High-quality legal client intake is the key to any law firm's success. By optimizing your intake system, you can improve your firm's bottom line and boost client satisfaction. There are five important facts you need to know about the client intake process.
1. Legal Client Intake Forms Work
The legal client intake form is an integral part of the process as it is used to gather all of the contact and case information necessary to assess a prospects immediate needs, screen, and qualify them.
Intake specialists use client intake forms as a guide to control the call and obtain the information needed to determine if the caller is a fit for your firm, or if they should be referred elsewhere.
Intake forms should be customized and tailored to the type of case at hand. The more details collected, the better you will be able to qualify prospects.
2. Legal Intake Requires Training
In the legal industry, client intake specialists need specific skills to perform intake with minimal lead loss.
- Necessary terminology — if a client uses legal terminology, the intake specialist must be able to understand it. Otherwise, they can misinterpret the problem and botch the client intake process while hurting your firm's reputation.
- Empathy — legal clients usually call to share serious problems and expect an empathetic approach. A supportive tone and response are an important part of the client intake process.
- Call control skills — an intake specialist should be able to address the potential client's pain points and lead them through the call, keeping it on track to gather the necessary information. Without call control skills, it's hard to achieve a smooth conversion.
Legal intake training is integral to successful conversion. Inexperienced intake specialists are likely to lose leads while potentially hurting your law firm's reputation.
3. Excellent Client Intake Stops the Shopping Process
Prospects shouldn't doubt their decision to work with your firm. An intake specialist's job is to make sure they don't try to look for another solution after hanging up.
A well-designed intake process can lead to a conversion during that initial call via e-sign. If the potential client isn’t ready to sign, the specialist should provide next steps, such as scheduling an appointment with an attorney, to make sure the lead doesn't move on to another firm. Then, they follow up and chase the prospect with outbound calls, texts, and emails until a signed contract is received.
With the right approach to intake, going from contact to contract can become a standard procedure for your law firm to stop legal clients from shopping around. Start by simply answering the phone within three rings, as it will allow you to catch leads who might otherwise slip through the cracks.
4. Bad Client Intake is Expensive
Just as a solid client intake process can increase your firm's profitability, a bad intake effort can cost your firm a formidable amount.
The cost of losing a legal lead can be as high as tens of thousands of dollars. Even if you lose less than 10% of leads that come in, your firm's bottom line can suffer substantially. Once you calculate the amount of money you lose each year due to bad intake, the high return on investment of good intake becomes hard to ignore.
Additionally, poor intake means more work for your legal team, since they have to spend time and energy dealing with low-potential leads that could easily be excluded during the intake process.
5. Legal Call Centers Specialize in Legal Intake
Legal call centers provide the coverage law firms need to respond to, qualify and convert incoming legal leads, whether they come in via phone call or web inquiry. They do this around-the-clock, or for overflow, after-hours, weekends and holidays -- it’s up to you.
By outsourcing your intake process to legal intake specialists at a legal call center, you give each lead the opportunity to become a high-paying client, without having to screen them yourself.
A legal call center can act as an extension of your firm and help you achieve excellent lead conversion results.
If your firm is struggling internally to respond to calls and inquiries, it might be time to consider an outsourced option. We get that choosing the right partner can be difficult. We recommend downloading our eBook, “Top 10 Questions for Law Firms to Ask When Hiring a Call Center,” to help you make the right decision for your law firm.