Get a Grip on the Client Experience

When was the last time you called your office pretending to be a client? Have you ever “secret shopped” your own law firm?

While not a common practice, taking the time to put yourself in your customers’ shoes can reveal a lot about your law firm’s intake process.

Intake is what you do with the phone calls, emails and other prospective clients that come into your firm every day. While good intake practices might seem obvious, the unfortunate reality is that many firms fail to effectively control this process resulting in potential clients taking their business elsewhere.

In fact, a FindLaw audit of 100 law firms revealed that 73 percent had no means of answering phone calls outside of business hours. Of course you could leave a voicemail, but among the same group of firms, 50 percent either took more than 24 hours to respond, or simply never responded at all. Talk about a lost opportunity. If all your marketing efforts are designed to drive calls or emails to your firm, it’s imperative that you have a strong intake process that is clear, tenacious, responsive and thorough. Look for those four qualities in your own law firm.

When customers call your office, does your receptionist clearly state the law firm’s name? If you reply to an online email form submission, does your email subject line make sense? When communicating with a prospective client, you have to be clear about who you are and why you’re contacting them. After all, the prospect may have contacted several firms in one setting, attempting to connect with anyone who can help. If you’re one of the several attorneys responding, clarity helps you stand out from the crowd. This is especially important in email, where a vague subject line is easy to write off as irrelevant.

Tenacity is essential for law firms because prospects are often difficult to reach. It usually takes a live conversation to convert leads into clients. Simply put, one voicemail does not a client make. If you have trouble connecting with a new lead, don’t give up and don’t shift the burden back to them with a passive email reply. Be tenacious and watch your customer base grow.

As we’ve mentioned before, legal consumers are moving fast when selecting an attorney. This means that the initial contact may be your only opportunity to retain a potential client. If you aren’t responsive to new opportunities as they come in, those customers will move on without you.

Finally, if you have support staff or online forms that send you prospective customers, make sure they’re gathering complete, relevant information. Full names, phone numbers, email addresses, and a basic overview of the case are the minimum you need to make a decision whether to move forward with that opportunity.

Most law firms work hard to ensure that potential clients contact their offices. The natural follow-up to those efforts is an intake process that delivers an excellent experience for the customer, and valuable data for the firm. If you’re looking to improve this experience for your firm, read and share the free playbook: Legal Marketing 101: A Guide for Small Law Firms.

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