When you speak with a new client, everything’s copacetic. The client is happy, you’re excited to have the new case and everything seems just wonderful Then, with time, things start to change. Your client doesn’t hear from your staff and they have no idea what you’re doing. A few phone messages aren’t returned and before long, your client starts calling other lawyers.
This, my friends, is a problem. Your marketing dollars are a waste of money if you’re intake system is not tracking and following up with new leads. You have to fix your intake system before you spend more $ on marketing. But where do you begin?
Your Unique Process for Converting Leads into Clients
Document the step-by-step process to accomplish the key processes of our intake system. Think through and document the specific steps in this process.
What is the value that they get? List all of the activities that you do to create value for your clients--breakdown your process and label each stage.
Your goal? A defined intake system that is easy to use and implemented by staff. With a defined intake process, the metrics for your intake process will be accessible on a daily basis:
- Metrics for new leads, e.g., number of leads, source of leads and conversion of leads into clients,
- Customized questions for new clients that are relevant to the nature of their inquiry; and
- A system for following up with new clients and keeping them informed of the status of our case evaluation.
Any process is going to take multiple steps that will require multiple handoffs. Explain each step of the process of case evaluation. Define what occurs in the process, who’s responsible for each step and how you can make it better. For each step, describe the value that is given to your clients.
This is our 5 Step process for new case evaluations.
“Our 5-Step Process for Evaluating Your Claim”
Step #1: Intake Phone Call
How it Creates Value: Creates relationship with new client, determines the specific nature of their claim and whether the claim is still viable under the applicable statute of limitations. This educates our clients about our procedures for evaluating their claim.
Action Item: New case is created in Lead Docket by our intake specialist.
Who’s Involved: Intake Specialist
Step #2: Get the Medical Records & Send to Medical Expert/Surgeon
How It Creates Value: Determines whether our clients’ claims of substandard medical treatment are substantiated by the medical records.
Action Item: Written request for medical records is mailed to medical provider.
Upon receipt, the medical records are reviewed by our medical records custodian to determine whether we received the medical records that were requested.
Our medical records custodian forwards the medical records to our medical expert/surgeon.
Who’s Involved: Medical Records Custodian
Step #3: Meet/Speak with Expert to Discuss their Opinions
How It Creates Value: Standard of care is defined by a board-certified surgeon based upon their review of the medical records.
Action Item: Meet or speak with the expert/surgeon
Who’s Involved: Lawyer/Litigation Paralegal
Step #4: Follow Up Phone Call with Client about Expert’s Opinions
How It Creates Value: Keeps client informed about our case evaluation
Action Item: Document the expert’s opinion in “Notes” in Trialworks
Who’s Involved: Lawyer/Litigation Paralegal
Step #5: Make Decision to Accept or Decline
How It Creates Value: Provides resolution for client and when appropriate, client is referred to another lawyer.
Action Item: Letter sent to client informing them of our decision to accept or decline and send a copy of the letter to our referral partner. Send thank you letter to our referral partner.
Who’s Involved: Office Manager
Why You Should Have a Defined Intake Process
With a defined intake system, clients know what to expect. Your intake process can explain our core values for new clients, e.g., brutal honesty with clients, we do not accept cases having questionable merit, etc.
With a defined intake process, you will be able to:
- Track deadlines for each step of the process;
- Notify clients when each step is completed; and
- Give clients access to their file through a website portal, so they can check on the status of your case evaluation whenever they want.
Create a checklist for every new case call and document whether the steps are being performed. Create a Slack channel for your law firm and require daily updates from your intake specialist, e.g., # of calls, immediate decline.
How to Create More Value for Your Clients
Think of ways that you can provide more value to your clients on the front stage (the front stage is your communication system with clients). You might send new clients a sequence of informative emails and video through your CRM, including:
- Give clients electronic access to the client welcome package (“What to Expect in Your Lawsuit”);
- Personalized welcome video explaining the process;
- Send e-book, “The 7 Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims”;
- Automate the follow up email campaign with Infusionsoft (CRM);
- Hire intake specialists at My Modern Law Practice;
- Use lead intake software, Lead Docket, for a centralized database of new leads and customize the questions for every type of lead, and
- Use artificial intelligence to prequalify online leads for merit with Ngage Live Chat.
Create a customized email campaign that explains each step of the process and is sent to clients when each step of the process is completed. Add a website portal for clients that provides updates when progress is made with their claim.
Create an infographic (99Designs.com) that explains each step of the process for evaluating a claim., e.g., “Our 5-Step Process for Evaluating Your Claim”. Explain the duration of every step by providing a range, e.g., 2-4 weeks to get the medical records.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
If you don’t think you’re losing clients RIGHT NOW, you’re kidding yourself. Clients won’t hesitate to leave you for another lawyer if you’re not providing a ton of value, educating them, following up and nurturing your relationship.
So, before you spend another penny on marketing, define your intake system, spot the holes in your process and implement the system. Nothing is more important.