We get it: intake is difficult. Opportunities for mistakes abound, even among today’s most successful law firms. Unfortunately, seemingly small errors can prove damaging down the road, leading to fewer conversions and general dissatisfaction, even among those who ultimately choose to work with your law firm.
Your current intake process may be in shambles, but it’s far from unfixable. With a few adjustments, you can transform your department and reap the rewards. First, however, it helps to know what, exactly, an ideal intake department looks like. The following are among the most valuable signs of effective intake.
Skilled Staff Members
Intake individuals and departments deserve your utmost respect. They form the bulk of your law firm’s initial impression and can spell the difference between an immediate conversion and a lost lead. As you seek new talent for your intake team, picture your staff members not as receptionists or paralegals, but rather, as sales professionals equipped with the powers of persuasion. Of course, even after they’re hired, your staff will require ongoing training to ensure that they remain true to your brand.
Properly Equipped Teams
Even the most impressive intake specialists will struggle to convert leads if they’re not equipped with the proper tools and technology. A dedicated lead management system is particularly important. This system should include several features designed to meet the evolving needs of today’s law firms. An automated workflow, for example, streamlines current intake processes to ensure that attorneys can be promptly reached when necessary; it also optimizes the turndown process. Other essentials include contact and list management capabilities so the firm can follow up on leads.
Intake teams should also be equipped with customized scripts developed according to the unique conditions posed by different case types. Scripts should encourage intake staff members to sound natural while still ensuring that they cover all essential information.
The more time that passes between initial contact and law firm follow-up, the more likely leads are to jump ship. Conversion rates drop from 78 percent in the first 5 minutes to a mere 22 percent after just 15 minutes of lag time. Ideal client interactions begin with picking up the phone on the first ring to avoid the dreaded prospect of voicemail.
Today’s clients are notoriously unwilling to put up with even the slightest hint of inconvenience. They don’t have to acquiesce to your demands—another law firm is only a phone call away. The easier the process, the less likely they are to seek counsel elsewhere. Every step should be as quick and as seamless as possible.
Questioning, for example, should be cut down to the bare essentials. Prospective clients don’t appreciate interrogations—they want to feel as if they are in control.
Beyond efficient question and answer sessions, modern technological solutions could dramatically improve convenience and increase the likelihood of conversion. With eSign, for example, prospects can skip the hassle of extended paperwork and in-person visits. All that’s required on their end is a simple smartphone response.
Your efforts to overhaul your law firm’s intake process may seem overwhelming at the outset, but trust us: improved intake will pay dividends down the road. Invest in better intake now, and you’ll enjoy impressive conversion rates and stronger relationships with your clients.