, as an industry, we managed to get so many cases completed in time is a testament to how estate agents, mortgage brokers, lenders and solicitors can all work together to achieve the right outcome for customers.
Now is the time to reflect and review processes though, as it’s clear there are many things we can improve as an industry and improving communications between all parties is a priority high on that list.”
Clare Yates, conveyancing founder of CY Training Works, added: “A conveyancer has an average caseload of 100 matters, which mounts up to 600 inbound calls per week. For some law firms with caseloads of 150 or more, the volume could reach over 1,000 and that’s on top of inbound emails requesting the same information.
“Many have already increased their fees, reduced their caseloads and are looking at the best ways to communicate with all stakeholders. Outsourcing client care is becoming increasingly popular for firms looking to focus on transactions and deliver the best service possible.”