How Legal Intake Call Centers Help You Get Clients You Didn’t Know You Were Losing
Your law firm, like any successful practice, tries hard to reel in qualified clients when they come to you.
What about potential clients you don’t even know you’re missing?
Think about the hours you don’t have someone manning the phone. If someone calls then looking for help, do you ever find out about it? Even if you do, chances are they’ve called someone else by the time you get back to them.
The solution? A 24-hour legal call center.
At the Firmidable legal marketing agency, we highly recommend that law firms use legal intake call centers. We produced a webcast on just this topic, featuring Tom Ball of Alert Communication—a national attorney answering service—that aired in June.
In this blog, we’ll tell you all the ways a law firm call answering service can help your firm get more clients and revenue. They can:
- Help you find clients from leads you missed, or didn’t even know you had.
- Use personal responses to stop callers from shopping and land you more clients.
- Save you money on advertising, or make the best use of it.
Mine the Gap: Legal Call Centers Show You What’s Missing
Imagine the space between a train and the platform. Now, imagine that the people getting on the train are your prospective clients, and the train car is your firm.
It seems simple. People stroll from the platform to the train without incident.
For law firms, it’s not so easy.
So many leads are lost in that proverbial gap. What about people calling after hours, or on holidays?
They never make it to the train car.
And the worst part? Many firms don’t even have a decent idea of how many clients they’re losing during the intake process—or lack thereof.
Consider this story, told by Firmidable president Nathan Chapman, about the moment he was convinced that all law firms should use call centers:
“I was a participant in a three-way phone call with Tom and a personal injury attorney who was running a paid search digital advertising campaign. The attorney was using his trusted paralegal to be on the front lines of handling the calls and the web leads generated by the campaign. In contrast, I hoped Tom’s call center could generate more cases and revenue than the paralegal was doing alone.
During this introductory call, the attorney complained about spam being generated by the campaign. Tom said, ‘Wait a minute, tell me more about the spam.’ The attorney replied, ‘Well, we have all kinds of leads who seem like callers, but when we go talk to them there’s not a real person there.’
Tom paused for a moment and said, ‘That’s not spam. That’s people who have been on hold too long and hung up before your intake team got to them.’ If not for Tom’s insight, I would’ve been trying to solve the spam problem.”
If you’re a lawyer, think for a second about the leads your law firm is losing. Do you know how it’s happening? Or do you even have a way to find that out?
“Nobody knows that,” Tom said. “We haven’t found one law firm that can really nail that down.”
A call center can put some solid ground for your firm where the gap was. A client can see your ad, no matter the time of night, call the phone number and have their case information entered into your system—or even get signed up as a client over the phone.
Translation: With a call center, there’s a record of every lead coming your way. No more missing calls—and potential cases.
Live Response is Crucial: Stop the Shopping and Land More Legal Clients
No matter the time of day, you need a real person answering your calls 24/7. It’s been proven, over and over again, to convert leads into clients.
A call center provides that.
“The initial caller experience is critical,” Tom said. “Let’s talk about it from their perspective. They expect immediate live response and not to be put on hold.”
Think about what your clients are going through.
They don’t want to hire a lawyer—it means something has gone wrong in their lives. Sure, you can be of great help, but it’s not a happy time for them when they show up at your door.
They reached out to you hoping to ease their problems. When they can’t reach you, they move on to the next lawyer—your competition.
As Tom says, your marketing has compelled them to call, but another law firm ends up claiming the benefits. “You’re effectively marketing for your competition down the street,” he said.
It’s why a live response is so important. Having a real person on the line when the potential client calls—one that can empathize with the caller and thus build trust—will greatly increase your chances of winning over that client.
That’s something an impersonal online form can’t do.
Tom said his employees are trained to “stop the shopping” during calls with potential clients. Remember: they’re not eager to talk to more law firms, so don’t make them.
At the end of the call, a competent call answering service worker will invite the client to end their lawyer search while they’re still on the phone.
In fact, conversion rates—or the portion of prospects who become signed clients—jump from 45% to 70% when the client is kept on the phone to sign a retainer, Tom said.
“You have to have methods in place to make sure that after they hang up with you, they’re not moving on to another law firm,” Tom said.
Give them the light at the end of the tunnel that they’re looking for.
Crunch the Numbers: An Attorney Answering Service Will Save You Money
At our legal marketing firm, we’ll often encounter this scenario when producing a digital paid search campaign: the law firm only wants their ads to run during normal business hours, so they can properly answer leads when a potential client sees the ad.
Makes sense, right?
The problem: paid search ads are based on an auction system, and ads during the business day end up costing you more.
If you have a 24/7 intake process, you can run ads at any time—which means your marketing dollars work harder, thanks to the lower cost of after-hours ads.
“Many firms just look at call centers as an extra expense, when in reality, they’re actually lowering your costs,” Nathan said. “That’s why we’re so high on them.”
Think about what lost leads—the people contacting you during off hours—are costing your bottom line, too.
The math is simple. The decision is easy. Hiring a call center, in our opinion, helps law firms thrive.
If your law firm wants help adding a call center to your intake process, talk to Firmidable today.
Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for almost 30 years. It brings law firms customized, data-driven marketing strategies and services, including online and traditional media for a wide range of legal practices. From Maine to Hawaii, it has transformed the lives of attorneys—and their clients.