Firms and their staff members can become easily overwhelmed trying to accommodate a growing supply of potential new clients, which can lead to losing thousands in revenue. Law firms across the country are searching for ways to salvage revenue lost on leads due to missed phone and web inquiries.

Response time can truly make a difference. Here’s the ideal intake hold time, why it matters to your firm and how you can reach it.

What’s the Norm Versus the Ideal Hold Time?

Bad practices abound, much of the time phone inquiries are not answered immediately at busy law firms. Potential clients are too often asked to hold — or worse — sent to voicemail, only a fraction of them leaving messages for a return call. Likewise, web inquiries and emails are often ignored for hours, sometimes days.

Additionally, when leads reach out after hours or on weekends, they almost never receive a response until the next business day since there is no one is in the office ready and available to field calls and web inquiries. If they inquire on a holiday, the response times are even worse.

Placing leads on hold for long periods or not responding quickly can cause them to seek out another firm that will give them immediate attention.

So what is the optimum hold time?

  • For phone inquiries, the call should be answered in three rings or less.
  • For web inquiries and emails, the response should be within two to five minutes (ideally less, if possible).

Benefits to Optimizing Intake Hold Time

When firms respond quickly, they are showing their potential clients respect for their time, letting them know their case is important to the firm and that their legal needs will be taken care of.

This initial interaction is the beginning of a working relationship between client and law firm, so it’s important to keep it productive and positive — starting with a timely response.

When potential clients are taken care of by your staff, they are not going to shop for another firm. Not to mention, many leads calling into law firms are going through emotional situations. They are searching for hope and a resolution — someone to be on their side. With a swift response, they experience urgency and efficiency. Expect them to notify others and spread the positive reputation of your firm to those who may be seeking similar legal services.

How Can You Reach the Optimum Level?

Employing a single in-house receptionist is not enough to handle leads for any busy, modern law firm, no matter the size. One person can only answer one phone call at a time. Anyone else who tries to call during that window will be sent to voicemail. Any web forms or emails will also have to wait. This single employee is not available outside of business hours, on weekends or on holidays, either.

To capture the most leads and revenue potential, outsourcing these duties beyond the in-house team prevents firms from losing valuable leads. A 24/7/365 legal call center can capture leads off-hours and assist with heavy call volume during business hours. With a legal call center that is always available, leads can reach out to your firm at any time and get the assistance they need. Your intake hold time, along with your lead abandonment rate, will decrease drastically.