Coffin Mew asks mystery shoppers to rate service

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  • Mystery shopping is widely used in other sectors but perhaps not so common within the legal diaspora. I wonder why? Could it be that the key performance indicators of 'client satisfaction' is somewhat different to what is generally thought of as 'customer satisfaction' in the retail sector? Is the customer a client? Are those buying a pint of milk from Tesco different from someone walking into a lawyer's office and seeking advice on divorce?
    I think that there are deeper issues at play here. Mystery shopping surveys are useful in determining how the front of house staff deal with initial contact but they need to go much further. This is where the service is perhaps less reliable as no artificial measure could ever replicate the genuine experience of a client. The satisfaction lies in repeat association, sometimes this would continue over decades and generations.
    Many firms, in particular the smaller firms often fail to provide the very basics that would be taken for granted in other sectors. For new clients, the experience of walking into a solicitor's office can be daunting and what is needed is an empathetic and professional welcome. This could not be over emphasized. However, any survey must then be followed up with rigorous training and if need be, performance management.

    Taz Rahman, TheLawMap

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  • As a lawyer, it was interesting for me to deal with another firm recently as their client. I was not sure they realised the barriers they erected in the way of dealing with the lawyer. As they are competitors of ours, I never told them!

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  • Coffin Mew are to be applauded for doing this. Most paying clients will not tell a law firm if their service could be improved; they will simply take their business elsewhere and may even share their dissatisfaction with others. If we assume that the firm is asking its key clients for feedback directly, this is a good way of finding out how it feels to be a smaller client of the firm.

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  • They would probably achieve more by changing their name. `Coffin Mew'? Makes me think of dead cats!

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  • Rural Bliss | 20-Aug-2012 1:03 pm
    But if there was a cat in a coffin and it mewed surely it would be alive? Perhaps you are referring to Schrodinger's Cat, i.e. a theoretical cat in a box which we cannot ascertain is dead or alive? Maybe Coffin Mew should re-brand to Schrodingers?

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  • Once again Taz you show the arrogance that the legal profession has shown for years. The legal sector could and should learn so much from other sectors.
    Ok I will concede that it doesn't measure how well work was carried out but actually being able to speak to someone is so important, and from their findings Coffin Mew obviously found they were lacking in this area, hence the changes. Repeat business only comes from good relations and if a client in this day and age will judge that mainly by the experience of front of house.
    I for one hate 'clunky' phone systems and incompetence of front of house, eg I recently returned a call from our lawyer and was put through to switchboard who told me that 'the partner didn't work there', we have only been their client for 5 years. When I pointed this out to our lawyer they replied 'what do you expect we are huge company'. They are no longer our lawyers as I do not expect this from my own staff and I certainly do not expect that arrogance when I am paying £600+ an hour.

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  • @ Schrodinger's Cat LLP |

    That's a very fur point. I should have said it made me think of dying cats, a `Coffin Mew' being the plaintive sound emanating from the coffin of someone who was buried with his (non-deceased) cat.

    I apologise for any uncertainty.

    Ah, the solace of quantum ...

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  • As a client of Coffin Mew, who was meant to have Exchanged on a purchase 3 weeks ago, but has not heard from Coffin Mew for 10 weeks despite letters, complaints letters, and phone calls (not even one acknoweledgement or return of call), they need to do a LOT to improve their customer experience. Was I not told by the developer to use these solicitors, so therefore the developer must remain patient, I would be a lot more angry than I currently am.

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  • @ Anonymous | 21-Aug-2012 12:18 pm
    I am responsible for dealing with client complaints at Coffin Mew LLP. As a firm we pride ourselves on offering excellent client service so I am extremely disappointed that the service you have received from the firm’s conveyancing team has fallen below standard; further, that your concerns appear to have either gone unanswered or to have been dealt with in an acceptable timeframe. Unfortunately as I do not have your name or contact details I cannot talk to you directly. As the article says we are working hard to ensure that we provide the very best service and actively learn from our clients’ valuable feedback and implement any improvements necessary. I would therefore welcome the opportunity of discussing this with you and would ask that you please contact me via email (stevenwood@coffinmew.co.uk) or by telephone (023 8033 4661) as soon as possible.

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  • Running a Mystery Shopper business, it's been very noticeable the increasing number of law firms that have recently began looking at what we term Client Experience programmes. It was something that was simply not the done thing a few years ago.
    However, due in part to the state of the economy and rapid advancements in technology the marketing and promotional landscape has been changing for all business types in recent years, and none more so than those businesses that tend to grouped together as ‘the professions’.
    Clients are a lot more willing to shop around than they used to be. If you need a new solicitor do you hit the yellow pages and Google, or do you ask for a recommendation from someone you trust? For me it's the recommendation every time. Do your clients value your customer service enough to recommend you?
    More information on our Client Experience work can be found on our website www.objectiveeye.co.uk

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  • A number of forward-thinking law firms have begun to use mystery shopping as a way to drive up standards of service, particularly in enquiry handling. It works best in monitoring this pre-purchase phase.
    Client service reviews and key client management programmes can be used to monitor satisfaction amongst actual clients with regard to particular matters.
    This pre-purchase stage is invaluable in improving the return on a firm’s marketing investment. For example, consider the benefit if you could increase your conversion of all enquiries from 25% to 33%.
    As Coffin Mew have already seen, mystery shopping will identify some quick wins such as improving phone coverage at lunch time and some longer-term actions such as identifying training needs, implementing new systems or policies.
    An article can be found on our web site which answers many common questions about mystery shopping within law firms: http://www.bernersmarketing.com/Articles/Striving-for-service-excellence

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  • As a current client of Coffin Mew, I have found them to be very poor. Communications with the conveyancer division is virtually impossible with solicitors not understanding the processes, not being available, not replying and generally failing to install any confidence in their ability or willingness to complete the work they have agreed to undertake.

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