Are law firm websites getting to the heart of the matter?

It is often said that your website is your digital shop window but in reality it is more than that. Your website is the first place clients and potential clients will look for advice, someone to contact, the latest news, and to get an idea on what your firm can do for them. With the country under lockdown, forcing people to turn to digital communication, the importance of your website, and the message it portrays to its visitors is crucial. 

With this in mind, insight6 asked a team of researchers to review the websites of 85 law firms from across the UK. The research team visited the sites between the 7th and 15th April and once complete, we asked them: ‘‘based on your experience on the website, how likely would you be to recommend this law firm?’’

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) for this question was -37  which given the NPS range of -100 to +100, a “positive” score above 0, is considered “good”, above 50 is “excellent,” and above 70 is

considered “world class.” At the opposite end of the scale, -37 is poor and reflects that visitors are highly unlikely to recommend the firms. 

So why did the researchers score the websites this way? 

Despite lockdown having been in place in the UK for a minimum of 16 days when the research started, 19% of the websites still had no communication on the stance that the firm was taking to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

During the lockdown, home working has soared, including within the legal sector. Naturally, this could lead to uncertainty among existing clients as to how they should get in touch - will the phone lines still be working? Do they need to use a new number? Should they email instead? The first place they would look to find the answers to these questions is on the firms’ website. However, insight6 discovered that 20% of the websites did not explain how existing clients could access their team, rising to 22% for potential new clients. 

It has been well publicised that there is a lot of uncertainty about Covid-19 and the measures that have been put in place by the Government to try to help businesses and individuals. A number of people will turn to a law firm for guidance on initiatives such as the furlough scheme, information on what split families should do during lockdown, and help with agreements between tenants and landlords. When searching the websites for guidance on any Covid-19 related information, only 55% of the websites provided any detail in the form of blogs, news articles or videos, meaning 45% of sites did not provide the research team with the information they were looking for. 

Some of the other headline findings included: 

  • Only 11% of the websites offered a webchat service compared with the sector average of 30% 
  • 74% of the firms had referenced Covid-19 within their LinkedIn posts, 20% had no mention of the pandemic and the other 6% had no LinkedIn presence whatsoever and had never posted 
  • Whilst 76% communicated changes to their internal processes only 36% used empathy in their messaging 

Empathy is key 

The 36% of firms that did have empathy within their messaging achieved an NPS of +50, an incredible jump of 87 against all the websites combined. Going back to the NPS scale, +50 is an excellent score which demonstrates clearly the power in showing your clients that you care. 

To highlight this further, the 64% of firms that did not display any empathy on their site received an NPS of -74, an enormous 124 lower than those that did. 

Common words and phrases used by firms on the websites where empathy was displayed were, ‘reassure’, ‘please be assured’, ‘what’s right for you’, ‘still here for you’, and ‘stay safe’. The messaging was all very clear, supportive and reassuring to the visitor meaning they were left feeling as though they were important to the firm. 

The websites that did not display empathy often did not have any reference to COVID-19 or invoked a feeling of dread and concern with wording in red and phrases such as ‘do not attend our offices’, and ‘plunged us all into a period of deep uncertainty’ used. 

There was also a clear distinction between firms that communicated changes to their process (NPS of -25) and those that did not (NPS of -75), showing that clients would be left frustrated without clarity and far less likely to recommend the firm as a result. The firms that neither displayed empathy nor communicated changes scored -85. 

The results demonstrate the need for a balance between process and empathy. Getting this right is essential. The absence of both will have a negative impact on the perception that visitors to the website have of the firm but at this moment in time empathy can have the greatest benefit.


Our 6 tips to get your website communication right 

1. Start and end your message with empathy

As the research shows, empathy is crucial. The websites that perform best start and end their messages about Covid-19 with empathy. Clients could be feeling anxious and uncertain about what they need to do, a little bit of reassurance can go a long way. 

2. Get a fresh look at your website 

Ask someone to take a look at your website as though they were a customer. If possible, someone who is viewing the site for the first time as they will be able to give a truly unbiased opinion as though they were a potential new client. It is amazing the small things that you will miss, or the details you will not realise are important when you are writing it yourself. Getting that second opinion helps to pick these details up. 

3. Keep your message up to date 

The situation around us is changing daily and we all have to adapt as and when things change. Your website is no different. Make sure your message is up to date. You don’t want a client visiting your site and reading about how your business would respond to a potential lockdown more than two weeks after it was announced. 

4.  Think about the colouring and layout 

It is not just the text that is important on your website, think about the colouring and the impact it will have on the way your clients will be feeling. Do not fuel your customers anxiety and concern by highlighting negative impacts in red, overdoing it with bold fonts or capital letters. 

5. Make sure your website message and social media content is lined up 

20% of the firms we looked at that are active on LinkedIn had no mention of Covid-19 in the content they were posting. If you schedule content to social media in advance via a tool such as Hootsuite, make sure the content that is scheduled to go out is still appropriate for the situation to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention online. 

6. Demonstrate your expertise 

One of the things that your clients and potential clients could be visiting your website for is to find out more information about Covid-19 related schemes and implications. Demonstrate the expert knowledge of your firm but producing news and blogs about some of the key things that your firm can help with such as help with the furlough scheme or advice for split families on adapting to the lockdown. 

insight6 is here to support you. If you would like to talk with our experts about the messaging on your website or other ways in which you can help to improve your NPS, even if it is an informal chat over a (virtual) cup of coffee, then please leave us a message on the contact form below and we will be in touch. 

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