Information Overload for Consumers

    The publishing of the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) report on competition in the legal sector confirmed what we at LawBid know to be true: the legal industry is ignoring the importance of digital behaviour to their detriment. The CMA concluded that websites enabling solicitors to participate more effectively in digital commerce would be the saving grace of the sector, predicting that in the coming years such sites will become the main way in which the services of a solicitor are found.

    In their recent response to the CMA report, the Legal Services Consumer Panel (LSCP) were keen to qualify the CMA’s recommendations. Most notably, the LSCP warned that more information did not necessarily mean better informed consumers, highlighting the risk of information overload should regulators oblige law firms to disclose information that may mean very little to non-lawyers. Information overload makes a client’s decision more difficult, rather than easier, and firms should be aware of scaring potential clients away with impersonalised, unhelpful information.

    "...consumers tended to find it difficult to pick out the key information due to a lack of signposting, dense bodies of text, unfamiliar terms and heavily caveated language. Worryingly, these concerns were heightened for the most vulnerable consumers, for example those with low literacy levels, visual impairments, or for."

    'The Development of Information Remedies in Legal Services', Legal Services Consumer Panel

    What is clear is that any information provided by solicitors must be provided in a timely, specific manner to be of use.

    What does this mean for your firm?

    It means that although a complex pricing list might meet the requirements of the CMAs report, it won’t help an individual or business with a specific query and little legal knowledge. Before you offer any information to visitors on your website you need to ask yourself whether that information is helpful to the particular individual seeing it: is it easy for a non-lawyer to understand? Is it applicable to their circumstances, and easy for them to dissect? Most importantly, is it provided at the right time, so as to be informative as well as accurate? If these questions can’t be answered in the affirmative, then visitors should not be shown the information.

    Admittedly this can be a difficult line to walk, which is why we developed LawBid. LawBid enables you to deliver necessary and accurate information to clients in a timely manner, specific to their needs. You can personalise the information sent to each client to ensure it is useful and beneficial to them, preventing information overload and giving them everything they need to make an informed choice.
    The LSCP are right to raise concerns about information overload, but providing the right information at the right time has never been easier with the help of LawBid. The question of whether potential clients choose you is dependent on getting this right; make sure your firm does.

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