When was the last time you thought about the experience of prospective clients contacting your office for the first time?
Do they typically speak to a professional right away? No? Okay, do they get to speak to a live human? If they are filling out a web site contact form, how much time passes before they receive a response? Do emails receive a timely response?
According to a recent article from Law Technology Today, researchers posing as prospective clients calling U.S. law firms had results that they termed “shocking.”
For example, the percentage of would-be prospects actually speaking with a lawyer is in the single digits, and a small percentage find the menu system daunting enough that they throw in the towel and hang up without ever speaking to a human. In addition, over 40 percent of the time, at least three days pass without a response to a voice mail or web submission.
The article goes on to show detailed graphs of the experiences in the study, and reveals that responsiveness is at the top of the list of priorities of prospective clients.
When was the last time a member of the firm called in and listened to what prospective clients (and current clients) are hearing? Is the voice message up to date? Is it clear?
Does the caller hear the entire message? Does your phone system provide reports on callers who hang up without leaving a message?
It’s not just that a caller could have a less-than-stellar experience. If you have an advertising budget, and especially if you are launching a marketing initiative, new web site rollout, or web ad, you certainly will want to do everything possible to put those marketing dollars to good use. This includes minimizing the time it takes to reach a live person, and if an attorney is not immediately available, making sure enough details are recorded so that the professional returning the call has an idea of what to expect. To take this a step further, Part II of the above-referenced article even tells how to have someone call into and evaluate your own firm, with questions to ask based on the study criteria evaluated as most important.
Once the initial caller experience is successfully creating the desired impression of the firm, it’s time to have a Client Intake system set up in your practice management program or contact manager. That way, any firm member can not only easily pull up a list of prospects awaiting a response, but also view a list of questions to ask based on the type of case and record details that will be useful when responding to the inquiry. Having the name in the firm’s contact list can help in other ways, too; we work with one firm where a supposed prospect, on multiple occasions, called to set up an appointment which they then cancelled on short notice. Having this information visible to the person answering a call can avoid wasting everyone’s time. A good intake process can also provide valuable feedback and even analytics such as the percentage of prospects who become clients and the acquisition cost of these clients.
All of the Crosspointe consultants are certified in one or more practice management systems. Give us a call at 877-357-0555, or email us at [email protected] to let us assist you in setting up a top-notch Client Intake system. Make the most of your marketing dollars and increase your return on the investment in your software at the same time.
Jack Schaller has been active in the field of law office technology since 1989, and has worked with a variety of commercial accounting, legal billing, practice management, and document management software products during his twenty plus years in the software consulting field. During his tenure as a software consultant he has garnered many sales and service awards for his work with legal software products. Jack is a frequent presenter at legal conferences and seminars, and is a regular contributor to TechnoLawyer and other technology publications.