Does Your Law Firm Have An Intake Problem?

Having trouble getting to all your potential cases?

A year ago, we asked, “Who is Answering Your Phone?” That post focused on phone behaviors and stated the importance of a positive experience. Call it a sneak peek if you will, but the thrust of that blog post is just as relevant today: take good care of the people who call your law firm. Your business depends on it.

There is plenty more to say on this topic in the recent white paper, “Failing At The Finish Line: How Law Firms Lose Potential Clients At The Front Door.” If you haven’t already read this paper, you can download a copy here.

Let’s look at your law firm’s intake processes in a more practical sense with this blog. More specifically, I’d like to suggest you run a secret shopper survey on your law firm. The goal of this activity is not to root out problem employees or embarrass your staff. Instead, it’s a simple assessment of your customer intake experience – something every client you receive has already gone through. If you don’t know what they’re seeing and hearing, you could have an intake problem and not even know it.

Start by finding a stand-in. A family member or close friend who can think fast and stay in character is ideal, but really anyone you trust and who is willing to help will work. Arrange for this person to contact your law practice using different aliases and different methods.

  1. Have them call your firm outside of business hours and leave a voicemail. Track how long it takes for them to hear back from your firm.
  2. Have them call your firm during normal business hours too. Measure how many rings it takes for the call to be answered and rate the tone, attitude and effectiveness of whoever takes the call.
  3. Repeat this process for email inquiries or website form submissions. The key metric to track in this case is simply the speed of response.

As you perform this test, don’t take things too far. A thorough evaluation is worthwhile, but you don’t want to create an environment of dishonesty within your firm. Every industry has its tests, but your peers and employees deserve your respect and a chance to perform at their best.

That said, intake matters more than most attorneys realize. The only way to know if your law firm has an intake problem is to check things out for yourself.

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