Your law firm’s intake process is your first opportunity to directly communicate with potential clients. An efficient and consistent intake process can improve your chances of signing new cases, while mistakes could result in potential clients calling other law firms.

No matter how much success you have marketing your firm and getting potential clients to call, you are going to lose a lot of cases if you have problems with your intake process.

Below, PMP explains how law firms can discover problems with their intake process and some of the most common mistakes law firms make when potential clients call them.

Evaluating and improving your intake process can result in higher conversion rates, allowing you to sign more cases and help more people.

PMP has helped many law firms evaluate their intake process to identify problems and ways to solve them. If you are looking for ways to help your firm sign more cases, contact us to discuss customized marketing solutions.

How Do I Find Out if My Firm’s Intake Process Needs Improvement?

One of the best ways to identify problems with your intake process is to have people call your firm posing as potential clients. This is like what secret shoppers do at restaurants or retail stores.

This strategy allows you to see how your staff interacts with people who are considering hiring your law firm:

  • How do they answer the phone?
  • What are the first questions they ask?
  • Do they leave people on hold too long?
  • Are they consistent?
  • How do they deal with voicemail messages?

PMP uses this strategy to identify problems with client intake and to recommend solutions to law firms.

If you are going to conduct this type of audit, it is important to have a script for secret shoppers to follow. You should also give each person an alias and tell them what to look for.

It is important to note that the purpose of using secret shoppers is not to find problem staff members. This process is about helping your law firm improve how it interacts with potential clients, leading to improved conversion rates.

What Are the Common Mistakes Law Firms Make When Potential Clients Call?

While it is true that many law firms are unique in some way, a lot of them make the same mistakes with client intake. These are some of the most common:

Inconsistency in How Your Team Talks to Potential Clients

Every member of your team who interacts with potential clients should deliver a consistent message about your firm’s values, services and approach to handling cases. Inconsistency can be confusing and alienate potential clients, making them less likely to continue working with you.

For example, it is helpful to ask leading questions to encourage potential clients to provide further explanation about what happened to them. This approach can help make potential clients feel more at ease. In reality, they have probably never dealt with a legal issue like this before.

Being consistent with the information you collect from potential clients is important too. You need to be sure potential clients know how to contact you again. You also need to have their contact information.

Taking Too Long To Qualify Potential Clients

When potential clients call your firm, they need help and they do not want to have to wait too long to get it. If you make potential clients wait too long, they are going to feel like their needs are not a priority. This is often the reason for people to call another firm for legal help.

It is vital to remember that your potential clients are often not motivated by logic, but by emotion. Waiting on hold for too long or being asked to call back leaves people with a negative impression of your law firm.

The goal of your client intake process is to determine if someone may have a case and if they need to talk to an attorney. This is no time to play 20 questions. Your staff should only be asking the questions that help determine if there may be a case.

Asking irrelevant questions makes it seem like your firm is difficult to work with. There are many other law firms. Potential clients who do not have a positive first experience with your firm are much more likely to look elsewhere for a firm that is easier to work with.

The faster you can assess whether a client may have a case, the faster you can get the clients that do have a case on the phone with a lawyer. Once someone is talking to a lawyer, he or she becomes much less likely to seek out another law firm.

Failing To Explain Why Your Law Firm Is Different

We do not need to tell you that the legal industry is incredibly competitive. That is why it is imperative for you to set your firm apart in some way.

Law firms need to explain to potential clients what makes them unique. If people do not know why your firm is unique, they may think they should hang up and call another law firm. People want to find the law firm that is right for them, not one that seems like countless other law firms they have seen on TV or the Internet.

Intake staff need to convey the unique aspects of your firm when potential clients call.

Remember, potential clients have not yet decided whether they want to contact your firm. They still need to be convinced that your firm is the right one for them.

Not Following Up Quickly Enough

Follow-up is where many law firms fall short. Potential clients often reach out to multiple firms. If you take too long to call back or return a call, you risk losing potential clients to your competitors. Law firms often have just minutes to return a call or voicemail.

Returning calls can be a challenge when people call after hours. Many law firms have answering services for off hours to help facilitate faster responses.

Client intake is just one part of the process of signing more cases. Getting more cases starts much earlier, with building a strong brand and conveying your brand message many times. PMP has been helping law firms build legal brands for more than 15 years.

Contact us today to learn more about how we may be able to help your law firm grow.