Your Client Intake Questions Answered
Our most recent webcast based on the white paper, Failing At The Finish Line generated a huge amount of thoughtful and unique questions from our audience. While I haven’t been able to answer each of them in this blog post, I wanted to consolidate some of the more common issues our audience raised. I’ll try to address the remaining questions in my next few blog posts.
Q. I get a text message when we have an inquiry online. If I call or e-mail within minutes of receiving this lead, will I appear too anxious?
A. Not at all. This is business, not dating, and a fast response doesn’t appear anxious to someone in need of help. In fact, it is welcome, as legal consumers want and expect a response from you in a timely manner. Plus, keep in mind that your potential client might be looking at the competition while awaiting your call. If you’re worried about seeming too anxious, simply tell the truth: “Thanks for contacting me. I wanted to make sure I got back to you as soon as possible. Can we talk about your case, or schedule an appointment right now?” I think you will find they are appreciative of your promptness.
Q. Our intake process requires potential clients to submit documents that are needed for our attorney to prepare for consultation. But I think we lose clients because of this requirement. What can we do?
A. An attorney’s time is valuable, but only if he or she has clients to serve. Is there a way you could shift this burden off of your potential clients so that it’s not such a barrier (real or perceived) to moving forward with your law firm? Put another way, do you need documents or information? If it’s information you’re after, perhaps you could develop a standardized online form that would allow potential clients to submit the required information on a timeline that is more convenient for them, that still gives you the necessary details to evaluate the merits of their case.
If you need documents, you should try to request them later in your process, or in other words, “make the sale” before requiring these files. Once a potential client has chosen to work with your law firm, they should be more willing to put in the time collecting the documents you need to help them out. Until that point, you might be asking too much of them – from their perspective.
Q. Sometimes I get calls from people calling on behalf of family members – adult children calling for their parents, for example. What kind of information should I gather and what are my next steps: call the parents directly or invite them to call me?
A. In situations like these, it is important to gather the case information, as well as the contact information of both the person who called you, and the contact information of the person that was directly involved in the legal matter. With regards to next steps, ask the initial caller how they would like you to proceed. If they’re just being helpful, they may be glad to get out of the way now that contact is made. Still others might want to remain the primary contact for the case, or at least prepare the true client for your upcoming call. If the initial caller wants to you make direct contact with the true client, make sure you do so proactively. Asking someone to simply pass your contact information along for you, and hoping for a call back, is basically letting go of a good lead. Don’t do it unless you have to.