This is a question I know lots of conveyancing firms across the UK are asking themselves. In an increasingly rivalrous landscape, what can firms do to give themselves a competitive advantage?
The answer is that there are many changes firms can make, but firstly they must identify what their shortcomings are and where they want to be at the end of this identification process.
It is important to understand that transformation does not simply happen at the decision to make change. There must be an acceptance of the change and a clear understanding that change won’t happen overnight or deal with every issue in one hit.
Change will often be slow burning and will invariably cause disruption in the short term. Staff also need to be supported and guided through this stage, with focus given to the end game.
What does change look like?
Transformation is wide reaching; across people, process, and technology by either individual deliverables or wrapped up in one transformation package.
The main area of focus will be in identifying the areas where processes can be simplified or automated to reduce time, cost and also by streamlining operations leading to increased efficiency and productivity.
Not forgetting, an often overlooked ingredient in change and transformation, the people.
It is imperative to look at employee roles, skills and development. By investing in training and development programs firms can enhance the skills and knowledge of employees. Well-trained employees are more productive and can contribute to the company’s growth and effective service delivery.
Firms should also evaluate their financial processes and strategies to identify opportunities to reduce costs, improve cash flow, and optimise pricing strategies. Financial optimisation can directly impact profitability.
Things to consider
Before looking to implement change across a firm it is important for the decision makers to look ahead, to try to best guess what will be happening in the market in the next 12 months and beyond. They need to look at what tools they currently have available to them and consider what change means for them further down the road.
This consideration process should not be rushed as often firms feel pressured into purchasing the latest solution or the best quick fix software on the market. I would suggest that although these solutions may appear to add value, it would be best placed to do internal checks first. Firms need to speak to the teams on the “frontline” so that they can gain a better sense of the frustrations they are faced with on a daily basis.
By conducting this process, they can identify what can be achieved easily- the quick wins but also identify what will take more time or be subject to regulatory requirements.
When is the right time to change?
With firms reporting that they are still incredibly busy, when is the right time to introduce change? There may be reluctance to change the way they operate when they already have too much to do. This barrier to change needs to be addressed and teams need to be educated on the benefits of change and the fundamental need to change in order to stay competitive.
It maybe that change should be incremental to avoid unnecessary internal frustrations.
In any event, transformation is not a one stop shop. Transformation gets you to the next iteration of your service. This is ever evolving and needs to be continuous and growing to meet the demands of an ever-changing world.
In saying that, I believe that now is a great time to shake things up a bit. I believe from the conversations we have been having that conveyancing firms are embracing transformational change and have a real desire to improve. Firms want to be the best at delivering their service, improving the buyer’s customer journey.
Again, let’s not forget the people element of any transformation, should that be in retaining staff or attracting new talent. It is important that managers show their staff they are looking into options for changing their working model to help them to be more efficient and better at what they do. No more working late every night or working on the weekend! A sensible work life balance is essential and should never be seen as optional.
Firms need to embrace and except change and the new market landscape. In a society which demands excellent service delivery instantaneously, firms need to think of new ways to be faster and better at what they do so that they can gain that all important competitive advantage.
Start with efficiency
Now more than ever efficiency and speed is everything and failure to embrace change could be detrimental to business growth. Remember that every conveyancing firm is unique, so it is essential to assess their specific needs and tailor strategies accordingly.
For us at ntitle, the main hurdle we encounter is persuading firms of the benefits of outsourcing. Even though outsourcing is not a new concept and has been widely accepted in other areas of law for many years, this type of transformation can seem daunting for those more risk adverse and resistance to change. Our role is to offer reassurance that we are here to make them better and more efficient at what they do and in turn increase their profitability. We are fortunate that the simplicity of our service and speed of delivery speaks for itself.
Embracing change and challenging the way we work and how we deliver our service is at the core or our values. We always look at ways to improve efficiency at ntitle to the benefit of our clients and team. We pride ourselves on being proactive, anticipating future challenges and being ahead of the game.
Likewise, we accept that there is no telling of the future and as such embracing the unforeseen and making concise reactions and changes that benefit our product as and when issues arise.
The focus on AI and automation to enhance and improve the accuracy of what we do is definitely on our road map. We recognise that advancements in technology need to be demonstrated in what we do to give us a competitive advantage.
There appears to be an emergence of companies like us which combine a range of technologies with expertise in law, in our case conveyancing, which focuses on simplifying the processes and challenging ways of working for the better which can only be a positive for the conveyancing industry.