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Does Your Law Firm Have a Well-Designed Intake Process?

law firm intake process

The intake process is an integral part of a high-quality lead conversion strategy at any law firm. Poorly-designed intake can lead to losing qualified leads, missing important conversion possibilities and hindering your firm's reputation.

To go from contact to contract within minutes, improve client satisfaction and cut marketing costs, it is important to review and adjust your intake process. Below are some essential elements that make up a solid intake system.

1. Qualified Intake Staff

Responding to calls and web forms requires special training. When it comes to legal practices, qualified intake experts should have sufficient knowledge of the following:

  • Legal industry knowledge — Be familiar with legal terminology and your firm's areas of practice in order to make quick lead qualification decisions.
  • Call control — Understand how to direct the conversation, gather necessary details like name, contact information and legal issue, and convert leads in one phone call.
  • Empathy — Know how to interact with legal clients in sensitive situations by displaying empathy and demonstrating excellent listening skills.

Legal intake specialists should have a detailed understanding of how your firm works and what its goals are. It may seem like the best candidates for handling intake are your legal team members, but being a great lawyer does not make someone qualified to handle intake tasks.

Qualified intake staff must undergo a specific training process and should be completely dedicated to practicing intake, without the distraction of other tasks. By partnering with a legal call center, you have an opportunity to work with qualified intake staff without pulling your team members from other duties that actually make money for your firm.

2. Availability

The key to successful intake is round-the-clock availability. Potential legal clients often need advice or information outside standard office hours, such as after-hours or on weekends.

A well-designed intake process involves timely responses to calls, live chat queries, website forms and all other channels your firm provides as contact points.

To make sure none of your leads slip through the cracks, a legal intake expert should be available at all times.

Since it's expensive and time consuming to hire and train an entire in-house intake team, outsourcing the process to a legal call center can be a viable solution.

3. Tailored Intake Forms/Scripting

While legal intake specialists should have some decent improvisation skills, the majority of the intake process must be scripted. Each specialist should know which call scenario to follow, depending on the caller's situation, in order to capture all the necessary information and guide the lead in the right direction.

By asking the right questions to fill out an intake form, the intake specialist can collect pertinent data for further interactions with the lead.

4. Ability to Convert

A well-designed intake process can also help your firm achieve its marketing goals. Signing a contract without breaking contact with the lead lowers the cost to acquire customers and speeds up the conversion process.

While still on the first phone call with a qualified lead, intake specialists can send the following items without breaking contact:

  • Text retainers for e-sign
  • Email retainers for e-sign
  • Mail the retainer (for non-technically savvy clients)

If a qualified lead doesn't convert during the first interaction, the intake specialist can schedule a follow-up call.

5. Implement Technology and Automation

The intake process is complex. It's important to implement the available technologies and practice automation to ensure top results.

  • CRM and CMS — Experienced intake specialists take advantage of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Case Management Systems (CMS) to record and store data for future conversion efforts.
  • Scheduling — Scheduling technologies help intake specialists schedule lawyer consultations in a timely manner to ensure client satisfaction.
  • E-sign — E-sign technologies allow clients to sign contracts remotely and conveniently.
  • Routing — Call routing systems help intake experts transfer calls to the right person in the firm based on factors such as time of day and type of call.

Leveraging technology is vital for converting law firm leads since it streamlines the process, cuts costs and prevents lead loss.

6. Reporting to Measure Effectiveness

Since each law firm can have different intake needs, a general intake strategy doesn't always provide desirable results. By tracking the top law firm metrics, it's possible to figure out what works for your practice and what doesn't.  

Well-designed intake involves monitoring and measuring the process to create comprehensive reports and optimize future marketing efforts.

Optimizing Your Intake Process with Alert Communications  

If your law firm lacks a well-designed intake system, or could use extra support in areas such as overflow or after-hours coverage, you could benefit from working with a legal call center.

At Alert Communications, we have a team of highly-trained specialists ready to answer calls and respond to web leads, 24/7/365. Our intake experts leverage the latest intake technologies and automation to ensure high conversion rates for your law firm, preventing qualified leads from slipping through the cracks. To learn more about our services, contact us today.

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Tags: Law Firm Growth Strategies, 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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