Like most law firms, you’ve likely invested a small fortune in marketing campaigns to generate new business leads and attract more clients. Although your marketing efforts have produced increased inquiries and contacts for your firm, the results may not be translating to increases to the bottom line.
If your law firm is not hitting its revenue goals, you may need to re-evaluate your client intake process. According to Hennessy Digital’s 2021 Lawyer Response Study, which measured how long on average it took for law firms to respond to lead form submissions, more than 40 percent of law firms are leaving leads “on the table,” meaning they’re not following up with potential clients who are reaching out with inquiries. And, only 15 percent of law firms are responding to online leads within the right amount of time (5 minutes or less).
A superior intake process can help you convert more personal injury and mass tort leads into clients, as well as improve their perception of your firm. In addition, with a seamless and effective intake process, your prospects are more likely to stop looking around for other firms and sign on with yours.
To maximize your law firm’s annual revenue and marketing return on investment (ROI), use this informative guide for streamlining your client intake process.
Incoming leads are the driving force behind your law firm’s success. Every new lead is an opportunity to gain a new paying client. A great intake process has the power to help you instantly capture every single lead and stop the client from shopping around by signing them on immediately. And as you convert these new leads, you effectively optimize your marketing ROI.
Furthermore, a seamless intake process improves the efficiency of your firm and quality of your service. This winning strategy also helps ensure your clients have the best experience possible, starting from their first contact with your firm.
Despite the value of a superior intake process, many law firms are not making it a priority. In fact, the above mentioned report from Hennessy Digital shows that up to 40 percent of calls from prospective clients to law firms are going completely unanswered. A similar study from Law Technology Today found that many law firms that do respond to leads are taking three or more days to reply to prospective clients’ messages up to 42 percent of the time. Fortunately, there are a few strategies you can use to effectively improve your client intake and boost your results.
Although you may need to completely overhaul your intake process, your efforts will undoubtedly pay off in the end. You can get started by utilizing the following best practices to establish your superior intake process and maximize the success of your marketing program.
You need a dedicated intake department to maximize the effectiveness of your intake process. Otherwise, your staff could miss key opportunities to convert leads into paying clients due to the detrimental impact of multitasking. The need to handle multiple tasks at once, or switch quickly between tasks, can result in a serious reduction of productivity across your team.
You can give your prospects the best quality of service by hiring at least one intake specialist who’s solely responsible for managing client intake. You also need your intake staff to receive ongoing, comprehensive training to preserve the integrity of your intake process. With quality training, they should be able to take new leads and convert them into paying clients by the end of the intake process.
To serve more members of your community, you can also expand your team to include bilingual intake specialists. With these specialists on your team, you can reach a segment of the population that was otherwise inaccessible to your law firm. With the Hispanic population making more than 18 percent of the total U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019), bilingual intake specialists can help you communicate effectively to your Spanish-speaking prospects.
Superior intake requires 24/7/365 support to ensure all leads receive a prompt response and attention. To give your prospects the best quality of service, this level of support needs to continue through holidays, lunch breaks, vacations and even natural disasters that interrupt normal firm operations. The ultimate goal is to prioritize responsiveness—providing a live response to every incoming lead despite the time or day.
While your law firm staff can’t work around-the-clock, a legal services call center can. Consider outsourcing your intake services to improve your responsiveness, thus capturing every incoming lead and maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
To ensure your new leads convert into paying clients, you must strive to have prospects sign contracts immediately after intake. One way to achieve this is by offering convenient ways for them to receive and sign contracts and fee agreements.
You can deliver contracts via text or email, and allow prospects to e-sign documents from their smartphone, tablet or laptop. With electronic contract signing procedures, you simply send a link to the documents for review and signing. Your prospective clients click through the document, read the text and sign on the line with a couple clicks of the button. If this is not possible for your law firm, you can also send the documents by FedEx without breaking your initial contact with the prospective client.
According to a Martindale study, up to 26 percent of law firms do not track their leads, resulting in an inability to effectively convert them into paying clients. Efficient lead tracking, however, allows you to follow your leads from their first point of contact with your firm to the conversion stage (meaning when they officially become a signed, paying client).
Done right, you can respond to prospects’ needs at every stage of the process, increasing your chances of conversion.
To take advantage of lead tracking, you will need to have working systems and tools in place, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software or case management software (CMS). These tools should help you manage new leads, provide specialized attention and allow you to follow up with them in multiple ways, including email and text. As a result, you can be certain your clients receive the help and information they need at critical stages of the intake process.
To determine the effectiveness of your client intake process, it’s important to evaluate key metrics from time to time. Explore your call-lead capture rate and lead conversion rate to assess whether your current efforts are working. To start, you should set a 99 percent call-lead capture benchmark as your goal. If you are not achieving your goals, make the necessary adjustments that will help improve your call-lead capture and conversion rates across the board.
Your intake process has a significant impact on the amount of new leads you capture and convert. When you put time and effort into creating superior intake, you can boost your annual revenue and maximize the ROI from your marketing campaigns. Moreover, an effective intake process builds client confidence in your firm and discourages prospects from shopping around to other firms. When you utilize the best practices listed above, you ensure your intake process successfully supports your marketing efforts and converts more leads into paying clients.
Visit www.AlertCommunications.com to learn more about how a customized intake process can increase your law firm’s mass tort revenue.