Bernadette Bennett is head of legal sector at Moneypenny
As conveyancers juggle bigger caseloads than ever before, the volume of inbound communications have hit an all time high. Alongside chaser calls from clients requesting an update on their sale or purchase, are those from new clients struggling to complete onerous and often complicated onboarding paperwork. It’s here that I believe a dedicated phone line could enable conveyancing teams to expedite transactions more quickly and improve client care.
Conveyancing is extremely admin-heavy. A huge amount of documentation is required from client at the start of the process in particular- including property information forms, fitting and contents, guarantees, certificates, policies and surveys – all of which can be overwhelming.
For the more experienced homebuyer or seller, this paperwork maybe second nature but for others, it can be extremely confusing. When something isn’t straightforward, it’s human nature to request help – but busy conveyancers have not had the time, inclination or resource to respond to all queries and handhold clients through the process. The result is that onboarding takes longer to complete – which in turns delays the process for everyone in the chain.
Launching a helpline could speed up the onboarding process for conveyancing clients, as well as avoid errors in forms and reduce the number of emails and calls back and forward to put things right. Additionally, it can provide a focused response to onboarding queries and divert time-intensive traffic away from the firm’s main telephone line.
Conveyancing expert and founder of CY Training Works, Clare Yates, believes this confusion around forms and the onboarding process also impacts estate agents unnecessarily: “Clients will take the path of least resistance so when they’re unable to reach their conveyancer with queries, they contact their agent instead. Agents know that without conveyancers, they can’t complete on a transaction and get their the all-important commission, so of course, they feel it’s in their interests to help. However, they’re not best placed to offer support with legal documentation – nor is it their role, particulary when they too are time-poor. Lack of support at the start of the conveyancing process impacts the whole property supply chain.”
With the housing market remaining buoyant even after the passing of the SDLT holiday, it has become apparent that a dedicated phone or helpline would ensure that new clients’ specific needs are met, rather than being lost in a deluge of other general enquiries.
A dedicated approach to onboarding would demonstrate a firm’s commitment to the client experience and expediting the sale or purchase as quickly as possible. It’s widely known that vendor compling forms online can help to save 3 weeks from the conveyancing process. I believe that with the extra support of a dedicated phone line, where callers can have FAQs answered, access form-filling advice and have complex queries escalated to conveyancers –even greater time saving benefits could be had.”
By working with an outsourced telephone answering provider, it is quick and simple to set up a dedicated phone line.
Firstly, using a separate number for a helpling means that an outsourced partner can answer and handle all calls with ease on your behalf. It does not need to integrate with in-house telephony nor does it require inhouse resource. All calls can be logged and information passed to the appropriate person or department for follow-up.
You can choose the number too with national 0333, freephone 0800 and regional e.g. 0203 options available to best suit the needs of your audience and brand image.
It is also crucial to think about the greeting the caller receives –a professional and on-brand greeting will make callers feel reassured and confident they’re in the best hands – reducing stress from the off-set.
Take time to also consider how call information should be gathered, logged and shared. Do you want call handlers to capture names, phone numbers and a snapshot of their enquiry before passing the details onto your in-house admin support team or paralegal? For legal firms keen to gather more comprehensive information from callers, it is possible to integrate helpline information with case management systems, quickly turning calls into permanent data records. A good supplier will be able to act as both receptionist and data-inputter.
Managing caller expectations is vital, particularly in times of heightened stress and anxiety, so you will need to consider follow-up strategy. How quickly will callers hear back from one of your team? An outsourced telephone partner will be able to identify your needs and turn them into an effective script that provides an appropriate level of support to callers.
Buying and selling a house is really stressful and highly emotive. It’s also valuable work for firms and the huge volume of instructions of the last year means big money. Nailing the onboarding process means that clients feel confident that they have all their ducks in a row and can hand everything over to the professionals.
Conveyancers can rest assured that they have everything they need to complete the transaction efficiently. This can save weeks on the time leading to exchange – benefiting all parties and freeing up conveyancers to take on the next case.