Websites That Talk: Can Live Chat Get You More Business?

Websites That Talk: Can Live Chat Get You More Business?

Your firm’s website might be getting lots of traffic. But if your phone has been distressingly quiet and email in-box depressingly sparse, then you might be suffering from a low-conversion website.

True, that might be a sign that you need to redesign your website so that it better engages potential clients. It’s also true that conversion takes work. Getting legal consumers to find you online or in a directory is certainly essential. We’ve talked a lot about traffic strategies in this space—advertising, SEO, social media. But as we’ve also noted, it’s critical to actually connect with those consumers once they arrive.

Low conversion might be a signal that those would-be clients need a little more from your firm. And that might mean they need a little bit more of you. One option to consider: live chat.

Live chat for lawyers? Yes indeed.

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You’ve undoubtedly seen invitations to talk with a live person when you’ve visited certain e-commerce sites, for instance. (Visitors to FindLaw sites are greeted by an online chat invitation.) In most cases, that “chatting” is done by typing rather than talking. Still, it does provide a real-time interaction. And if a site visitor isn’t sure what he or she needs, or if he or she needs more help than a site can provide, that chat function can boost the chances the visitor becomes a customer.

Studies across several industries show that, in general, only about two percent of website visitors buy or even make an inquiry. Meanwhile, a 2016 study conducted by the American Marketing Association showed that customers who use live chat are three times more likely to make a purchase.

To be sure, legal consumers are a little different than people who are looking for a new computer or flat-screen TV. Still, there are at least a couple of ways that live chat can turn your site visitors into clients:

  • Live chat provides engagement. As we’ve noted many times, legal consumers typically need to act fast. If you can engage that consumer quickly—in real time—you’re more likely to get his or her case.
  • Live chat could help you reach a younger clientele. FindLaw’s 2015 U.S. Consumer Legal Needs Survey revealed that Generation Y (people born in the last two decades of the 20th century) prefer to contact a business via social media or live chat. Old-fashioned telephones? Not so much.

In any case, for live chat to be effective, someone needs to be available to respond. That said, it doesn’t have to be the same person. You can rotate that duty between staff during the day, or choose a chat option that includes supporting staff.

Which brings us to WebChat Connect from FindLaw. This solution is perfect for busy attorneys who have to balance client meetings, court appearances and childcare pickup with the client intake processes their business is counting on.

Does it work? Yes.

FindLaw customers with WebChat Connect gain six to nine percent more clients than those without. What’s more, a 2017 survey of legal consumers who used our chat function to connect with a law firm revealed that 43 percent of these prospects would not have contacted that firm otherwise. By their own words, these people would have continued searching online for another option, turned to offline resources like the phone book, or simply done nothing more.

Like any conversion strategy, live chat requires investments of time and money. But it’s an approach that other businesses have found successful. And in the legal business, being able to talk with a potential client (even digitally) can let you qualify and convert leads more quickly. That’s why tools like VoiceConnect and WebChat can offer even solo firms a real competitive advantage. If you’re suffering from a low-conversion website, live chat could provide a talking cure.

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