The client intake process is a crucial step in your future client’s journey. Client intake for lawyers involves onboarding new claimants and obtaining the information needed to begin working on a case. First impressions of your firm are made during the intake process. This is when you’ll be able to screen for case criteria, build a connection, and start providing professional legal services. Your client intake procedures must go beyond simple forms and email responses.
Whether you have a large firm or new practice, an efficient client intake strategy is a critical step toward helping those injured by negligence. A strong client intake process will help prevent your leads from falling through the cracks and verify which leads are qualified.
We’ve broken down four best practices for client intake and provided helpful tips on creating a comprehensive setup for your law firm.
Find The Right Legal Call Center
Creating a successful intake process requires a sizable legal call center with enough agents to quickly handle your law firm’s volume. The call center agents must be ready to perform all of the essentials tasks, which includes the following:
- Capturing contact information
- Conflict checking
- Obtaining essential information via an intake questionnaire
- Creating a fee agreement and obtaining a signature
To ensure that no leads get lost, you should look for a legal call center with agents who operate 24/7. Call center agents must be expertly trained, bilingual professionals who know precisely how to navigate and vet potential leads. Their ability to evaluate leads for quality will help your firm find the best possible claimants to represent.
The legal call center agents also need to be knowledgeable on all active mass torts and personal injury cases. This includes the case criteria a plaintiff must meet to be considered qualified and eligible to file a lawsuit. The agents should examine all potential cases using a customized qualification process and pre-set questions based on the case type.
Gathering Claimant Information
Determining how much claimant information you need to request on a client intake form can be challenging. Law firms need to get as much information as possible about the case to represent the claimant adequately. However, the client intake form should not make the claimant feel overwhelmed with numerous questions.
There are various software platforms available to help law firms develop forms with ease. Some examples include PandaDoc and DocuSign, which provide form templates to help streamline your intake process. It is important to note that some case types may require customized intake forms. If you choose to create your own intake form, be sure to follow these guidelines:
- Your client intake form should require both case-specific and personal information
- Create client intake forms that reflect the specific type of case you will be handling
- Set up an automation system that sends claimant information and forms directly into your CRM
The best intake processes will have forms setup that gather the claimant information the litigating team needs in a concise, user-friendly manner.
Let Technology Do the Heavy Lifting
Lawyers require a solution that will help them spend less time finding cases and more time working them. In the new normal created by the COVID-19 pandemic, working smarter and safer has never been more important. Safe, smooth claimant acquisition can be enhanced by utilizing technology. Below are some technology and software solutions that can save you time and improve your intake process’ overall efficiency.
1. Auto Dialers
An auto dialer is an electronic device or software that automatically calls telephone numbers, and they come in various forms and perform different functions. Auto dialers are used when time is of the essence in dialing, or it is simply inefficient to allocate this task to your law firm’s staff members. Once a call has been answered, the auto dialer either plays a recorded message or connects the call to a staff member. Your law firm’s intake process can utilize auto dialers to communicate with potential claimants via phone automatically.
2. Call Routing Technology
This is also known as an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) and allows claimants to be automatically routed to individual intake specialists within a legal call center based on specific case criteria. Many lawyers assume that legal call center agents answer calls in the order they arrive. However this order can be organized and distributed in a particular manner using time-based routing, skill-based routing, and round-robin routing. Call routing technology is beneficial to client intake for lawyers because claimants are routed to an intake specialist best suited for their specific case type.
3. CRM Flow Automations
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) automation helps law firms track and manage their engagement efforts with current and prospective claimants. It enables your legal team to save time, nurture leads, and convert faster by automating tedious intake processes. The main functions of automated CRM include contact management, lead management, documentation management, integration with other applications, and reports and analytics.
A chatbot provides claimants with 24/7 assistance and is an excellent way of optimizing the work process to save lawyers time and money. The standard chatbot often appears in the lower right-hand corner of a website and is usually in the form of a dialogue box. Chatbot software can use decision trees and multiple-choice formats to help answer claimants’ questions and obtain pertinent information about their case. The information elicited by the chatbot can help identify which staff member should contact the claimant or which lawyer within the firm can handle the case. All information obtained by the chatbot can then be automatically forwarded to the appropriate lawyer before the initial consultation.
5. AI Follow-Up (Lead Nurturing)
Following up with leads can often be challenging, exhausting, and frustrating for your office’s staff members. Failing to follow up with a lead will result in low conversion rates. Even if you generate hundreds of leads each month, only converting 1% of those leads will stop you from seeing a positive ROI on your law firm lead generation and marketing spending. With the various marketing and automation tools available for lawyers, it’s easier than ever to reach out to claimants. But when these claimants respond and inquire about legal representation, it’s not quite as easy to engage with every single claimant to determine who is a qualified lead.
Law firms can use artificial intelligence (AI) to follow up with leads quickly. More importantly, the AI software can begin the lead nurturing process to determine the quality of a lead by building a relationship between the claimant and your law firm while also providing the claimant with the exact information they are looking for.
Clear Communication Structure
A crucial relationship exists between the intake and marketing teams because the marketing department controls the volume of leads the intake team may receive. For example, there could be a new development in ongoing dangerous drug litigation, such as a recall. The marketing team will capitalize on this news by reaching out to potential claimants via different legal marketing strategies. The marketing team’s efforts could then result in more calls from claimants and online forms being filed. The marketing team needs to keep in mind how much volume the intake team can handle when developing their marketing campaigns. If the intake team is backed up with leads, the marketing team should be made aware. The right pacing with lead generation is required for optimal results.
For more information about Broughton Partners’ client intake for lawyers and legal marketing, contact our team today. We offer free consultations to help you start connecting with qualified claimants.