Law firms are missing out on a “significant” amount of work because they are failing to effectively follow up on leads, new research has revealed.

First4Lawyers, which published the research, found that while just over a third of law firms followed best practice when handling incoming enquiries, the remaining proportion were failing to effectively convert potential clients.

In the study, mystery shoppers were asked to call or visit the websites of 50 personal injury (PI) law firms and describe their experiences.

The research shows that in a scenario where firms were asked to call back a mystery shopper, just 35 per cent of law firms called back within the recommended 15 minute window. At the other end of the scale, however, just under a quarter (23 per cent) of law firms did not call back for more than two days or at all.

Likewise, just 52 per cent of mystery shoppers said law firms attempted to add value or “go further” for them.

Nevertheless, the quality of the phone call, whether it was in the minutes or days after the initial contact, was rated highly by the majority of mystery shoppers, signifying the importance of a personal response. Four out of five found their “overall treatment” warming and engaging, while 62 per cent of shoppers would “highly recommend” a law firm.

It is also encouraging to see that 84 per cent of initial points of contact via the law firms’ websites led to a telephone conversation.

Commenting on the study, Qamar Anwar, First4Lawyers’ Managing Director, said: “It goes without saying that these are difficult times for PI lawyers. Low-value PI is an unusual market in that there is no real price competition. So, the quality of service, from the moment the phone rings or the email pings, is crucial.

“This is especially important given legal regulators’ efforts to encourage consumers to shop around for a lawyer.

“The dynamics between lawyer and client are changing. Consumers are just one click away from seeing a competitor brand. Firms now need to be doing everything they can stand to out from that competition.”

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