I was speaking with a client not too long ago and he mentioned that even though his marketing was driving leads to the firm, a large percentage of the cases were either shopping or were rejected during the intake process. Because this had been going on for some time, I suggested he might want to review the intake process. We do know that easy access and an increased flow of information has made it much easier to shop for attorneys, but if you see consistently low conversion numbers, it’s time to dig a bit further.
Based on our experience, here are a couple of thoughts:
- Have you “shopped” your firm recently? Many businesses use mystery shoppers who pose as potential clients and call the firm to test the process. You may want to ask a family member or friend to make this call (give them some basic information with a name and address to use so you can remove the fictitious information from the system later). Is the phone answered promptly? What types of questions are asked? How long does the process take?
- For cases that are rejected, look back several months at the reasons for the rejection. Are they in line with your policies? If appropriate, were they referred to another firm? Building a strong referral network will yield long-term benefits—don’t lose this opportunity.
- If a caller is shopping and just has some basic questions, your staff may be able to ask a few pertinent questions that will encourage the client to take the next step. The trick is listening and understanding what questions to ask. Remember that the caller may not speak the same “language” as folks in the legal industry.
- Are your intake specialists really listening and not just note takers? Collecting this intake information can become repetitive and when your specialists are busy they may be inclined to simply ask the questions and write down the answers quickly to get through the form. In reality, people like to talk about what happened to them. Encouraging this can lead to valuable information that may change a decision about the case or lead to related business. The trick, of course, is encouraging some story-telling without allowing the potential client to completely monopolize the specialist’s time!
In an ideal situation, your marketing efforts would be so highly targeted that the leads coming to the firm would all be viable. That is a bit unrealistic! You will not convert 100% of callers, but you may find ways to improve the rate of calls that turn into legitimate cases. If you have any questions about your intake process, we’d love to hear from you. You can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.