Live Chat for Attorneys: Why It Works
If someone reaches out to you through your law firm’s website — and you don’t respond quickly — you stand to lose them as a potential client.
One of the leading tools available to combat this is Live Chat.
But you might hesitate to adopt it if you find those pop-up windows annoying, or if you have doubts about whether chats really lead to cases.
Firmidable has been watching Live Chat in action for law firms around the United States. And this is what we’ve found: A Live Chat service — operated by an experienced third-party vendor — succeeds in capturing more of a firm’s website visitors and turning them into clients.
You may wonder how it works, so in this post we’ll explain who answers the chats, whether you need a staff member standing by at all hours, what kinds of conversations potential clients have on the system, and how it screens chats to bring you the right kinds of cases.
Should You Consider Live Chat? What Other Lawyers Are Saying
When Firmidable first recommended Live Chat to Peter Gorton of The Lachman & Gorton Law Office in Endicott, New York, he was reluctant.
He was concerned it would involve too much time from his staff — time they need to focus on their law practice and existing clients.
Peter said they did a trial run, “. . . and literally within days, we knew this was going to be great for our firm.”
“We immediately began getting leads,” Peter shared, “way more than what we thought we’d get, and our time invested was minimal.”
This is his message to other law firms: “It’s something you should do, period. There’s no question about it.”
What Live Chat Does for Law Firms: A Conversation Starter
You put your phone number on your website so prospective clients will call you. You probably also use online forms people can fill out.
Live Chat creates another opportunity for prospects to talk to your law firm and become clients, said Alex Ludwig, senior account executive at Firmidable. “I’ve heard nothing but good reviews from law firms around the country,” he said.
If your law firm is not yet using Live Chat, you should explore the following:
- How Live Chat systems work for attorneys
- How Live Chat gives you qualified prospects
- How Live Chat attracts the prospects as clients
So How Does Live Chat Work for Law Firms?
Firmidable partnered with Ngage Live Chat, a company that’s been hosting Live Chat services since 2008. They’ve handled more than 2 million chats.
Ngage team members take care of the Live Chat sessions, greeting visitors to your website and giving them a chance to share the basics of their legal situation.
This means you don’t need to assign someone from your office to Live Chat duty, which is good because you likely don’t have anyone working 24/7.
Amie Portis, director of business development for Ngage, says the company’s “secretaries” are on duty all the time.
The people who answer the chats don’t give out legal advice. They do gather answers from prospective clients on general questions about their circumstances and contact information. They assure potential clients that your law firm will follow up. The secretaries then forward summaries of the conversations to your firm.
Ngage Live Chat also offers an option for “instant call back,” so if someone’s available at the firm, a prospect can connect with a lawyer right away.
But Will Your Law Firm Get Qualified Prospects?
A key to the effectiveness of Ngage Live Chat is that the system only passes along qualified leads.
If someone in a chat has a problem unrelated to your law firm’s practice areas, or they otherwise don’t meet your firm’s criteria for a relevant lead, Ngage doesn’t forward it.
And this is the part Peter Gorton really loves: “They do not charge us unless it’s an actual lead.”
He says his firm pays by the lead, and the cost is minimal, which he considers one of the best attributes of Live Chat.
How Live Chat Attracts Prospects as Legal Clients
Alex Ludwig from Firmidable suggests law firms think of Live Chat as their virtual equivalent of a sales rep on the floor of a retail store.
Nine out of ten people looking at TVs, for example, may say “No thanks” when a sales rep asks if they have any questions.
But for the one or two who do have questions, having that rep there when the prospect wants to talk can be the difference between their buying on the spot or leaving the store and going somewhere else.
Studies have shown that you have five minutes to reply to someone who fills out a form online — or they move on. Responding that quickly might be logistically impossible for your firm, unless you have a feature like Live Chat.
Another benefit is that Live Chat has the power to stop clients from searching for other law firms. Without it, they might leave your website, go to a competing firm’s site, and fill out a form there. They’ll keep going until they find help for their problem.
If they have a chat instead, they feel they have been heard and have found the help they seek. Live Chat stops their search by giving them a next step — connecting them to your firm’s intake team.
Alex also says people using Live Chat are more likely to hire a lawyer in the first place. Their interest in chatting indicates they’re ready for action on their case.
So if your law practice isn’t offering Live Chat for prospective clients who are eager to make a connection with someone and get help, you could be missing a chance to get more cases — and revenue.
Full disclosure: Firmidable gets a referral fee for clients it sends to Ngage. But we only send people there because we’ve seen how well it works for law firm leaders like Peter Gorton.
At Firmidable, we can help you determine whether Live Chat is right for your law firm. If you want to chat, call us at (504) 525-0932 or contact us via email.
Firmidable is the nation’s best legal marketing agency. We know more than anyone else about how Americans choose their lawyers.