Why Law Firms Must Optimize their Intake Process

When a potential client reaches out to your law firm – what do you do? How you react within the first 30 seconds will dictate whether your law firm’s revenue will increase every year, or if your potential client will walk out the door and proceed to your competitor. Your law firm’s intake process will make all the difference.

Growing a law firm is straightforward. All you need to do is to bring in a steady stream of clients regularly. It sounds easy, but rather challenging to make it happen.

While traditional marketing strategies are still valid, online marketing is the best way to grow your law firm. In this regard, there are two approaches on how to grow your law practice:

• Increase your marketing efforts to generate more traffic to your website and therefore increase leads.

• Optimize your sales funnel to increase your conversion rate of leads to actual clients.

Both strategies can effectively grow your law firm, but optimizing your process to get the highest conversion levels can give you the highest returns for your marketing budget.

What is the Legal Client-Intake Process?

The legal intake process is a series of steps that convert a lead into a paying client.  It is the sales process of law firms.

The Legal Client-Intake process entails the collection of detailed case information from prospects or leads, so they are correctly qualified and accepted as cases.

During the process, the law firm can provide an initial consultation to the potential client. After the intake process, the law firm can accept or decline a client.

Why Law Firms Must Optimize their Intake Process

It is essential to optimize your law firm’s client intake process. Generating leads and converting them into clients is vital to the growth of your law firm. You should be able to prevent your leads from moving to your competitors to have a better experience.

Many law firms overlook the intake process as an essential factor in their success. It is, however, necessary for every law firm to have a smooth, smart, and compassionate intake process because it spells the difference between a vibrant and a crumbling law firm.

Most of your law firm leads will be coming from your website forms, email responses, phone, and text. It is therefore essential to optimize your law firm’s intake process to maximize these leads:

• Increase lead-to-client conversion

When a potential client reaches out to your law firm, it normally means he or she needs urgent legal help. When your law firm falls short and has an ineffective response, such as replying after 2 to 3 days after a potential client leaves a voicemail, leaves a text or chat message, or fills up a lead form on your website, it will limit your ability to convert these leads into paying clients.

If you are attentive and immediately respond to an inquiry, you will most likely convert your lead into a paying client. You can also integrate a lead tracking strategy to quickly convert more leads into paying clients.

• Improve client Retention

An optimized intake process creates a positive experience for every client.  It usually involves personal attention and excellent communication with the client, factors which improve the satisfaction of the client.

Clients who are happy and content with the service they receive from your law firm will become your loyal clients. They will always have your law firm at the top of their minds and will return each time they have legal issues and need legal representation.

• Improve ROI

It can be costly to generate leads. Optimizing your intake process helps convert more leads into paying clients, increasing your return on investment (ROI) for your expenditure in generating leads.

• Generate referrals

Happy and satisfied clients will not only generate repeat business for your law firm. They will also refer their family and friends to your law firm when they need legal services.

Referrals constitute a free advertisement for your law firm, generating more leads you can funnel into your intake process and convert these leads into paying clients.

With a robust intake process, your clients become inspired to bring in positive referrals, even at the onset of your firm-client relationship.

Optimizing the intake process will ensure the continued growth of your law firm. Client satisfaction is the result of an optimized intake process and will make your law firm maximize the benefits of this process.

How to Optimize the Legal Intake Process?

Setting up and optimizing your law firm’s intake process requires money and effort. However, future benefits, as mentioned above, cannot be ignored.

All your efforts in building an effective website, investing in online advertising, and doing search engine optimization have paid off. Your website now has visitors who may be potential leads and clients.

Having visitors to your website is something to be proud of because you have a successful digital marketing strategy. Driving visitors to your website is just the beginning.  The user experiences of your visitors will determine if you can convert these leads into paying clients.

When your website visitor decides to contact your law firm, you will need to give them the best first impression. Optimizing your intake process can lead your law firm to greater heights because it can ensure a high lead-to-client conversion rate.

1. Employ Sales-Minded Employees

Your law firm is a business, so hire an intake specialist to ensure leads are properly entertained. If you cannot afford an intake specialist, train your staff properly on this aspect of their work.

Your intake specialist or office receptionist is the first point of contact with potential clients. They are the ones who provide the first impressions potential clients get of your law firm.

Within just a few minutes or seconds of speaking with your intake specialist, a potential client will form a first impression of your law firm’s efficiency, professionalism, and the experience they can expect when they decide to engage the services of your law firm.

The intake process is the sales process of law firms. The main goal of your intake specialist is to “close a sale” or convert a lead into a paying client.

You can make your intake specialist use a script when they talk to potential clients to ensure your intake process’s consistency. This can reduce the risk of your employee fumbling over what to say and confusing the potential client.

Just make sure your staff are taught to think for themselves – for when things go off script.

Therefore, it is beneficial to hire an intake specialist with sales experience because they understand the value of generating leads and the importance of customer experience to convert leads into paying clients.

2. Hire People for the Intake Process

While automated intake systems seem more cost-effective, it is associated with poor user experience. When a potential client gets in touch with a law firm, they are at their most vulnerable time and expects to be assisted with care and compassion.

Talking to a computer and being guided by a recorded voice prompt is the last thing your potential client needs because he needs immediate help.

Talking to a live representative of your law firm will give your potential client the impression that your law firm is committed to providing clients with personal service.

Empower your intake specialist or receptionist. They play an important role in turning leads into paying clients. Similarly, they can also be the stumbling block that can lead to loss revenue.

3. Treat Prospects with Empathy

Treat your clients as human beings with real legal concerns. They need legal help, that is, why they contacted your law firm. Most people hate hiring lawyers because, more often, it means that they are in some trouble.

Avoid treating potential clients as business prospects. They should be treated as human beings with legal problems. A good strategy is to let the prospective client know that your law firm can help with their legal issue.

4. Follow-up with Prospective Clients

Determine the right time to follow-up with potential clients after the initial meeting or phone call. Immediate follow-up is needed to gather other information or provide more information to allow the potential client to make an educated decision.

Following-up a potential client at the right time results in a much higher lead-to-client or intake-to-case conversion rate.

Ask the potential client to fill out an intake form – online or through the traditional pen and paper process. This will allow the intake specialist or receptionist to assist the potential client through the intake process adequately.

The intake form should include the name and contact details of the potential client, type of case, and initial details of the case. This form will allow a consistent and error-free intake process. It provides all the answers you need about the potential client to increase your lead-to client conversion.

Final Thoughts

A reliable and robust intake process will get your law firm more clients as well as more and better cases. Your law firm will also get a higher return on investment in its digital marketing investment.

Cracks and flows in your law firm’s intake process will send your potential client off to your competitors. Therefore, it is best to optimize your law firm’s intake process to ensure a higher lead-to-paying client conversion rate.

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