Discover the key to turning potential clients into long-term clients with our expert tips on effective law firm intake management.
In the fiercely competitive world of legal services, a law firm’s success hinges on its ability to attract and retain clients – and the first step in achieving this is through an effective intake process.
For law firms, it’s not enough to have a website or a phone number listed for potential clients to contact them. Turning a lead into a client involves multiple touchpoints and interactions, all of which must be executed seamlessly and efficiently. However, you may be surprised that research shows that almost half (42%) of firms take 3+ days to respond to leads!
Every missed lead for a law firm represents a missed opportunity to gain a new client and grow their business, and vice versa; every acquired lead represents a unique opportunity to grow. Overall, the intake process is where it all begins – it’s the crucial first step in building a relationship with a potential client and sets the tone for the entire attorney-client relationship.
As your prospects seek legal assistance, they are likely already in a stressful and challenging situation. We want to help you confidently navigate the legal intake process. Let’s look into the best-proven strategies.
1.) The Ability to Reach an Actual Person
We’ve all been there – calling for help only to hear a frustrating automated system or getting dumped into voicemails for weeks with no callbacks. Nothing is more frustrating and off-putting than spending 20 minutes on the phone without being able to reach an actual human being. When law firm prospects call your firm, they want to talk to a real person quickly.
Tip: If developing an after-hours schedule to have a firm employee answer the phones is outside your budget, consider Alert Communications. They offer after-hours service, and an actual person answers phones.
Alternatively, you can work with a call center so clients reach a person at a time of convenience. If you choose this option, it’ll be crucial that you train your internal and external staff with a protocol.
Uncover Your New Legal Intake Protocol
2.) Sensitivity and Active Listening
Are you looking to keep your prospects engaged positively? Then practice active listening and put yourself in their shoes. Your prospective clients are already going through some distress or hardship. People want to know that their legal representation will take care of them as a person and their situation.
In addition, there’s a high chance the prospect will want to dive into their case immediately, which can quickly turn into a one-sided conversation. Don’t worry; you will get an opportunity to go through your pointers.
Tip: Consider having a flexible script with the top questions you need to ask, and when the time is right, ask. Here are the top 6 questions every law firm should ask during the legal intake process. In addition, because no two clients are alike, you’ll want to get familiar with the different communication styles.
Master the Art of Client Communication Style
3.) Prompt Response Times
Time is money. Clients get put off if an attorney or paralegal takes too long to respond. People do not like to wait, especially when there are pressing matters like legal issues.
Tip: Attorneys have hectic schedules, and often, more pressing things arise. Task a staff person with lead follow-up and appointment setting. Also, consider having a dedicated person who returns all voicemails on the same day. If you need inspiration, dive into the LAWsome episode where we cover ‘The Power of Good Customer Service for Legal Professionals’
4.) Lead Tracking
Leads and calls come in from various sources, such as phone calls, emails, and live chats. But if you are not keeping track of all of this information in one central location, then chances are information is being lost. Sure, a Google Sheet or Excel Spreadsheet may serve you well, but if you do not have a legal dashboard, it may be an excellent time to implement one. By storing your prospects and clients in an all-in-one dashboard, you can move them through the pipeline, keep them organized, and ensure timely follow-up.
Tip: Some platforms can give you complete visibility and control of your digital investment. We recommend investing in a legal dashboard like LawEval, already designed with law firms in mind.
5.) Lead Nurturing and Follow-Up
Follow-ups, nurturing, and fostering relationships are key because they allow the firm to build trust and establish relationships with potential clients, keeping the firm top-of-mind and increasing the likelihood that the lead will eventually convert into a paying client.
Clients need to feel like they are more than just another case file. Even after the case is closed, following up about their status, experience, case, etc., can go a long way in generating word-of-mouth referrals to other friends and coworkers.
Tip: With a legal dashboard, firms also get to nurture leads. This means you can identify areas for improvement and hold team members accountable for their responsibilities. In addition, by tracking interactions with leads and clients, law firms can provide a more personalized and responsive service, building stronger relationships and increasing the likelihood of client retention.
Takeaway: Intake = Serious Business
Intake often gets overlooked and written off as a lesser part of the business, but intake is serious business. You only know the actual return you’re getting with adequate intake and proper notes.
By implementing effective intake strategies, including after-hours call center support, lead nurturing, and dashboard tracking, law firms can improve client satisfaction, increase efficiency, and drive revenue growth. Don’t let missed leads and ineffective processes hold you back. Schedule a 1-1 to discover proven strategies based on your firm’s market.