With many legal firms now reviewing how they can reopen their offices to visitors in light of the relaxation in Coronavirus lockdown restrictions, as many as two-thirds of their clients could be happy to continue to engage with them via virtual means.
That's according to a survey of almost 2,000 clients who have used Fosters Solicitors LLP services within the last 12 months. The confidential and anonymous study, conducted by insight6, has helped us understand and guide what is expected of us by our clients post-lockdown.
The findings have highlighted that although clients are looking to quickly re-engage face-to-face, with 40% of respondents wishing to visit within a month of re-opening, the increased use of online technology during this time will only continue - with 66% signalling they are happy to conduct a meeting with their solicitor over a webinar call.
Expectations on what, if any, preventative measures people would expect to see at offices saw the majority of people assuming the provision of hand sanitiser (75.4%), being seated apart (63.5%) and receptionists stationed behind screens (43.4%) - whereas a smaller proportion expected gloves (26.6%) and face masks to be worn (39.3%).
Chief Executive of Fosters Solicitors, Chris Brown said: "The health and well-being of our clients and staff during this time has been very important to us, and in continuing to provide our services during the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been committed to working with clients to understand how they wish to communicate with us when face-to-face meetings have been restricted and offices closed in adherence to Government guidelines.
"To maintain this commitment we have commissioned a survey to measure how confident our legal clients are feeling on re-engaging with us face-to-face now restrictions are being relaxed. We wanted to make sure that any safety precautions we put in place at our branches are what our clients want and feel comfortable with.
"This survey will help us shape our plans for welcoming back clients to our offices in the next few weeks and also our commitment to new methods of online communication that have become the norm over recent months."
Other key findings of the survey include:
- 26.6% of respondents would expect to see our team wearing gloves and 27.8% to have gloves available to use by clients.
- 39.3% would expect to see the person they were meeting wearing a face mask and 43.4% to see reception team members behind a screen.
- Hand sanitiser is the most anticipated precaution with 75.4% highlighting this, while 63.5% would expect to be seated two-metres apart from their legal representative. 4.9% would expect to see none of these stated options.
- 53% of those who responded stated it would influence their decision to visit if these measures were not in place, with 47% saying it wouldn't.
- 40% said they would be likely to visit Fosters within a month of branches re-opening, 24% between two to three months, 7% between three to six months and 29% between six to twelve months.
- The services these clients are likely to need in the future saw the following responses: 32.4% for Wills/Probate; 16.4% for a family matter; 46.7% for conveyancing services; 4.9% regarding an employment matter; 2.9% commercial and 19.7% stated other.
- Clients were asked if they would be prepared to use an online webinar call to speak to their legal representative - 66% said yes, 16% said no and 18% said they weren't sure.
- 36% said they would be extremely confident that the correct measures would be in place on their next visit to Fosters, 41% very confident, 20% somewhat confident, 1% not very confident and 2% not at all confident.
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