In the last edition, I spoke about phone calls and the importance of answering the phone first-time-right. That means more than just answering the phone, it means answering the phone within the first few rings (yes, it does make a difference), and answering it with empathy and a genuine desire to help the person on the other end of the line. If you want to read more about the horror stories we’ve seen first-hand, click here to view that piece.
Now, let’s move on to the subject of this piece, the other avenue many potential clients choose to take when reaching out to a law firm for the first time: form fills – or filling out a form on your firm’s website.
Let’s start with the basics and dig deeper as we go.
Does Your Website Gather Form Submissions?
You might be surprised to find out that there are some firms out there that do not provide a form-fill option on their website. When I come across firms such as these, I ask the simplest question “why?” and am often met with a simple and honest response, “because we’d rather people call us.”
Fair enough. But let’s dive deeper.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re on a conference call, perhaps a CLE course even, and taken the opportunity to get a few “errands” done? Now, put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients. Can you imagine a scenario where they may want to reach out to your firm, but because of the requirements of their job, they cannot do so during the regular 9-5? The solution? Filling out a form to get in touch with you during business hours with the intention of connecting with you after 5:00 pm.
In fact, not only do we encourage our clients to have form-fills, but we oftentimes encourage them to ask when the best time for a call-back is. When you read that here, it sounds simple enough, but let me pose the question: does your form fill ask the best time to get in touch?
Who Receives Your Firm's Form Submissions?
Another simple question. But, it’s one that’s answer often starts with “I think…”. Well, to be blunt, that answer is unacceptable. If you don’t know, how do you know anyone is receiving the form submissions? For that matter, if you don’t know, how can you possibly know who’s responsible for responding? What’s more, if you don’t know, how can you hold them accountable? To that end…
Does Your Intake Team Have a Proper Follow-Up Process in Place?
Even among some of the best intake teams in the business, this is where many fall short. And what’s more, this is also the reason many firms choose not to ask when the best time to call back may be.
When someone reaches out to your firm, there is a clear expectation on their part that someone will follow up with them. If it’s not met within the timeframe that potential client expects, well, they are onto the next firm – your competitor.
So, why do so many firms fall short in following up? Simple, the timeframe the potential client expects a call (or email) back, does not match that of the firms’ employees. Where the client expects a call back within the hour, the typical employee believes “sometime before the end of the day” will suffice. This lackadaisical approach to response also cuts to the core of why many firms don’t ask that all-important time question; they simply don’t want to commit to meeting that expectation because what happens when “something else comes up”?
The truth of the matter is, poor follow-up is why many firms fail to meet their growth goals. Without proper follow-up, you may as well connect your phone line to your closest competitor because the end result will be the same – the potential client of your firm will become the current client of your competitor.
Tune into Part III to uncover yet another common break in the intake chain that is costing your firm millions.
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