Your law firm’s intake process is one of the critical determining factors of your success. When a prospective client reaches out via any method (phone, web form, chat, email, etc.), you or your team should be prepared to listen to their problem and start helping right away. Don’t panic; we’re here to help you.
If you are following Nanato Media, you must already be familiar with the importance of a reliable intake process for your law firm. We’ve written about it before (tips to optimize your Law Firm’s intake), and we’ve talked about it in In Camera Podcast, our podcast for Law Firm marketing. Today, we’re back at it with a checklist that will make your life easier and increase your chances of conversions and an increased caseload.
Let’s get started.
- Your Law Firm’s intake team daily checklist.
These tasks should be a part of your intake team’s daily routine before getting to work. Each task ensures that your team is one hundred percent ready when prospective clients reach out.
- Check that they are online, available, and fully functional in all platforms, online tools, or lines. That might sound basic, but a daily check keeps things from falling through the cracks and is a mandatory first step for intake success. In the digital age, tools are becoming more and more sophisticated, but there are times that things don’t go as planned. We’ve all seen it happen. A refresh of the window, a confirmation of sign-in, and a simple mobile check can prove beneficial.
- Check the hardware and make sure it’s fully operational. In the same fashion as above, there’s no predicting when a headset might stop working or when it might run out of battery. Perform the necessary checks and confirm that everything is set for the day with a test call.
- Your Law Firm’s situational checklist.
In other words, your law firm’s hands-on checklist. It’s crucial that you have a predetermined flow for your intake process that your intake team can follow to make sure they’re actually able to help your prospective client while gathering all the necessary information.
- Make sure that you respond promptly. If it’s a call, don’t let the phone ring (we suggest a three-rings policy), and, if possible, avoid having callers waiting on hold. Handle web forms, emails, and, of course, live chat the same way.
- Ensure that the right team members are communicating with the right prospect. For example, calls from pages and campaigns in Spanish should be answered by Spanish speaking agents. We cannot stress enough how important this is.
- Once the prospective client reaches out to you, especially on the phone, the first step is to listen to them and understand their issue. That way you’ll understand the type of case, its importance to the prospective client, and its potential for the law firm. You’ll also show empathy which begins to create much-needed bonds. That’s especially crucial when you handle accident/injury-related cases but should be applied to every practice area.
- Capture all the essential contact information and store the data in your CRM. If this is a first time caller, use your call tracking data to register the caller’s contact details. No one likes to spell their name, email, or give out their telephone number, so if you have access to that information, repeat it back to the caller so they can simply confirm it’s correct. If your team makes it easy for the prospective clients, you have a second win (the first one being creating bonds with empathy).
- If this is a second time caller, use your CRM to show the caller you know who they are and have all the information with regards to their case or enquiry.
- Proceed to pre-screening. It may save time for you and the person on the other end. Remember to always handle them with the utmost respect and professionalism. Even if the case is not one that you can take, you can refer them or stay top of mind if they need you in the future. Otherwise, ensure that there’s no conflict, and you can take the case. These steps can save time and money if conducted before the initial consultation.
Tip: Listen carefully to what the prospective client says and have a separate checklist for the questions your team needs to ask at the pre-screening. Don’t judge by the first impression. People might be confused, and a lead that may not seem eligible at first might be an excellent case for your law firm.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your law firm’s location.
Hispanics care a lot about proximity and location. Don’t be surprised if this is the first or second question they ask. Especially if your marketing strategy targets a major metro area, is statewide, or is at a national level. If you don’t have offices in every location you expect to receive calls from, make sure your intake team knows how to answer this particular question. To ensure the lead still finds you suitable to handle their case even though you may not be “local”, here are some ideas on how location questions can be handled:
- We provide services for [insert territory].
- Our attorney can meet with you over a video conference or phone call.
- We can send a representative to meet you at your home, hospital, etc.
Whatever the most suitable answer is for your law firm, make sure you keep the focus on how the client benefits by doing things the way you do them, whether it’s for safety, saving time, comfort, or to get working on the case ASAP. The client has to feel that working with you is a much better solution for them than settling for a law firm that is just closer to them.
- It’s common for prospective clients to ask for references from your past satisfied clients. Don’t you do the same before you start working with another company or vendor? You might not be allowed to give out specific details, but the assurance of a law firm that has handled similar cases and won is incomparable. Consider adding a “Testimonials” section on your website and direct your prospects to that URL for their reference.
- Have the documents they need to sign ready. With the right tools, your intake personnel can generate the agreement documents on the spot, containing the information they gathered. Moving forward, you can use e-signature software (such as DocuSign) to ensure a seamless and immediate process. Make sure you can send those documents via text message or What’s App too. Not everyone uses email. Hispanic blue-collar workers will especially appreciate this option.
- If asked about fees, focus on the value and experience of the law firm. Get your team to confidently speak about how your law firm has helped others with similar cases. Of course, answer their questions and be transparent, but do it in a way that makes you shine. When the prospective client sees the value of working with you, your fees will not be a concern to them. For example, if you charge on a contingency basis, tell them what percentage you charge.You don’t want your clients to be caught by surprise. However, also explain (again) that you have won the largest compensations for your clients.
- In case you can’t handle the specific case, as mentioned above, it’s essential to give a referral. Create a list of referrals and resources for your team. This list points these leads in the right direction when you can’t take their cases. Take it a step further. In your CRM, set reminders for every prospect referred to the state bar or somewhere else and call them two days later to see if they could find the help they needed and be ready to offer them another solution to explore. Through this process, you build loyalty, and you can rest assured that the next time that prospect needs legal help, you’ll be the first one they reach out to. Who knows? Maybe at that point, they’ll have a case you can sign.
Tip: Have clear standards and checklists so employees know exactly what they are being measured against. Also, measure engagement and empathy. An intake employee could be following the right steps, but if they fail to acknowledge and respond empathetically to what the prospect went through to need your legal help, it should be pointed out to them and they should be held accountable for it.
What are our key takeaways:
- Small steps can make a significant impact on your law firm, increasing conversions and signed cases.
- Automation is by your side and can improve your business processes, but don’t forget about the human touch. It’s particularly vital for prospective clients, especially Hispanics who pay attention to cultural bonds.
- Keep your intake team trained and updated on your marketing efforts. That way, they can handle prospective clients with the advantage of having more information before engaging in a conversation with them.