It’s safe to say that every law firm wants to be more efficient. Efficiency, or the time it takes to finish a particular task, is learned rather than innate. Therefore, improvement is certainly possible. Intake, or the process of converting contacts into clients, is among the most critical processes in a law firm.
An effective and efficient intake team and process will consistently bring in new clients, whereas an inefficient and ineffective one can result in wasted marketing dollars, lost leads, and fewer clients. By utilizing the following tips, you can increase the efficiency of your intake process and get busy turning leads into clients.
Tip #1: Automation is your friend.
Many routine and tedious processes are essential to the law firm’s business but still consume a huge chunk of an attorney’s time. Automation and artificial intelligence tools can substantially increase efficiency and productivity.
More and more law firms are taking advantage of AI technology. IBM’s Watson, for example, allows you to ask questions as you would a colleague, and the ROSS technology can research and come back with a cited answer and topical readings from case law.
Automating time-consuming tasks allows you to spend more time elsewhere, like earning new clients, increasing communication with existing clients, and enhancing the quality of work you can offer while decreasing overhead expenses.
Some of the main benefits firms will experience with increased automation include:
- Improved efficiency
- Increase in profitability
- Fewer errors
- A superior client experience
Tip #2: Be a good listener and ask good questions.
When potential clients call a law firm, they typically want to go right into their story. This can be good for intake because, in telling their story, they’ll include key information about their case.
This is why it’s good to practice active listening, which helps you remain engaged during a primarily one-sided conversation. It can help you overcome distractions as well if you are working in a shared space. By listening intently to what an individual is saying, asking questions, and repeating back to them, you ensure that you hear what they are saying.
Ask specific, direct questions that help identify whether the caller has a valid case whether or not their case is a good fit for your law firm. If you have more than one person answering phone calls, record these questions so that you have consistency with all calls.
Tip #3: Always send appointment reminders.
People miss appointments, but new or prospective clients who haven’t built a relationship with you and your firm are the ones most likely to skip out on scheduled meetings. When a prospective client repeatedly misses a call or meeting, it takes time out of your day.
You can prevent this by sending a reminder via text or email prior to every appointment. It’s definitely worth the time and effort because reminders can substantially reduce the chance of canceled appointments. You can even use scheduling software to send these reminders automatically.
In general, sending appointment reminders will:
- Reduce the likelihood of skipped or canceled appointments
- Helps all attendees be more prepared for the meeting
- Provides better customer service
- Fewer manual touchpoints for your intake or scheduling team
Tip #4: Move away from physical paperwork.
Physical paper questionnaires – and many other forms of paperwork – are going the way of the dinosaur. Giving physical paperwork to clients just slows down the intake process. Physical paper can also get lost or destroyed, and takes time to retrieve.
Errors transcribing data can happen as well. When manually transcribing data from the paper forms to a computer, for example, mistakes are bound to occur. This could be a significant problem later if, for example, a bill is missing several zeros. Manual data entry also makes the intake process take longer.
Going paperless will also provide additional benefits, including:
- Better security with digital protections
- Reduced carbon footprint
- Automatic digital retention and back-ups
- Reduced physical storage costs
Tip #5: Make Use of E-Signatures.
These days, you don’t have to send physical paperwork to people to get their signatures. E-signatures are as good as handwritten signatures. Whenever you need a form signed by a client, it’s highly advisable that you make use of e-signatures.
With e-signatures, all they have to do is draw or type their signature on the line. It’s then deemed legal and binding and can be sent to the court, another party, or whoever needs them. And it’s possible to make copies right away. When your clients do an e-sig for their intake form, it makes the process so much quicker and easier, saving your time and theirs.
An efficient intake process can make up a client’s mind as to whether they want to work with you. By following the aforementioned tips, your intake process will be more efficient, and you will hopefully bring in more clients.
To learn how Client Chat Live can help make your law firm's intake process more efficient, call (808) 495-0231 or visit our contact page.