Law firm staff often struggle with juggling multiple responsibilities and tasks. More specifically, receptionists, paralegals, office managers, and even attorneys are usually expected to manage client intake in addition to other responsibilities.

Client intake is a critical function of any law firm, but due to multitasking, it’s usually left understaffed and many prospective clients are lost because they’re not properly captured, nurtured and converted.

Most firms may believe multitasking saves money by not having to employ more staff. However, the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” truly applies here. Multitasking staff can negatively impact your legal client intake, causing you to lose out on revenue and waste dollars invested into your marketing campaigns.

The Negative Impact of Multitasking

Attorneys aren’t the only ones susceptible to the lure of multitasking. In fact, many people believe that multitasking affords efficiency and helps get more done in less time. However, this simply isn’t true. According to Psychology Today, up to 40% of your productivity can be lost if you multitask. Forbes suggests that 98% of the population can’t multitask very well, and the remaining 2% are referred to as “outliers.”

Business News Daily says multitasking is unproductive at best, suggesting that doing more than one task at a time results in more mistakes and less quality work. And American Psychology today nails it, saying even subtle “task switching” can reduce efficiency and raise risk. The proof is there – law firm lead generation can’t and won’t succeed without a team dedicated to client intake.

2 Key Reasons Multitasking Is Detrimental to Legal Client Intake

There are two main reasons why multitasking kills legal client intake:

1. A lack of specialized training

Client intake is equivalent to sales for law firms, and not everyone is qualified and trained to successfully handle incoming leads. A lead needs to be properly captured and nurtured to become a potential client, and other staff members may not have the skills necessary to do so.

Some of these skills include active listening, call control, empathy, and an understanding of legal terminology. This helps to increase client confidence in your firm by appearing knowledgeable and capable. Client intake is the very first interaction that most potential clients have with a law firm – it’s critical to get it right.

2. A lack of time

There’s a lot involved in converting leads into paying clients. Research shows the best results come from providing a live response as soon as possible. Waiting longer than a day to return messages can result in lost opportunities. To avoid this, aim to answer live calls in three rings or less and keep hold times to under 15 seconds. Additionally, web leads should be called immediately in order to capture them and complete the intake process.

Furthermore, leads should be followed up with on a schedule and managed in a customer relationship management (CRM) system. With the other responsibilities law firm staff have, they cannot properly manage legal client intake the way it should be handled for optimal success.

How to Avoid Multitasking and Optimize Client Intake

There are a couple of ways law firms can eliminate multitasking between client intake and other responsibilities:

1. Hire in-house intake specialists. You can have someone in-house to focus solely on client intake, but it’s important they are trained and qualified to do so. Also, be sure to isolate their job to only tasks associated with client intake.

2. Hire a legal services call center. Often, hiring a legal services call center can be more budget-friendly than training and paying an in-house client intake specialist. Moreover, the intake specialists employed at these call centers already have the skills and training to properly handle your incoming leads, and can provide 24/7/365 coverage for your firm. They can also effectively integrate leads into your CRM and follow up with them until they sign on as a client with your firm.

The science proves that multitasking simply can’t be done well by the far majority of people. It’s certainly not the best approach for your client intake, so don’t allow it to limit the growth of your firm and client base. Explore the solutions above to avoid multitasking and maximize the effectiveness of your client intake, which will lead to increased revenue and return on investment (ROI).