In my 20 years working with law firms, I have listened to and recorded over 5,000 incoming calls to law offices. After hearing the calls initially, one would think they are just a simple conversation when in fact many law firms are making some common mistakes costing the firm new clients.
Here are some tips on how to avoid losing new cases at Hello:
1) Answer the phone.
Did you know that approximately 63.5% of calls that go unanswered or are routed to an answering machine mean lost business? If a caller calls your firm, and you do not answer, then that caller is likely going to try to call the next number on their list, which could be your competitor. Always make sure you or a team member answers the phone during business hours. Get an answering service, virtual assistant or set up call forwarding.
2) Avoid transferring calls to voicemail.
I understand you cannot always be available when a new call comes in but train your team to take new client calls, record their information, and even schedule a specific time to talk between you and your client. You want clients to feel engaged. Remember, 46.7% of new callers transferred to voicemail do not leave messages.
3) Avoid placing new calls on hold.
Approximately 27% of new calls placed on hold more than 90 seconds hang up. Don’t let this happen to you. If you need to place a new call on hold, make sure it is under 30 seconds. Placing new clients on hold for a minute, two minutes or even three minutes shows them your level of service.
4) Document a process for new clients.
Clients want to work with law firms they can trust. One sure way to earn a client’s trust is to be organized. One way your law firm can be more organized is to have a documented process for new clients. Not only will this help your team, but it will also ensure clients’ ease knowing you’ve got their backs. Firms with a new client process have a 32.6% higher appointment rate than those who do not.
5) Make your first impression count.
It’s all about first impressions. No one wants to work with a jerk. Customer service goes a long way. If the person answering the phone is coming off as rude, you are losing clients. Answering the phone “law firm” is not acceptable. Instead, try, “Thompson Law, this is Zach. How may I help you?” Try monitoring your calls for a week. You might be surprised to find out how new callers perceive your firm.
New Case Intake
In short, the easiest way to increase new case intake is to embrace and nurture new callers reaching out to your law firm. The above tips aren’t costly by any means. They are easy to implement and are just about adjusting how your firm answers the phone, processes new callers, and treats new clients.
Think about it. What would five, ten or even fifteen new clients mean for your firm each month? You can easily reach these goals by avoiding costly mistakes.
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