As much as we might hate to admit it, running a law firm is essentially the same as managing a business that provides a service. The premise is the same: you need to get your business name and objective out there by advertising, marketing, and referrals, you need to capture new customers by explaining to them how your service will work and the steps you will both take, you then provide the service which can mean you appear in court, draft a document, or mediate between two parties, all before collecting the ultimate payment for your services. However, there is one step of the process which is more important than all of the others when it comes to the survival of your business and its ability to remain profitable. That is the part where you actually capture the new customers, which in the case of running a law firm, is your legal intake. Here’s why:
Your marketing and advertising cost you money.
You are already spending a certain amount of money to create the demand for your services. People are now calling you because they’ve seen your billboard, heard your advertisement, or discovered your website online through search – all of these sources have costed you money but have now actually worked! If you do not have a legal intake process in place to handle these people once the money you’ve spent has resulted in a potential sale, then your marketing and advertising dollars are essentially wasted.
You can’t work for someone who doesn’t hire you.
This sounds silly, but it’s true, and here’s why: If you don’t capture the business of the caller that you marketed or advertised to, you won’t actually be able to provide your services. By having a legal intake system in place, you ensure that your customer enters the third stage of the “life cycle” of a law firm client, which is where you actually provide the service they were interested in hiring you for in the first place. I bet you can guess what my next point will be!
You can’t get paid and become profitable if you have no clients to work for.
“I get it, I need legal intake. But what’s the solution?”
Well, hiring an answering service to handle your legal intake is the first step, but since you asked, I’ll tell you how we at Answering Legal handle your legal intake!
We Answer Your Calls 24 Hours a Day
The first step in converting your caller into a paying customer is to answer the phone, not let that potential new client’s call reach your voicemail. Why? 72% of callers hang up when they reach an automated voicemail system, which means they will try to call someone else for help with their problem. By having Answering Legal as a backup support system, you’ll never miss the new client’s call.
We Perform the Legal Intake
Depending on the type of law you practice, we ask detailed questions to discover more about the person’s needs, so that you can call them back and have a better chance of converting the caller into a new client. We also tell the caller that you will be getting back to him/her right away, so that he/she won’t try to call another attorney for help. You might be wondering, well what does the legal intake consist of, so I’ll cover that now.
“What does the legal intake consist of?”
Well like I mentioned before, the legal intake depends on the type of law you practice, but mostly it is a proven-to-work list of questions that our legal intake receptionists expertly ask your callers, in order for them to not only feel that they have begun the process of hiring an attorney, but you have all of the information you need in order to call the person back and make a compelling argument as to how you are going to help them with the problem they are having. What are the questions? Well, here is a great example:
If your caller is calling regarding a criminal defense case we would ask him/her the following questions.
- What type of case are you calling about?
- What was the date of the arrest?
- What are the charges?
- Do you have a court date, if so, what is the next court date?
- What county/municipality did this occur in?
These questions have proven to be the most successful pieces of information for our criminal defense attorneys when it comes to converting the caller into a new client.
Even if you don’t go with Answering Legal, you should definitely consider hiring an answering service, and even more importantly, ensuring your legal intake system is set up for success!