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Online reviews becoming a hygiene factor not a differentiator

A new report by transformation specialist, Glenesk, shows that consumer law clients are using online reviews more than ever. But with 82% of all reviewers awarding 5 stars, consumers are finding it difficult to distinguish between the best firms.

The use of online reviews has increased 11- fold in the last five years and has more than doubled since the start of lock-down, a trend that is likely to gain further importance given regulatory pressure on the sector to provide greater transparency on their offer. Trustpilot continues to be the dominant review site for consumers, with 112 times more reviews than its closest competitor. 

The report highlights the current limitations and opportunities arising from online reviews. 

Bill Guthrie, Director at Glenesk told The Professionals that “At the moment both consumers and firms concern themselves primarily with the brand of the firm, but our analysis shows that online feedback varies as much between practice areas as it does between firms themselves. 

“In many cases, a firm’s online brand is significantly impacted by one practice area which is less well regarded and around 20% of firms still show no signs of managing their online brand at all.”

The analysis also highlights that consumers rate some types of work more highly than others and this will impact firm’s online scores depending on their mix of business. 

Where practice areas can be identified or implied from review text, consumers offer consistently higher scores for residential conveyancing and PI work than they do for Family and Employment matters. While the reasons for this are not proven, the authors suspect that this may reflect the degree to which consumers feel like they have had a positive experience and outcome because of their matter. 

The report is believed to be the first of its kind to use Artificial Intelligence techniques to interrogate the state of customer service in the consumer legal sector, creating firm and practice specific insight.

The use of natural language processing to analyse the content of reviews demonstrates that both good and bad online feedback are dominated by the topic of effective client communication which needs to be designed from end-to-end across the customer journey but can be tackled in short order to improve customer conversion and lower costs.  This is likely to be a key point of difference for firms facing increased competitive pressures from consolidation and new entrants.

The full report can be read at: https://www.gleneskgroup.com/customer-service-review/.

Glenesk improves the profitability of their clients by reducing cost, cash lock-up and risk. They place their fees contingent on delivery of the opportunities they identify and leave sustained improvements in operating performance.  Founded in 2017, the firm specialises in the legal services, health care and manufacturing sectors. It is based in London.  More information can be found at www.gleneskgroup.com or by emailing bill.guthrie@gleneskgroup.com.

Matt Baldwin
Co-founder – Coast Communications

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