Finally, after months of planning, writing and responding to your web designer’s hundredth request, you have a website — and it works. You see that visitors are getting to your site and clicking on your pages, but you would also like to see an uptick in the number of people who ultimately contact your firm.

One tool that can help your practice double its conversion rate (the number of site visitors who ultimately contact you) is live chat. You may have seen live chat on other lawyers’ sites or even used them while shopping online. Chat is useful to prospective clients who are researching lawyers and have questions that leaving a voice mail just doesn’t satisfy or that they may not feel ready to discuss in person. Live chat may also take pressure off of you and your staff, as a chat operator handles new-business queries while you attend to current client needs. All of these factors contribute to generating more quality leads with a live chat tool on your site.

Factor 1: Response Time

Any law practice feels the pain of doing case work and making court appearances while also keeping up with client emails and calls. Responding to new clients in a timely manner can easily fall to the bottom of your list of priorities during an especially hectic week. A tool that allows prospective clients to have an on-demand interaction with your practice satisfies a client need almost instantly and buys you time to respond personally later if requested.

Factor 2: Client Anonymity

But timeliness isn’t the only advantage of live chat. One aspect of the legal consumer journey that lawyers may not consider is that prospective clients feel sensitive about sharing personal information as they start the process of shopping for a lawyer. Visitors to your site may be embarrassed about a DUI arrest or feel shame over a failed marriage. With live chat, a prospective client can ask pressing questions anonymously. Operators know that people who are in trouble or anxious about a legal issue must be given time to open up and should not be pushed to reveal their contact information during the first seconds of an online chat.

Factor 3: Proactive Lead Generation

Live chat operators ask open-ended questions and don’t push for contact information right off the bat, but they also train to position your firm as the resource the visitor needs and solicit contact information so an attorney can follow up. Proactive tools such as Ngage Live Chat reach out to the site visitor (who can choose to ignore the alert), letting them know almost immediately that an operator is available to answer questions. According to a recent Forrester Research study, investing in proactive chat capabilities will produce an incremental 105 percent return on investment, compared to just 15 percent for reactive chat. Potential clients who previously visited your site just to see if your firm’s practice area meets their needs, may now be drawn in to a conversation that ends with them sharing their contact information. They now have more information about your expertise, and you have a number to call.

The time and money that your practice has put into marketing should pay off in the form of better visibility, more leads and, ultimately, more contacts from prospective clients. Weigh investments in additional tools carefully, considering all the factors that help clients find you and engage with your firm. Live chat may be just the tool you need to make all that you have invested online finally show significant returns.

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