Why LSB drive to ‘transform relationships between consumers and legal services providers’ matters

Last year, the LSB launched a consultation on its draft statutory policy statement. Focused on ‘empowering customers’, the industry body has set clear expectations for the legal sector.

Last year, the LSB launched a consultation on its draft statutory policy statement.

Focused on ‘empowering customers’, the industry body has set clear expectations for the legal sector in a bid to ‘transform the relationships between consumers and legal services providers and promote a culture of increased transparency, openness, and accountability.’

The draft policy follows two reports from the CMA, which savaged the industry as ‘not working in the interests of consumers.’

Helen Phillips, LSB Chair, said:

‘We want to work with the regulators to build on the progress made so far and make it easier for consumers to make informed and effective choices when choosing a legal services provider.’

 

Setting policy expectations

With customer empowerment the guiding theme, the LSB now expects legal services providers to help customers understand:
  • Information on pricing, quality, service, redress, and regulation
  • How to better engage with the legal services market
  • When they need legal advice
  • How to get legal assistance
 
The statement of policy outlines specific expectations, particularly across the provision of information.
  • Price

You will need to provide greater detail on your pricing model, hourly and indicative fixed fees, scale of disbursements and typical range of costs. This is in line with the SRA’s push for increased price transparency – and important, since clear pricing information on a website is a dominant factor (83%) when a customer chooses a legal services provider.
 
  • Quality

Customers should be shown any information about the quality of your work, service, and outcomes. If suitable, also provide quantitative performance data, feedback, and reviews. Customers should be shown your disciplinary and enforcement records, and complaint decisions published by the Legal Ombudsman, if applicable.
 
  • Service, redress, and regulation

To improve consumer choice, the LSB advises that you engage in ‘the provision of useful information’. Contact information, service descriptions and key stages, your regulatory status, and PII cover.
 
All of this information should be up-to-date and accurate; easy to find and easy to understand. A separate hub on your website would be an ideal space.
 

What the policy means in practical terms

Putting the client first is nothing new. The LSB has been championing the empowerment of customers for many years now. But as technology shifts the way people interact with companies, including professional services, especially after the last two years, the policy statement is reminder that more must be done to make legal services accessible to all.

Can you move ahead of the market?
  • Review your existing processes – Identify operations or information droughts that impact service.
  • Collect feedback – use feedback, surveys, and reviews to see where you excel, and where the service can be enhanced.
  • Introduce new processes – act on the proposal while it’s still under consultation, providing the information customers (and the LSB) want to see. Gain internal buy-in with key stakeholders early for stronger results.
 

Adapting to the market

Today’s modern customer has more choice and access than ever before. Absolutely everything is only a click away. If your law firm isn’t offering what they want – whether it’s face-to-face meetings or straightforward pricing info – competitors will. Because that creates clear separation in a crowded marketplace. Because that’s the direction the industry is starting to move.

A consistent customer journey is critical. From the moment the click your site in the Google search results to the moment they shake your hand and say, ‘thank you very much’, service should be seamless between online and offline.

It means being where your customers are looking for legal services – Google, Facebook, advice forums, wherever it may be. Reaching out to them on their terms. Review and comparison websites like The Law Superstore are proving increasingly popular year-on-year, with the UK Legal Services Consumer Research Report 2021 calling it a ‘watershed moment for digital comparison sites.’

Self-service is another, sometimes controversial, area that chimes with the policy statement’s intent to make information easily accessible and understandable for customers. A hub or knowledgebase is one way to provide critical data to customers (and free up time for partners to put their skills to better use adding value elsewhere).

Larger law firms will already be investigating self-service options. Popular with customers, it helps them feel more in control of their cases, managing documentation online as they would their car insurance. If that level of technology is beyond your firm, identify where client communications and updates could be improved – potentially even automated – instead.
 

The Law Superstore champions customer empowerment

Four in ten people have accessed legal services in the last two years. Yet, despite this, the LSB says, ‘for too long, too many people and small businesses who need legal support have been unable to navigate the legal services market and get the help they need.’

And the organisation is prepared to deploy regulations to ensure ‘legal services providers offer helpful information to consumers about the cost and quality of their services and on redress and regulation’ and ‘improve the public understanding of the citizen’s legal rights and duties.’

The Law Superstore strongly believes improved access, increased transparency, and demystifying the law is good for customers, the industry, and partners. Our platform connects you to the people who need you.

Start your free trial and reach out to new clients who are actively searching for your legal expertise.
 
 
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Steve Clark

Steve creates helpful guides for The Law Superstore. He enjoys digging deep into new areas of the law, supporting partners, and translating legalese and jargon into plain English everyone can understand.

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