The number one challenge facing solo and small law firms is acquiring new client business. Law firms spend lots of time and money trying to attract legal consumers yet many firms struggle with their intake process. A poor intake, results in a significant loss of revenue – new client business is lost and marketing dollars are wasted.
At the end of the day, getting new business is about connecting with potential clients wherever they are. With over three-quarters of potential clients turning to the internet to find a lawyer at some point in the process, the need for an active digital presence is greater than ever. Lawyers must actively engage with legal consumers, whether they are on their website, their profile on an online directory or marketplace, or reading an online review.
Successfully engaging and capturing leads is reliant on understanding how people want to connect and communicate with a law firm. People don’t want to fill out forms. 90% of consumers want to use messaging to communicate with businesses and 85% of consumers want their communication to be two-way conversations. However, according to a survey by FindLaw, only one percent of law firm websites have a chat option and zero percent of firms respond to chat requests within 30 seconds. Furthermore, 70% of law firm websites don’t have a direct call to action on their homepage even though 74% of all legal consumers visit law firms’ websites to take action. And, a significant number of law firm websites lack basic contact information such as email addresses and phone numbers. Moreover, an estimated 40% of prospective clients come in after hours, so law firms only active during business hours are missing out.
In today’s world of digital communication, making a potential client wait hours or days to get a follow up will likely cost you the client. According to a survey by FindLaw, if a legal consumer successfully makes contact with a firm, there is an 87% chance they will hire them. Multiple studies have confirmed that lead response time is of the utmost importance, and that the rates of contact and conversion drop dramatically in a matter of minutes. In a study conducted by the ABA Law Practice Division’s Social Media, Legal Blogs, and Websites Committee, 42% of the time, law firms take three or more days to reply to a voicemail or web-generated form fill from a prospective client.
The intake process requires law firm staff to complete many routine and tedious tasks. Gathering client information, scheduling an appointment, and manual data entry are labor intensive, intermittently inaccurate, and limited to work-hour availability. This type of burdensome and inefficient intake process results in lower conversion rates, missing out on possible winnable and priority cases, and causing slowdowns to office operations.
Law firms must look to technology to help them transform how they connect and communicate with legal consumers. Given increasing competitive pressures, an effective intake process is vital to the success and growth of a law firm. Law firms that leverage messaging and automation tools will increase efficiency and conversion rates, and improve customer service. This will free up time to help lawyers have productive relationships with their clients, better understand their clients’ legal needs, and better serve their clients.
What does your intake process look like?