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9 Law Firm Call Handling Mistakes to Avoid

law firm call handling mistakes

For law firms, proper call handling is integral to successful client conversion, yet not all firms put enough emphasis on the intake process. This lets potential clients slip through the cracks. 

To streamline the intake process, consider learning from these call handling mistakes.

1. Mishandling Irate Callers

When calling a law firm, many potential clients are in a delicate emotional state. That's why it's imperative for an intake specialist to know how to handle an irate caller.

Speaking in a calm tone of voice, showing empathy, and emitting patience can help calm the caller and steer the conversation in the right direction.  

Mishandling irate callers may result in unhappy clients, nervous intake specialists, lost leads, and a hindered reputation.

2. Improvising Intake

Legal intake should be a highly structured and thought-out process. Improvising may lead to misunderstandings, overlooked information, and lost conversion opportunities.

By implementing customized intake scripts, you can ensure a smooth intake process that will obtain all of the pertinent information necessary to convert prospects into clients. 

3. Using Voicemail

Potential clients call your firm to get an instant human reply. If they hear a recorded voice, chances of conversion drop dramatically. While using voicemail is better than not answering calls at all, it often forces prospects to continue shopping around.

Not many people are ready to share confidential information with a machine. That's why it's imperative to ditch the voicemail and opt for more personal intake methods, like working with a legal call intake center.

4. Not Answering Quickly Enough

For phone calls, the ideal intake hold time is three rings or less. If you don't answer the phone quickly enough, the potential client is likely to hang up and continue their law firm search. 

The best way to avoid lead loss is to have a dedicated intake expert answer the phone within three rings every time. 

The same approach works for web forms. To catch leads before they start looking for other options, you should respond to web queries within three to five minutes with an outbound call.

5. Not Using a Legal Intake Specialist

Oftentimes, neither receptionists nor lawyers have sufficient training and experience to field intake. The training process of a legal intake specialist involves learning the correct legal terminology, rehearsing scripts, practicing an empathic tone, knowing how to control a call, mastering conversion techniques, and much more.

A lack of special training (or time, in the case of a busy attorney) usually results in lost leads, misunderstandings, and frustration. By hiring a legal intake specialist, you can avoid simple call handling mistakes and ensure an efficient conversion process.

6. Not Tracking Leads

Not all leads convert during the first call. That's why it's imperative to keep a record of interactions to streamline future calls and properly nurture leads. Keeping all the collected information available for follow-up calls increases your chances of converting a lead next time you make contact.

The best way to go about collecting data is by integrating some form of CRM (customer relationship management) or case management software into the intake process.

7. No After-hours Support

Many legal leads call after hours or on weekends. When a legal issue arises, most people aren't willing to wait until your firm opens again to seek assistance for their urgent legal situation. If they don't get a reply immediately, potential clients are likely to continue the shopping process for a firm that responds outside of normal business hours.

A simple solution is to collaborate with a legal call center that offers after-hours support. By the time business hours arrive, you could have a signed contract already waiting in your inbox.

8. Working with a Generic Call Center

Agents at generic call centers receive very broad training. They have a superficial understanding of how many different industries work. For the legal industry, such knowledge is insufficient.

Legal intake specialists must master the necessary terminology, learn how to deal with distraught callers, and perform intake based on each firm's individual needs in order to be effective. Generic call centers don’t offer this level of service for your legal clients.

9. Working with the Cheapest Legal Call Center

Call centers that perform offshore usually charge less, but this comes with downsides such as language barriers, legal issues, and security risks. If the call center is in the U.S. only, a lower price usually means low quality or a lack of customization and abilities.

Look for legal call centers that compete based on results. The value they bring should be well worth the investment. They should be able to show their success through testimonials.

Learning From Call Handling Mistakes

By making call handling mistakes, firms can lose leads, hinder their reputation, and fail to build trusting relationships with legal clients.

By hiring a quality legal call center, you can eliminate these mistakes while improving your firm's profitability.

To figure out whether you are dealing with a quality legal call center, you need to know which questions to ask. Start by downloading our free eBook "Top 10 Questions for Law Firms to Ask When Hiring a Legal Call Center.”

Top 10 Questions for Law Firms to Ask When Hiring a Call Center

Tags: Call Answering Best Practices, Client Intakes Best Practices

A Blog for Law Firms:

On the Alert Communications Blog we're publishing articles dedicated to helping your law firm improve client intake and increase marketing ROI. Our team of experts regularly research, report on, and write about topics that help us super serve the legal industry, and specifically the personal injury and mass tort sectors.    

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