Sentiments Survey Shows A Shift In Client Contact

The Sentiments Survey conducted by Today’s Wills and Probate has shown those in the wills and probate industry are beginning to return to the office, with many mixing working remotely and in the office and many still visiting clients despite the lockdown.

Almost 50% of the respondents were self employed. Of those who were employed 85% remained working throughout the lockdown.

The majority (50%) of those who answered had remained working remotely. This is a drop from the 65% we saw working remotely last month. Only roughly 15% remaining exclusively in the office within the last month and almost 30% working around both the office and from home.

Surprisingly 47% of respondents had been visiting clients throughout lockdown whilst keeping to self distancing rules, with the next majority being those who do not intend to visit clients until social distancing rules are relaxed further. Within the last two weeks almost a quarter had returned to visiting clients, and 12% intended to do so in the next two weeks.

One respondent told us of how they had adapted to social distancing measures:

“We introduced ‘Drive By’ instructions with clients parking in specific bays in our carpark and communicating via carphone to lawyers facing them from a window in the office or through their car windows with lawyers in the carpark. We have a designated covered open air area in the carpark to see clients & sign documents.  We are also doing ‘patio Wills’ seeing clients outside of their homes. All of these initiatives have been very successful and we are extremely lucky to have a carpark to facilitate this.”

When asked whether any of the respondents had received government support, just over 45% had received no help at all. This has remained consistent with the results of the survey last month, that also saw 45% of respondents feeling that measures brought in by the government would be no help to them.

It seems that the furlough system was also not a great success, as just under 20% had either been placed on furlough or as an employer could offer the staff the option of furlough. Just under a quarter had been offered a grant or government loan.

Positively, three quarters of respondents were somewhat to very confident of keeping their job or business, leaving only a quarter not confident or unsure about what the future holds.

When asked if they had seen a downturn or upturn in the last four weeks, comments included:

“Hard to say – more clients seem happier to come in to the office now to sign documents/progress things, but everything is still taking longer as the courts are operating a skeleton staff so grants of representation etc are slower to issue”

“upturn – many more probate enquiries. Some are small estates which don’t need our help, others are more complicated.”

There were still many though that were feeling the effects of the pandemic:

“Significant downturn, lack of interface with prospective clients and lack of client confidence to spend with job security at risk.”

“Downturn in the amount of work I am asked to do but an increase in enquiries with most people ‘ready to do it when things get back to normal’”

When asked about the technology respondents employed to work remotely or for marketing, 90% were using email. Zoom appeared to be the most popular video conferencing app with over three quarter using it, compared to just over a third using Skype.

LinkedIn was the most popular social networking tool, followed by Facebook and then Twitter.

There are those who are seeing the benefits of technology that has been implemented since lockdown:

“Appointments via video call which has also helped in attracting clients living further away.”

Some are even moving to keep the new methods of client contact:

“Video chat appointments. All instruction taking for new clients. No face to face instructions. Works well. Will continue to provide this service.”

Others though have struggled with attracting client through the use of technology:

“I have introduced a system to take simple instructions via a form on my website, but I still draft the Will and provide basic advice. Unfortunately there has been no take up with this.”

Let us know how your business has managed over the last month and whether new technologies have either helped or hindered contact with clients on [email protected]

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