In the past two years, we have “secret-shopped” more than 1,000 law firms in order to evaluate each firm’s intake process. We grade each firm on a 10-point scale and scoring is based on some pretty basic criteria.
Did the intake person ask for a name and contact number? One point for yes.
Did the intake person know the firm’s website address? Another point for yes.
Did the intake person ask for an email address? Another point for yes.
As simple as it is to score well, a vast majority of firms get fewer than 5 points.
One of the main things we have learned in these intake process reviews is the necessity for a culture shift to occur in law firms so that the person or persons responsible for the firm’s intake process is chosen based on a background in sales, not customer service.
If your computer breaks, or your cell phone has a problem, you call customer service. You don’t mind being put on hold for an inordinate amount of time – well, you do mind, but are willing to put up with it – because you need to get your problem solved and, frankly, you don’t have a choice. If you’ve got your cell phone with AT&T and want to get it fixed, you don’t get to call Verizon if AT&T puts you on hold for 45 minutes.
But when it comes to law firms — especially personal injury or any kind of consumer law — there is an intensely competitive environment where consumers have hundreds, if not thousands, of choices. All of them are easily identifiable with the click of a mouse or the turning of the page. When a lead comes in, you need intake people who know how to turn that lead into a prospect by setting an appointment.
This is why you don’t want people handling your intake process who have a customer service background; you want people who have sold stuff over the telephone. Most of the time, even if law firms have people in a formal intake center, most have the wrong people. This is because the firm’s leadership views intake — wrongly — as a necessary evil instead of a moneymaking function.
Most law firms that we’ve worked with over the years don’t even have an intake department – not a formal one, at least. They basically have a receptionist and somebody who’s a rollover person in case the receptionist gets too busy. If you are spending money to get leads, this needs to change or your money is being wasted. You need dedicated intake specialists who know how to sell your services.
To be successful at turning leads into clients, law firms needs to transition their intake personnel from order taker to rainmaker. If you are running a law firm, you don’t want a bunch of order takers — you want a bunch of rainmakers, people who are committed and dedicated to getting people from being a potential client to being a retained or assigned client.
If you would like to learn more about implementing a follow-up process for converting leads for your law firm, check out the Rainmaker Intake University. We’ll secret-shop your law firm for free and critique you on the 10 critical factors for creating an exceptional experience for callers so you stand apart from your competition.
We will review the results with you over the phone and discuss a variety of effective strategies to implement immediately so your firm can convert more prospects into paying clients.