Is your firm giving enough attention to its lead capturing process? Are a majority of the prospective clients calling into your office actually becoming paying clients? These are questions every attorney must be asking themselves if they want to see their practice grow.
Answering phone calls of course remains a significant part of the lead capturing process, as the first call a law office receives from a potential new client truly has the power to make or break a relationship. In this blog post, we’ll examine seven of the biggest law firm call handling mistakes we see being made by firms today, and offer some tips on how attorneys can improve their lead capturing process.
Mistake #1- Failing To Pick Up The Phone
The fastest way for your firm to lose out on new customers these days is to allow them to reach your voicemail. Yes, a new lead really can vanish that easily. When consumers are faced with pressing legal matters, they want to secure the help of an attorney right away. If your office doesn’t have a live professional ready to answer a prospect’s call the first time they dial into your office, your chances of winning their business become extremely low. Your prospects want immediate assurance that your firm is ready to take on their issues, and your voicemail can’t provide that.
Having a live representative of your firm ready to answer incoming calls at all hours of the day is a must in order to keep your new client conversion rate high. That’s why attorneys should consider investing in an always live phone answering service like Answering Legal. Our receptionist team is available to answer calls 24/7/365, meaning your customers will never have to deal with the beep of an automated machine again, and your firm can always provide immediate assistance to its new prospects.
Mistake #2- Taking Your Stressful Day Out On A Caller
Let’s be honest, as a lawyer, there are certain times where you probably shouldn’t be anywhere near a phone. Everyone goes through challenging work days, and perhaps no one deals with more daily aggravation than attorneys. And when your stress level is through the roof, it can be difficult to turn on the charm and make a great first impression on a potential new client. Getting a new lead to call into your firm takes a lot of hard work these days, and the last thing you want is to lose that lead because they called in at a time where you were a bit on the cranky side.
It’s simply not fair to expect an attorney to be pleasant and charming 24/7, which is why it is important that they have either a service like Answering Legal or trusted in-office staff members ready to help out at anytime. If you’re having a stressful day, it will be comforting to know that you don’t have to pick up every incoming call, and that your firm will still have a strong chance at capturing new leads without you having to get on the phone.
Mistake #3- Trying To Improvise Your Way Through The Intake Process
Being a great talker or great legal mind unfortunately doesn’t guarantee you’ll be successful when conducting the legal intake process. The only way for your firm to guarantee consistent success in the new client intake stage, is too properly prepare for it. Even if you’ve taken callers through hundreds of intakes for your practice before, odds are if you try to go off-script when conducting the process, you’ll end up forgetting to gather at least a few important pieces of information. It’s only natural, considering attorneys tend to have about a billion things on their plate at one time.
If you haven’t done so already, you and your staff need to sit down and write out a list of intake questions to ask all of your prospective clients. The list of questions should be made available to all who perform new client intakes on behalf of your firm, that way your firm can remain successful at capturing new leads even when the head of the firm is not present. Another option is of course is to hire Answering Legal, a company with trained legal receptionists that can perform new client intakes on your behalf. Our receptionists can ask intake questions specific to your practice, and will send the results of the intake process to attorneys via text and/or email message once the call concludes.
Mistake #4- Not Being Aware Of Your Firm’s Online Presence
Before anyone calls you looking for legal help these days, you can expect them to spend some time researching your firm online first. Because of this, during calls with new leads, you’ll likely get a lot of specific questions about things on your website or online reviews. If you aren’t ready to address their comments, or their comments catch you by surprise, it won’t be a good look. No one wants to hire an out-of-touch lawyer. The answer, “I have a guy that handles all my online stuff”, isn’t going to satisfy most modern day consumers.
Lawyers must make sure to always be monitoring their firm online closely. Even if they have professionals guiding them in making marketing decisions, attorneys still need to be heavily involved in the process. If you’re not sure about something regarding your website or an advertising campaign you’re running, ask your marketing team. It’s part of their job to keep you in the loop. If your firm has a high number of negative reviews, you better be ready to explain why you received such reviews. If there is out-of-date information anywhere on the web on your firm, make sure your team updates it right away.
Mistake #5- Being Vague About The Cost Of Your Services
Don’t beat around the bush when it comes to price. Once a new lead explains their issue to you, be prepared to offer an estimate on what your services will cost. If a customer seems hesitant when you share your cost with them, carefully explain how you go about billing clients, and what your firm will do to justify the money you’re charging. Being transparent with consumers about money from the start will make it more likely that they will trust you moving forward.
Of course there’s a risk of a prospect hearing your prices, and deciding right away that they are out of your budget. But, would you rather have a customer decide not to use your firm during their initial phone call or weeks into their legal process. It’s always best to rip this band-aid off early, and address pricing concerns in the beginning of a new relationship.
Mistake #6- Not Being Ready To Schedule A Follow-Up Appointment
Legal consumers are much more likely to move forward with your firm if they know what the next step is. You never want to leave a new lead calling into your firm for the first time, unsure about what will happen next. When any level of uncertainty exists, a prospect will be much more likely to shop around and call your competitors. The truth is that people in need of legal help are often more concerned with getting immediate assistance than getting the best assistance.
Make sure everyone who is being tasked with capturing new leads on behalf of your law office has access to your attorneys’ calendar, and has the ability to book new appointments on their behalf. Letting a new prospect know exactly when they’ll get a chance to speak with their attorney next will make it much more likely that they commit to using your firm. Part of what makes Answering Legal the premier answering service choice for lawyers, is our receptionists’ ability to book new appointments on behalf of a firm, and schedule them directly into a lawyer’s calendar software. Our teams gives your firm the ability to book new appointments at literally any time, something your competitors likely won’t be able to do.
Mistake #7- Not Finding Out Where New Leads Are Coming From
One of the best ways to find out if your marketing efforts are working or need some adjusting, is to talk directly to the people that end up contacting your firm. If you consistently find that new leads are coming from a single online source (ex: LinkedIn, Email Newsletters), it may be time to pour money into those platforms. Your marketing process really needs to be under constant examination, and learning where new leads are coming from can be as simple as asking the question, “how did you learn about our law office?”. In many cases, the answers you hear may be quite enlightening.