Consumers happier than ever with legal services

The Legal Services Consumer Panel Tracker Survey reveals a general 4% increase in consumer satisfaction levels in 2021.

Despite most legal services currently being provided remotely due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the Legal Services Consumer Panel Tracker Survey reveals that 83% of consumers remain satisfied with the level of service received in 2021, a slight increase from 79% in 2012. The survey shows that satisfaction with the outcome of services has also increased from 84% to 89% over the same period.

The survey, which gathers responses from over 3,500 consumers, also revealed that most consumers (60%) who used a legal service during the Covid-19 pandemic said that the experience was as they expected. However, consumers were more likely to say that the experience was better (26%) than they expected rather than being worse (10%).

Although the use of remote legal services was increasing prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, delivery of services through online methods has more than doubled from 21% of all services to 44% in 2021.

Particular areas of service level satisfaction that have increased since 2012 are:

  • The clarity of information on the costs to be charged – increased (78% vs. 70%).
  • The clarity of information on the service to be provided – increased (82% vs. 76%).
  • The extent to which you were treated as an individual, not just another file – increased (76% vs. 70%).
  • The knowledge of how to make a complaint, if people were dissatisfied with the service that they received, has increased from 48% to 56%.

Additionally, in 2021:

  • Legal services were more likely to be self-funded than they were in 2012 (69% from 56%).
  • There has been a large increase in the use of fixed fee arrangements (52% from 38%).
  • Overall, perceptions that the service received was value for money have increased from 58% of consumers in 2012 to 65% in 2021.

The survey also shows that satisfaction levels across all elements of service provision remained high in 2021. The clarity of information on the service to be provided (82%), professionalism (82%), the quality of the advice (81%) and clear explanation of the matter (81%) have the highest satisfaction levels across different service elements.

In line with the previous year 65% of consumers say that the overall service and advice provided is good value for money, with just 9% of consumers say that the service they received is poor value for money.

However, there are some interesting differences by the type of legal service consumers accessed. Those using a service for family matters were most likely to say that the experience was better than they expected (35%). With those using conveyancing most likely to say that the service was worse than they expected (15%).

Consumers that used a will writing service displayed the highest levels of satisfaction with all elements of service, and 77% of consumers found it to be the best value for money service.

Other practice areas that scored highly in value for money amongst consumers were employment disputes (74%) and problems with consumer services or goods (71%).

While overall levels of satisfaction with legal services provided remain high, consumers who felt they had limited choice of provider or who wanted to shop around but did not know how to, were more likely to be dissatisfied with the service they received.

Sarah Chambers, chair of panel, praised legal services providers on their ability to adapt to the pandemic by substantially increasing their offer of online services:

“Going forward we encourage regulators to support providers in continuing to be creative in how they deliver their services, taking the needs of all their customers into account. While shopping around has increased over the last ten years, past experience or personal recommendations have remained the most popular ways to choose service providers, highlighting the importance of providing every client with a high quality service.”

“Providers and regulators must now work harder to develop objective indicators of quality to empower clients with the information they need.”

The survey can be viewed in full here.

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