The percentage of people using legal services in the past three years has remained steady but consumers are less satisfied with the services they receive, a new report from YouGov SixthSense reveals.
The “Legal Services 2013” report shows that 28% of Britons used a law firm or solicitor in the three years to January 2013, compared to 31% in the three years to 2011. The main areas utilised were wills and probate services (30%), conveyancing (25%) and personal injury / accidents / medical negligence (12%).
The research found that just 20% of those using law firms and solicitors in the last three years have been asked to complete client satisfaction surveys.
Additionally, the SixthSense report shows that cost is an increasingly important factor when people are selecting legal services providers. 77% now say that the price of legal fees plays a part in where they use for legal services, up from 71% two years ago. This means cost is now the second most important factor behind experience and qualifications (85%) when choosing a provider.
The increasing importance of price comes at a time when consumers are looking for alternatives to traditional legal services providers. Citizens Advice Bureaux have been used by 13% of consumers, while 4% have used claims management companies and legal telephone helplines. Additionally, 59% of Britons would potentially be interested in legal services from well-known brands, such as Virgin and the Co-operative (which already offers legal services).
James McCoy, YouGov SixthSense Research Director, says: “The economic stagnation is reshaping what consumers look for when it comes to legal advice. People are starting to see the law as a consumer service and want to know that they are getting value for money. That so few customer satisfaction surveys are taking place should concern traditional providers as they will be unaware that many of these issues exist. The need for people to get value for money could play into the hands of more mainstream consumer brands wanting to establish themselves in the legal services sector.”