Consumers increasingly shrewd about buying legal services
Legal Services Consumer Panel reveals 30 per cent of consumers shop around before choosing a legal service
Research from the Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) has revealed 30 per cent of consumers now admit to shopping around before choosing a legal services provider.
This is an increase from 25 per cent in 2016, and 23 per cent in 2012, but the trend appears to be more prevalent in the young and, consequently, in certain practice areas.
The LSCP’s 2020 tracker on how consumers are choosing legal services reported that 44 per cent of 18-34-year olds would shop around compared to 26 per cent of those aged 55 or older.
The report suggested this was down to the types of legal services that older consumers were likely to use, such as will writing and probate, as these showed a lower propensity for shopping around.
However, it appears that age may be the biggest decider as within conveyancing services it was found that the younger consumer was more likely to shop around than older, 49 per cent of those aged 25-34 years old and 44 per cent of 35-44 year olds, compared with 34 per cent of those aged 55 or older.
It suggests that younger consumers are taking a more sophisticated approach to the procurement of legal services, which will in time apply to will writing and probate well.
The research went on to reveal that 44 per cent of consumers compare three providers and 20% compare four providers.
However, they don’t seem to consider the decision for long with 37 per cent saying the search process took a day or less.
Perceptions of levels of choice in the market have remained unchanged for the past three years according to the report, with 74 per cent of consumers reporting a fair or great deal of choice.
Meanwhile, perceptions of value for money also remain relatively high but static, with 64 per cent saying the overall service and advice provided was good value for money, while 9 per cent said it was poor value for money.
The tracker’s data on how consumers are using legal services found that 97 per cent of consumers are satisfied with face-to-face services.
While satisfaction levels were lowest for online service delivery, which had increased by 10 percentage points from last year to 88 per cent.
Delivery of legal services through email, the internet or online has grown from 21 per cent in 2012 to 34 per cent this year, but compared with 2019 (33 per cent), the level of online delivery is static.
Legal Services Consumer Panel chair Sarah Chambers said: “I am pleased to see that more consumers are shopping around and raising their complaints formally with providers when things go wrong. These developments will improve competition and raise standards in the market.
“We commend regulators for continuing to push the transparency agenda, but we are disappointed to see that consumers are still struggling to find adequate information on price and services. We strongly encourage the regulators to continue to reinforce the current measures and monitor them closely to ensure that they translate to better outcomes.”