I read with some interest a story in the Guardian today about the staggering number of complaints against solicitors – 17,074 according to the story. The author of the piece in The Guardian, Alan Wilson, offered the statistic that this is “equivalent to one for every six solicitors practising in England and Wales.”
Alan Wilson went on to say that a Which magazine survey said that one in three people were not happy with the service from their solicitor. Complaints included rudeness, arrogance, no witten quotes, delays, bills being ‘steeper’ than anticipated and incompetence. The article goes on to explain how to make a complaint. Statistics are always interesting – but it would be far more interesting to know how serious these complaints are. I think, in fairness, I will ring the Customer Complaints Service at the Law Society and see what they say.
EDIT: Follow up
I rang The Law Society – and after wading through their automated phone system, I spoke to a very charming young woman who told me that the Press Officer would call me back. I did make it clear that I wanted to find out the nature of these complaints to see how serious the complaints were – on the premise that (surely) not all of the 17074 complaints were ‘very serious’ matters and that I wished to provide a bit more information to readers than was available in Alan Wilson’s article. I will let you know how I got on.
On an entirely different note – but one related to customer service. I went into the Notting Hill branch of Royal Bank of Scotland today to draw some cash. The bank had been refurbished – very glossy, very slick. I waited to be called by the cashier. A very smart female member of the bank staff came over to ask me how I was, to ask me what service I was seeking and to ask if I would like a coffee! This so took me by surprise that I passed on the opportunity to get a freebie from a bank. It was all a bit unexpected – not really a “British Banking” experience. It was even more surreal when I got to the cashier. I noted that a woman was seated in the background with a clip board. She was from Quality Control).
The cashier was excellent – asked me how I was today, whether I would like a coffee while I waited and asked me what service I would like. I told him that I wanted to draw cash, that I did not bank with this branch (but they did have my signature on file, because, very occasionally, I do draw cash from this branch – rather than go into The City.) I produced my passport for ID/Money Laundering purposes and within a few moments had the cash in my wallet. I was, as it happens, most impressed. It was fascinating to watch the reaction of other customers, accosted by smart woman from reception, respond to her enquiries about their health and their needs that day. Everyone seemed a bit embarrassed to be asked – in a very ‘British’ way. Maybe we are so used to indifferent service that we feel awkward when faced with an organisation which is trying to raise the game?
I am going up to RBS Notting Hill again tomorrow to have some free coffee. It will be worth it. I may even hang out there for a while, read a newspaper on their very comfortable chairs and see if they could arrange for some Rioja to be brought in for me. Maybe they have Rioja in the cupboard… just in case?
I must award a Silver Lobster to RBS for this – it made me smile on a morning otherwise bereft of smiles. Good stuff.