Mystery shopping laws and the uptake of mystery shopping in the legal sector
When we think about mystery shopping, the first things that come to mind are individuals going into retail stores, making notes about things such as store appearance, customer service and product availability. And so, when we mention the concept of mystery shopping for the legal profession, this, for many, is probably largely unknown territory. Perhaps one reason for this is the mystery shopping laws and regulation surrounding the profession.
Nevertheless, the concept of mystery shopping can be pretty much applied to any customer-facing industry. As such, why should the legal profession be any different?
It can be argued that higher levels of regulation are demanded for the legal sector. Compared to other sectors such as retail where this is a bit more relaxed. Nevertheless, mystery shopping within the legal sector remains an important activity.
Poor uptake and regulation by multiple bodies just some of the issues presently occurring
Regulation of mystery shopping within the legal sector is heavy. And furthermore, bodies tend to work separately from each other. As such, an improvement could be to establish closer working practices whilst still obeying relevant mystery shopping laws.
Additionally, uptake of mystery shopping and the use of management tools has been slow in comparison with other industries. There are many possible reasons for this. e.g.
- Fear of the unknown
- Lack of understanding about how research will be undertaken
- Data protection
- Whether there is a perception that negative results could occur
- Hassle of having to comply with mystery shopping laws
However, there is significant testing of wills by the legal service board who have made good use of this data for continuous improvement.
Such uptake in mystery shopping services is disappointing. As it would appear that the legal industry could make significant improvements with regards to customer service. Particularly communication, responsiveness and cost. As such, the most successful companies have utilised their mystery shopping data to improve each step of the customer journey.
Use of mystery shopping data can help reduce the occurrence of problems by changing existing processes and identifying training needs for staff if required. Mystery shopping data can also have a whole host of other benefits to an organisation such as happier clients, better conversion rates, better retention, higher referrals and ultimately, much better profitability.
What is the future of mystery shopping in the legal sector?
In many industries, there are detailed guidelines for things such as identifying best practice, along with templates and workbooks which can improve things such as customer service. Within the legal sector, this appears to be lacking. And is plagued by burdensome regulation. It would appear that one solution for the future would be to bring all regulators together for each type of legal practice. For example, topics such as probate, reducing setup costs and reporting could all be regulated under the umbrella of SRA and ICAEW.