Auditing how your firm handles new calls from potential clients is extremely important. Vista recommends that every firm audit a batch of intake calls on a weekly basis. The good news is that it is easier than ever to make this happen.
Years ago, firms used to do “ghost calls” to test their intake procedures. They would get someone to call their law firm, pretending to have a potential claim, and then monitor the call to see how it was handled. It was extremely cumbersome. The process worked, but it was difficult to implement on a frequent and regular basis.
Today, many firms have VOIP phone systems. These are internet-based phone systems. Nearly all VOIP systems have the ability to record intake calls automatically and allow you to listen to the whole call. This feature makes it much easier to audit your intake department by listening to these calls on a regular basis.
If you don’t know what a VOIP phone system is, talk to your IT person and they can tell you. If you are on a VOIP system, you can then talk to your provider about how to set up the regular recording of intake calls.
Once you have confirmed that you are recording calls, we recommend that you have one person review these calls at random on a weekly basis. Depending on call volume, you can pick a number you want to review each week—5, 10, 15 calls or more.
Whoever is reviewing the calls should have a checklist of items that they are looking for while listening to the call. The supervisor should then grade each call on how successfully the intake specialist handled the call per your checklist. In all fairness, the intake specialists should be coached and trained on the checklist prior to grading their performance. Many firms grade how the caller was greeted, energy of the intake specialist, control of the call, collection of facts, empathy, and many other criteria. Whatever you want to grade, be consistent.
Once you have graded a batch of intakes, get with your intake team and use it as a coaching experience. When you first implement this process, the intake team is going to be defensive. It is important that the supervisor coach them past this and get them to a spot where they are open to receiving feedback and listening to their calls in front of the rest of the team. Once you get to this spot, the team will have fun with the calls and get better at handling them.
If you need help getting this process off the ground, contact Vista for more information. One of the many services that we provide to our clients (if they choose) is the auditing and grading of these calls, along with the coaching of the intake specialist to improve their performance.