We live in a world where consumers demand instant access to information and expert customer service 24/7. These high expectations carry over when they are sick, injured or in need of legal advice. Law firms should utilize technology to ensure the client intake process is seamless and easy to navigate from the very start in order to meet these evolving expectations.
Below are a few strategies for using intake software to enhance a new client’s experience as well as make sure you’re turning leads into clients from the point of first contact.
DO – Use Website Forms
A website form is a quick and easy way to gather all of the information your firm needs about a potential new client. By asking a contact to fill out a form you are able to get the exact information you need and eliminate the possibility of missed information. When using forms, it is important to make sure you have the proper staffing needed to respond to inquiries in a timely manner.
DON’T – Forget to Gather All Relevant Information
If all relevant questions are not asked in the form, your legal team won’t have the information they need to follow up or process next steps with the potential new client. The form fields should require the lead to share only the most pertinent information – no more, no less. This might include:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Type of law involved
- Opposing parties
- When the incident occurred
- Short description of the legal need involved
- Best time to call or how to contact
- Where they heard about your law firm (if this was specific to a mass tort case, for example)
Obtaining this information is critical; remember to take full advantage of information-gathering opportunities but to not ask too many questions either.
DO – Use a Website Chat
Having a live chatbox on your website allows users to talk to someone immediately. If the potential client has a quick question or wants to set up an appointment, they can do that with very little wait time. Not only is it an easy way to have immediate conversation with a lead, but it is actually the preferred method of communication for many. J.D. Power found that live chat has become the leading digital contact method for online customers, as a staggering 42% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 23% for email, and 16% for social media or forums.
DON’T – Use a Website Chat if it is Not Properly Staffed
Instead of being helpful, a website chat that is unattended (or improperly staffed by employees who can’t actually answer the questions they’re being asked) can be frustrating for a potential client. You could have a bot respond to chatbox inquiries to provide basic information, but it is more beneficial for a trained legal intake specialist to oversee the chat functions at all times.
DO – Use a CRM/CMS for Legal Intake
Most firms use some type of Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) or Case Management System (CMS). These programs keep attorneys organized and their staff on alert for deadlines, meetings, and other obligations.
Having a CRM/CMS is helpful for client intake because users can quickly see how support staff or their team of intake specialists are handling a file. There is no need to hunt down information because it is all in one location. When utilizing a legal call center, it’s critical they are able to push contact information directly into your existing CRM/CMS.
DON’T – Let CRM/CMS Users Enter Incomplete Information
Any CRM/CMS program is only as beneficial as the information it contains. When users do not enter complete information about a client through the intake process, the little data that is available may not be very useful.
Be sure the person (whether part of your team or outsourced) entering the information always provides complete data that your law firm needs to move forward with a case.
DO – Utilize a Digital Calendar
Digital calendars are extremely useful for attorneys today. There is no need to carry around a planner or calendar when all meetings, deadlines, and court appearances are already in a digital calendar on their phone or another device. Key team members who schedule appointments should also have access to their calendar.
Attorneys can also connect their digital calendars to meeting scheduler apps so that intake specialists, or even existing or prospective clients, can schedule an appointment with a click of a button.
DON’T – Use the Calendar as the Only Follow-Up
Clients expect more communication than a simple calendar invitation in most cases. It is a good idea to touch base with the client before the meeting, even if the calendar automatically confirmed it. Have a process in place to make sure the calendar invitation was accepted and that someone follows up with your prospective and existing clients.
When used properly, technology makes legal intake faster, easier and more convenient for everyone involved. Clients expect that their experience will be smooth, and intake software helps make that expectation a reality while also ensuring you aren’t losing or wasting hard-earned leads.