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Mistakes made by your intake team can be damaging. Systemic issues that exist within an intake department can not only result in missed opportunities to sign clients, they can also, if not addressed, negatively affect your firm’s reputation. The goal of plaintiff law firms is to turn every client and potential client into a raving fan of your firm, regardless of the outcome of the claim. How do you do that? You create a client experience that serves to make people feel heard, informed, and important. This is accomplished by mitigating the common team mistakes through training and ongoing education and by ingraining your firm’s mission, vision, and values into your team.
Over the past decade, Vista has had the honor of getting to work with many amazing law firms. This wide lens perspective has provided us with the opportunity to identify and counter mistakes firms (both big and small) make in their intake department. Here are the top five worst mistakes we see intake departments make and how you can avoid them:
Whether it’s a new lead or call that comes into your office, dedicate the time and manpower to ensure every lead is responded to in less than three minutes and the call is answered by the 2nd ring. Train your team to react to these leads with immediacy.
This might be the first time the potential client has been injured and needs representation. They may be afraid of hiring an attorney right away. If it’s a case you want, but they need more time to think about it, let them speak with another team member.
Answer their questions, ensure they feel heard, and explain the process so that it feels less daunting and unfamiliar. It could simply be that they need to hear another voice reassuring them that they are taking the right next step. And it doesn’t have to be an attorney. Consider escalating the call to a peer or Intake Manager. Too, train your team to have rebuttals at the ready for common objections. Sometimes being armed with the right words is all it takes for your team to feel confident.
A great way to continue to grow and develop your team is by listening to call recordings and providing feedback. Sometimes, team members don’t know what they don’t know. They may not even realize there’s a better way to handle a common situation or question.
Allowing your intake team members to listen to their own calls with a discerning eye can be incredibly impactful. Even long-tenured team members can begin to sound mechanical over time. This is a great way to get ahead of that and have confidence that your firm is changing the way people see lawyers one call at a time.
You may not be able to help every new caller, but every caller should feel heard and supported. Use a turndown disposition as an opportunity to become a resource for them. This goodwill gesture will be remembered the next time a legal need arises, and they call with a case you want! Even for leads you turn down, you’re still collecting valuable information from them.
Include them in marketing efforts like newsletters and birthday greetings. They’ll remember your name, and, if the need ever arises, you’ll be the first firm they reach out to.
What is your conversion rate? Wanted rate? Attrition rate? The best firms measure and analyze their numbers…then improve upon their personal best. Law firms produce huge amounts of data on a daily basis.
The best, most successful firms are using that data to drive business decisions, develop and hone standard operating procedures, and motivate team members to raise the bar. Your intake team should be aware of their key performance indicators (KPIs), and they should aim to meet their goals every month.
The good news? Fixing these huge mistakes and improving your processes doesn’t have to be something earth-shattering. A small tweak can turn a stumbling block into a stepping stone. Take the time to work with your team to ensure they have the tools, training, and expectations to deliver top-quality client service day in and day out. Your intake team can help your firm build on its stellar reputation. They should truly see themselves as brand ambassadors who are on the front lines. If they embrace this role, your firm will land the leads they want and surpass once distant milestones.
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