We’ve all been there. You look at your phone and see the minutes ticking upward. You’ve been on hold for longer than five minutes. The garbled sound of what might be called smooth jazz assaults your ears. You dare not take the phone away from your head for fear that you will miss someone answering. So you wait…and wait…and hang up.
For most of us, this situation occurs when we have a problem with our television, or Internet, etc., and in these situations we usually don’t hang up because we are at the mercy of the company. We know that even if we do we are still going to have to call back, because they are our provider. We can’t just call a different cable company and have them fix our problem.
But think about your own law firm. Consider your prospects. Let’s say they go to Google to search for an attorney. They start making their way down the list of organic search results and come upon your law firm. They see your phone number in the top, right-hand corner of your website and they dial. The phone rings…and rings…and rings…and they get an answering machine. What do you think is going to happen? Are they going to leave a message? Maybe. Are they going to wait around doing nothing for an hour before trying to call again? Not a chance. Most likely, they are going to hang up and call the next person on their list. This is a person in need. If they are at the point of taking steps to find an attorney, then they aren’t going to wait around for you to call them back. They are going to call until they get ahold of someone who can help them.
If you are losing potential clients because of your intake process, my biggest question is this: why? They are almost there! They’ve looked you up online. They’ve combed your website. Based on the information they found on your website, they’ve decided that they trust you enough to give you a call. If someone is that close to being your client, don’t lose them because you put them on hold for too long.
So how can you go about fixing this? You need to do a deep investigation into your own intake process. Maybe you are satisfied with the number of leads you are receiving or maybe you think that your intake process is sound. The point is this: you can’t know for sure unless you take the time to find out. It will be different for every law firm. Maybe you will uncover one small thing that you can improve upon. Maybe you will discover that you need a complete overhaul of your entire intake system. Either way, taking the time to investigate will do nothing but benefit your law firm in the long term.
Here are some practical applications. Implement some form of call recording system. Again, you can’t know what’s happening on the phone until you invest the time to find out. Sure, you could stand behind your intake specialist for the day and monitor everything, but you have far better uses of your time. A service that we would recommend is CallRail. It records all incoming calls so that you can analyze every step of the process, whenever and wherever is most convenient for you. CallRail also allows you to track where your leads are coming from, whether that’s organic search, PPC, referrals, etc. This is crucial in evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Secondly, invest in your team. You can’t be the person answering every phone call. You’ve got to be out there helping your clients, so take the effort to train your intake specialist to perform to your standards. Some might merely need some pointers here and there. For others, it may be helpful for your intake specialist to have a script to go off of. Either way, by setting up your intake specialist for success, you are setting up your law firm for success. The idea is simple: make the investment now so that your law firm can benefit from it for years and years to come.