Are conveyancers losing money due to an outdated onboarding process?
Business leaders significantly underestimate how much inefficiency is costing them. It’s too easy to ignore the bigger picture and stick with an “it’s not perfect, but it works” attitude.
But what if fixing that imperfect process unlocked 15% more capacity for you to take on extra clients without increasing your workforce? What would that look like for your top and bottom line?
You might think it’s unlikely that improving one process could save you so much, but you’d be surprised.
We recently conducted analysis across a number of legal firms and found that out of 30,000 transactions, only 5% of their onboarding forms were completed correctly the first time.
That means 95% – a massive 28,500 customers – were completing forms incorrectly. And that only accounted for the people who actually took the time to complete the form.
What about the clients being lost because their process was too complicated? What about the cost in solicitor and support staff time to chase customers? What about the impact on the customer journey?
A house purchase is both costly and emotional, so how would you feel if you experienced this type of onboarding process?
Ways to improve your onboarding process
Make forms easy and accessible
The first step to increased efficiency is making the forms as easy as possible for customers to complete.
In this example, we reviewed a client’s onboarding questionnaire forms and with the help of their solicitors, cut the number of questions down from 210 to 102.
We did this a number of ways:
- Identifying the questions that could be consolidated or removed due to duplication
- Making it easier for customers to complete by rewriting questions using simpler vocabulary
- Moving questions to a later stage of the process for the benefit of the customer
While it might seem like a good idea to collect all the information early on, it makes extra work for the customer and opens up more opportunities for error. Focus on collecting the essential data correctly the first time, and at the most appropriate time.
Use dynamic digital forms
One of the many benefits of digitalising forms is that you can make it completely dynamic, with the answer to one question influencing which question comes next. This reduces the time taken to enter data and creates a better experience for the customer.
You can also include information buttons that give example answers or further information for questions that aren’t straightforward.
Plus, built-in error-proofing makes it difficult for users to enter incorrect details. For example, the user will get an error message if they enter a postcode that isn’t recognised.
Digital forms can be integrated with your existing systems, automatically feeding data to the relevant places for downstream processes.
What options are there for digital forms?
As with most investments, you can choose from a wide range of options varying in price, quality and functionality. Solutions typically fall into two categories – apps, and a web portal.
Starting with apps – there are some fantastic proprietary or ‘off-the-shelf’ apps on offer that cover customer onboarding across multiple sectors. They all have a good level of functionality and customisable features. However, be aware of how much time and resource it will take to develop the conveyancing process functionality you need.
Another consideration is to use an onboarding app designed by conveyancers, for conveyancers. This way, there is less risk in the investment, you can get started quickly and will see the benefits earlier.
A mobile app allows users to store the information locally (on their device) and can be used offline. Data can then be synced, uploaded, or updated when a connection becomes available. An added benefit of mobile apps is the potential to send push notifications, prompting users to complete information, or sending updates about their case. However, apps need to be developed to work with different operating systems, which essentially means creating at least two versions – one for Android, and one for iOS.
Web portals are typically more suited to desktop or large screen device use, but there are also some mobile responsive options available. Web portals are developed in a similar way to websites, but with more backend functionality. They can be integrated into your existing website and are often lower cost than mobile applications.
Of course, it is also possible to have both a web portal and a mobile app, giving your customers more choice and flexibility.
Is the investment worth it when going digital?
In the case of what we are seeing on the ground at conveyancing firms, there is no better opportunity to scale a conveyancing business using technology. In addition to the onboarding example in this blog, there are various other conveyancing tasks that can be simplified and automated.
By simplifying tasks, automating decisions and developing new operating models, we are seeing capacity gains with our conveyancing clients ranging between 10% and 25%. Plus, on average, they have seen a ROI ranging from 3:1 to 10:1.
However, businesses must take the time to improve all processes and customer touch points before selecting and implementing costly and time-consuming technology.
But time saved to do more with less isn’t the only advantage of going digital. By improving your processes, you’ll also benefit from:
- Better customer experience – making it easier for customers to interact by improving the customer journey
- Reducing risk and keeping the SRA happy – error-proof system for data entry, to reduce risk and stay compliant
- Increase revenue and cash flow – onboard clients faster, complete transactions sooner, improve service levels for brokers and lenders, increase referrals
- Increase profits – eliminate time wasted by solicitors and support staff by reducing non-value-adding tasks
- Improve employee engagement – reduce the amount of solicitor time spent on administrative tasks, so they can focus on using their knowledge
Taking all the above on board, would you agree that going digital is worth the investment?
Colin McArdle is founder and Managing Partner of Time Consulting Group and has worked with conveyancing organisations to develop their operational efficiency. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt (MBB) with deep expertise in digital transformation, operational excellence and business process re-engineering. He has developed a unique approach to finding and unlocking capacity for conveyancers by using a combination of task simplification, digitalisation, operating model redesign and operational management best practice.