Is technology all it’s cracked up to be?

Good technology can help conveyancers provide a better service to brokers but it is not a panacea

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It’s no exaggeration to say that technology has transformed the way we do business, in the mortgage market and beyond. It makes things happen more quickly, it’s efficient and it gives us an audit trail of our work, which is crucial in regulated markets.

Technology is also changing conveyancing, but it isn’t happening across the board. In what is still a cottage industry, with the vast majority of business being conducted by small high street law firms, online capability hasn’t been fully exploited.

It’s the larger conveyancing specialists that have really invested in technology, helping brokers to refer clients quickly and easily, and making sure that you are kept fully up to date at all times, so you don’t need to spend time phoning up to check the latest state of play on your cases.

I believe that good technology helps conveyancers provide a better service to brokers. We have spent a lot of time and money developing our systems to be user-friendly and efficient, and we are committed to constantly improving it to meet your needs.

But despite all of this, I don’t think that technology is a panacea for conveyancing, because the full and proper service that brokers, and your clients, deserve can’t always be achieved online.

Let’s get personal

Conveyancing is complicated and a tick-box approach doesn’t work. We never know what will come up during a case until we start doing our job, and some of the issues we uncover are not always easy to explain. We can give you an outline by email, but we think it helps for a qualified conveyancer to speak to you about your client’s case, so you understand exactly what is happening, what any issues could mean and how they are being resolved.

How many times do you start to reply to a complex email or text before scrapping it and deciding to simply pick up the phone, because you know it will be quicker to just discuss the issue? I do it all the time.

Being able to phone or email a named point of contact is frankly what brokers deserve when you refer your clients to a business partner. You should be able to pick up the phone and talk to your conveyancer whenever you want.

Build relationships

We are in a sector that is driven by relationships, and the best way to develop a trusted partnership with another business is to speak to the people who work there. You want to feel reassured that they are experts, that are taking your cases seriously and working to progress them. And, frankly, it’s more enjoyable to actually speak to friendly professionals throughout the day than to sit on your own and type messages to them.

It’s because of this that, as revolutionary as technology is, it only works when it goes hand in hand with good old fashioned service. I reckon that a handful of specialist conveyancers have got this balance right.

Many high street law firms offer a great service (and many don’t), but most of them simply don’t have the funds to invest in broker-friendly technology. At the other end of the scale the so-called conveyancing factories invest heavily in technology, but you may feel that you don’t always get a personal service.