“Companies are making big investments in order to obtain customer queries from the internet, and they should be responding at internet speed.” – James B. Oldroyd via Harvard Business Review
It’s no secret that in today’s society, consumers have grown to expect instant gratification and communication from companies they work with. The saturation of attorneys in the U.S. (currently 1.3 million), along with a drastic shift in consumer behavior, has caused more pressure for law firms to field and nurture their leads more effectively, ensuring potential clients choose them over the competition.
Potential clients not only expect a quick response from their prospective lawyers, but they also make their hiring decisions quickly. According to recent study, 35% of searchers made their decision to hire a lawyer within a week. 22% decided in less than 3 days, while only 17% said they made their decision after searching more than two weeks.
With over 76% of consumers in search of legal services looking online, when a potential client clicks through to your website and calls or submits a request, your intake process NEEDs to be a priority, and here’s why:
1) Most consumers searching for an attorney online either have or has recently experienced a compelling life event.
Whether it’s a car accident, DUI, or a difficult divorce, it is always tough to predict when major events will take place or when pending legal matters may become pressing. Your potential clients have an immediate need for your services and being responsive and available sends a valuable message about the quality of service you’ll provide for them before, during and after the relationship.
2) When searching online, 72% of potential clients hire the first attorney they speak with.
Fortunately, the bar among your competitors is extremely low. In an ABA study, it was found that 42% of the time, law firms take three or more days to reply to a voicemail or web-generated form fill from a prospective client. What’s even more shocking, is only 10% of prospective clients actually speak with an attorney when they call. If a lead has an urgent need and is unable to get in touch with an attorney quickly, chances are they’ll end up contacting and hiring a competing firm.
It doesn’t always have to be a call:
Whether you’re a busy firm that’s understaffed or a solo attorney trying to be 3 places at once, unfortunately, an immediate phone call to a prospective client isn’t always realistic. You might be in court or on a client call when a lead comes in, or maybe serving international customers in different time zones. Creating an efficient lead-intake process can help you connect with incoming leads quickly, giving you the best chance to convert them into clients.
3 Ways to Increase Your Response Time
1. Website or Social Media Chatbot
An integrated chatbot can be a great way to cut down on your law firm’s response time, while also saving you time and money. When a potential client sends a message, the chatbot interprets the request and responds accordingly. For example, if your law firm provides free consultations, you can create an auto response providing the user with a direct link to a form fill for the consultation, along with what information they need available when you speak. This leads to higher engagement rates with potential clients and provides a more personable touch than traditional marketing channels.
2. SMS Text Messaging
If you are unable to make a phone call, a quick and friendly text to a prospective client can be the perfect way to respond to a request and/or schedule a consultation as soon as a lead comes in.
In fact, text messaging is one of the most effective ways to reach potential clients. Consumers today are more than twice as likely to respond to a text message than a phone call and texting a prospect after initial contact can increase conversion rates by a shocking 112.6%.
Adding SMS/Text to your intake process will not only make your life easier, but is also highly recommended if you want to stay on top of your prospective clients as your firm grows and you scale your marketing efforts.
3. Automated Email & Scheduling
Another great way to cut down on your response time is to set up an auto-response to incoming emails, form fills or opt-ins from potential clients. Marketing automation tools such as Clio and ActiveCampaign, allow you to send personalized, automated emails to your leads whenever they come in. Include a link to schedule an appointment with scheduling software such as Acuity, allowing customers to view your availability in real time, and schedule a consultation at their convenience.
Lead response time is one of the most important factors to consider when assessing your firm’s success rate for converting clients online. While it might seem difficult, implementing the right software and processes will not only give you a leg-up on the competition, but will also enhance your firm’s reputation and, when done properly, allow you to run your law firm or organization more efficiently.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with one of ONE400’s team of experts about marketing, automation or how you can improve your firms response time, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.