In order to achieve high conversions and boost revenue at your law firm, your intake team should possess a wide range of skills and qualities.
While some skills can be polished with a solid training process, others depend on natural qualities and characteristics that you should look for during the hiring process (i.e. empathy and listening skills). After all, some things just can’t be taught.
By combining natural qualities, continuous training and experience, it’s possible to build a highly efficient intake team that directly affects your firm’s ability to qualify, capture and convert leads.
Your intake team should embody the skills and qualities below.
Empathy is a natural quality that plays a vital role in the intake process. Potential clients reaching out to your firm are likely in an emotional state. For example, they could be suffering from a life-threatening accident, or they could be calling about a divorce or filing for bankruptcy, depending on your field of practice.
Regardless, these types of emotional conversations require an empathetic response from the person answering the phone on your firm’s behalf. Empathy can help put the caller at ease and begin to build trust with your firm.
2. Listening skills
During intake, potential clients share a variety of important information. The intake specialist needs to capture their name, contact information, legal issue and any other relevant details, all while making the caller feel heard – not just like another number.
Intake specialists with proper listening skills can collect and analyze information during intake to help build a successful relationship with the prospect.
3. Legal terminology
Legal intake specialists should be trained to understand and be able to use specific legal terminology related to your firm’s fields of expertise.
If the specialist fails to interpret the legal issue at hand due to lack of knowledge when it comes to specific terminology, it could hurt your firm’s reputation.
4. Knowledge of litigation
Similar to understanding legal terminology, knowledge of litigation in general allows intake specialists to demonstrate their expertise and establish a trusted connection with each potential client. This knowledge, gained through training, can help the specialist understand the prospect’s needs, manage expectations and route them to the appropriate legal expert at your firm.
Something to keep in mind if you decide to outsource your intake process is that lack of litigation and legal terminology knowledge are good reasons to avoid working with a generic call center. Their agents are usually trained to work with a variety of industries. On the other hand, intake specialists at a dedicated legal call center undergo robust training specific to the legal industry.
5. Phone etiquette
Good legal phone etiquette allows your intake team to make an excellent first impression. A bad impression can lead to prospects searching elsewhere for legal services, likely the next firm on their Google search list. To demonstrate proper phone etiquette, your intake specialists should:
- Have basic call handling skills, such as proper tone of voice and attentiveness
- Be available to pick up the phone 24/7/365
- Respond in under three rings
6. Call control
It’s easy for callers to get off track when they’re describing their legal issues.
Your firm’s intake specialists should know how to keep control of the call and ask the appropriate questions to seamlessly guide the caller through the intake process. The goal should be to gather all of the appropriate information in order to qualify, or disqualify, the prospect.
7. Outbound calling, texting and email skills
In addition to handling incoming calls, legal intake specialists should know how to reach out to prospects through outbound methods. Not every prospect can be converted on the first call. In this case, your specialists should follow-up as many times as it takes to convert. Your law firm can determine an appropriate cadence.
Web inquiries also need to be followed-up with, within 2 to 5 minutes, via outbound methods. If the prospect doesn’t answer on that first outbound phone call, they may require additional follow-up via phone call, text or email with multiple attempts.
8. Ability to walk the caller through e-signing a retainer
Going from contact to contract during the intake process requires a certain set of skills. Besides having the ability to convert potential clients on the spot, intake specialists should know how to walk callers through signing an electronic retainer agreement without breaking contact.
9. Knowledge of how to warm transfer calls
During the initial conversation with a potential client – or any conversation for that matter – your intake specialists should know how to warm transfer calls to a legal expert on your team, as well as which legal expert, if necessary.
The process involves transferring the call to the appropriate person along with pertinent information, ensuring that the legal expert on the receiving end of the transferred call is prepared with proper background information before speaking with the potential client.
10. Ability to schedule appointments
Setting up new consultations, managing appointments and confirming court times can take up a large portion of a lawyer’s workday and can be easily delegated to legal intake specialists.
Your intake specialists should have training and experience working with the necessary software to take these tasks off of your plate, so you can spend your time advocating for your clients, instead of constantly reviewing your calendar.
Partnering with a Qualified Legal Intake Team
All the above skills and qualities are equally important for achieving excellent intake results. If your team doesn’t already possess these skills and qualities, or your firm can’t arrange for hiring and training new staff, consider outsourcing intake to a dedicated legal call center.
A high-quality legal call center partner, like Alert Communications, can act as an extension of your law firm, providing legal answering services with a team of experienced intake specialists who undergo regular training to ensure a seamless intake process and positive customer experience for your potential clients.