Live Chat for Law Firm Websites: Why It Works

You know it’s true: We live in a world where seemingly everyone prefers to tap on a screen rather than talk on a phone.

That includes visitors to your law firm website—whether you are offering personal injury, workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability or any type of plaintiffs’ legal services.

Here’s a tested and proven way to let more of your potential clients reach you how THEY want to communicate: Live Chat for law firms.

If you force your website visitors to call, you may lose them as potential clients. Sure, they can fill out a website form, but you know it can be hard to get them on the phone later.

And if your law office is closed when someone is on your website, must they really wait until the next day to connect with a live human?

With a small bit of Live Chat software on your website and 24-hour service, you keep open a line of communication to potential clients anytime, immediately.

And, yes, your website produces more clients as a result.

Let’s look closer…

Live Chat for Lawyers Is Powerful

Few attorneys realize how many people look at your website and leave.

Your internet marketing company doesn’t like you thinking about all those visitors who simply move on without calling you or filling out your web form, so they rarely talk about it.

For years now, Firmidable has been watching and studying Live Chat in action for our law firm marketing clients around the United States. This is what we’ve found: A Live Chat service—operated by a quality third-party vendor—succeeds in turning more website visitors into clients. Usually to a dramatic degree.

In this post we’ll explain who answers the chats, whether they give legal advice, whether you need a staff member standing by at all hours, what kinds of conversations potential clients have on the system, and how they screen chats to bring you the right kinds of cases.

What Attorneys Say about Live Chat for Lawyers

Peter Gorton, an attorney in New York State, explains in this video how well Live Chat for law firm websites has worked for him. Could Live Chat double your new cases from your law firm’s website? Listen to this lawyer’s experience.

When Firmidable’s legal marketing team first recommended Live Chat to Peter Gorton of 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 the 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.”  In fact, it doubled his law firm website’s results, and he called it “a game changer.”

This is his message to other law firms: “It’s something you should do, period. There’s no question about it.”

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How Live Chat Helps 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 for law firms creates another opportunity for prospects to talk to you and become clients, said Doug Cardinale, a senior account manager 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

A good Live Chat provider also offers to communicate in Spanish as an option, once again empowering potential clients to communicate in the way they want to ask about a potential case.

So How Does Live Chat Work for Law Firms?

After testing a variety of providers, with both live operators and chat bots, Firmidable has partnered with Ngage Live Chat, a company that’s been hosting Live Chat services since 2008. They’ve handled more than 6 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 no one from your firm is likely interested in working 24/7.

Amie Portis, director of business development for Ngage, says most of the initial questions from users of Live Chat are very basic, like how to get started. “Many question whether they even have a valid case.”

Don’t worry: The Ngage professionals who answer the chats never give out legal advice.

  • They do gather answers from your prospective clients on general questions about their circumstances.
  • They gather contact information.
  • They assure potential clients that your law firm will follow up.
  • Then they forward summaries of the conversations to your firm, which lets your team quickly assess your potential interest in this case.
  • If it’s during office hours and a potential client meets your criteria, they can even do a “live transfer” to your office or set up an “instant call back” to eliminate any delay.

But Will Your Law Firm Get Qualified Leads from Live Chat?

A key to the effectiveness of Ngage Live Chat is that the system only passes along qualified leads.

That means if someone in a chat has a problem unrelated to your law firm’s practice areas, or otherwise doesn’t meet your firm’s criteria for a relevant lead, Ngage doesn’t forward it, and you don’t pay for the chat.

This is the part attorney Peter Gorton really loves about Live Chat for law firms: “They do not charge us unless it’s an actual lead.”
He says since his firm pays by the lead, and the cost is minimal, he considers this one of the best attributes of Live Chat.

How Live Chat Turns Website Traffic into New Cases

Doug Cardinale 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 that sales associate asks if they have any questions.

But for the one or two who do have questions, having that rep there when the potential customer wants to talk can be the difference between buying on the spot or leaving the store to shop 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 can stop potential clients from searching for other law firms. Without that immediate human interaction, even if they fill out a form on your website, they still might go to a competing firm’s site, and also fill out a form there. They’ll keep going until they find someone to talk to them about their legal problem.

Alternatively, if they have an online chat with the firm, they will feel they have been heard and have made at least the first step toward the help they seek.

Doug also says people using Live Chat are more likely to hire a lawyer after the initial chat. Their interest in chatting indicates they’re ready to stop reading website pages and are ready for action on their case.

“When they want to connect about their case, you’d better not make them wait,” he cautions.

So if your law practice isn’t offering Live Chat for prospective clients eager to make a connection and get help, you could be missing a chance to get more cases—and revenue.

Disclosure: The Firmidable law firm marketing agency receives a referral fee for firms 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. So tell Ngage that Firmidable suggested that you, well, chat with them.

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 online.

Firmidable has been a national expert in legal marketing for 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.

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About the Author: Will Chapman

Will Chapman is a writer based in New Iberia, La., and a former newspaper publisher and columnist.

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