“Price transparency should be seen as an opportunity for firms”

The proposed introduction of price transparency could provide firms with a positive opportunity to differentiate their services from competitors.

Speaking at last week’s LFS Conference, speakers from both the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) discussed the importance of improving price transparency within the industry as a whole, touching on the conveyancing sector in particular.

During the breakout sessions hosted by Lawyer Checker, the SRA’s Crispin Passmore was first to speak to the attendees, highlighting why increasing information for consumers was important. He stated that providing a clearer pricing structure would enable consumers to compare prices and make a more informed choice having looked at the type of service which is required.

He also stated that the proposals would boost competition in terms of both price and service, encouraging firms to improve their processes and stand out from the competition.

Later in the day, the CLC’s Stephen Ward also drew attention to the benefits of price transparency in the market, most notably stating that ‘comparability demands standardisation’.

Drawing on both of the talks, the predominant message from the proposals was positive. Whilst many were quick to critique the reform suggestions when initially put forward, this particular view seems to be weakening amongst professionals, or at least being turned on its head.

During the talk from the SRA, one delegate raised the point about consumers being put off particular services upon discovering that they cost more than a competitor. In response, Crispin stated that this was the intended effect of the proposal.

When prices are exposed, Crispin stated, the focus shifts to the quality of service.

Both regulators highlighted the change as an opportunity for firms to set themselves apart and to differentiate themselves from competitors. When consumers are assured that they will be getting a high level of service, the price falls down the list of considerations.

As well as the quality of service, the marketing of the firm will become much more of a priority to consumers should prices become transparent.

Rather than being a race to the bottom as has previously been suggested, it will be up to the firms to communicate that their services reflect the price given, regardless of how high or low it is. Effective marketing has been highlighted as the best way to do this.

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